Yesterday, I entered the consumer driven holiday world. Somehow, it seemed like the right day to head to the mall after naps to return a few things. Obviously, I am no longer the savvy shopper I once was, because this was a really really stupid idea.
Of course, the traffic going in and coming out of the mall was horrible - I should have taken my cue and come up with plan B. Once we got in (after parking in the underground scary muggers lot outside JC Penny) there were so many people sauntering around that someone like me with a mission to accomplish just seems like a bull. I kept feeling like I was waiting for someone to move. It used to be that folks would stop to shop or look at a cute guy or whatever, but mainly people were stopping to talk or text. I can't fully grasp how totally different my memories of teenage life are from this new reality.
I also neglected to consider that without receipts, I would get current value for my returns, which meant bubkis since everything is on crazy sale. Gift receipts are the bomb folks. given the opportunity, you should include them in every gift. It's not that I don't appreciate gifts (although I'd much rather have gifts of time than things), I just want to be able to exchange sizes or whatever without too much of a hassle. And sometimes, we need socks and get pants... And sometimes, I've said "no ___" (fill in the blank) and that's what we get. I'm more than happy to run around and return and exchange stuff, but the easier it is the better. So after one return, I figured that out and decided to take the opportunity to just walk around and get some exercise.
On my little excursion, I saw that the kids play area was being cleaned! I was astounded. I had to wonder if it is the regular cleaning schedule, the more frequent schedule for the throngs, or if someone had just puked. When I came back around, the play center was standing room only, so there was zero chance we were going in, even though it was spotless.
The sale signs, coupons, specials, two for one, double reward points, whatever gimmick you can think of to lure customers were flashing all over the place. The consuming is consuming. This is really not a sustainable way for our economy to grow folks. Reliance on individuals going into debt each December in order for businesses to stay solvent is bad. As a nation we are over consuming everything. We buy, use, toss, waste and eat way more than our fair share. My trip to the mall was shocking confirmation of all of that.
There's only so much I can take, so we ditch the mall and head home. Since I had no plan for dinner and no intention of making one, I ended up running over to the grocery store to grab a few things that evening. Tired, hungry, and feeling sad at the state of affairs in the world, I saw that the "seasonal" aisle had some Christmas items on sale, a whole section of Valentine candy and pointless gifts, and even a section for Easter candy. Not even the New Year, and already they are selling us through April. Oh boy.