This past month has, by all accounts, been slowly economically. I believe it, because until this past Friday, shopping has been painless: it was easy to find parking way up front, we could walk in and out of any given store without bumping into a single shopping cart, and the check-out was literally a breeze. Thursday evening, I went to Best Buy, an electronics store, to check out a laptop I was interested in, and the place was practically deserted. I decided to go home and do some reading about the laptop I wanted before shelling out the dollars for it, thinking “eh, it will still be around tomorrow.”
In the final days before Christmas though, things have definitely changed. We tried to go to this huge Target at the mall on Friday, and I drove around for about seven minutes searching for parking. Nada. Eventually, I decided to go to another Target that is older and smaller, and even there, parking was a bit difficult. But at least it was possible. Headed back to Best Buy that evening, and the place was both under-staffed and over-shopped…they were clean out of the laptop I finally decided would be a good buy. What a difference just one day can make! Went to Costco on Saturday, and same story: no parking, and indoors was a zoo. I’m sure the merchants must be a bit relieved to see the uptick in sales, but it certainly took long enough.
But you know what the surest sign of a feeding frenzy is? Crazy drivers. You can tell from the way people drive that they are stressed and in a rush. Drivers do the dumbest things, which makes me want to lean on my horn and let blast! These two three guys made a left turn in the middle of a busy boulevard into a driveway on the opposite side of the street, effectively blocking the entire boulevard. They couldn’t get into the driveway of the small parking lot they were headed into because someone was backing out of a parking space and blocking said driveway. Instead of waiting at the turning lane, they lost patience, and just decided to block the intersection. Did it occur to them that someone going too fast might collide into them? Did it occur to them that they are delaying other people who are in as much of a hurry as they are? Did they care? Probably not…after all, they have enough of their own worries to care of.
At least some people are going to be relieved to get their gifts this Christmas…but the toll its taking is evident, even to an outsider to the whole Merry Season.