I think the economy is doing better than we are being led to believe.
I took my first run at Black Friday shopping this morning. Oh, I've gone out shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving before, sometimes even with specific purchases in mind. But only after lunch. Today was the first time I was out there early, in the midst of the madding crowds, fighting my way through the concentrated essence of bad driving that is the modern American road system and snatching one of the few parking spots available anywhere closer to the store entrance than my own driveway through sheer bravado and the ownership of a car less expensive and therefore more amenable to dents than the ones trying to cut me off. Those SUV drivers, they baby those things.
I'm not sure I want to do all that again, though.
For one thing, pretty much everything I went out to get was gone long before I got there. I got to my first store at 7am, but apparently that was just way too late, slacker. The hardcore shoppers were there hours earlier - some of them no doubt hiding in the HVAC system and dropping down into the aisles like Gold Card Ninjas as soon as the lights came on at 4 in the morning. They were lean, they were mean, and they were pushing shopping carts so piled with goods that they would run you down without ever feeling the bump. And they were legion.
You know, there isn't a sale in the world worth dealing with that.
Plus, by the time I got there, the lines were stretched all the way to the back of the stores and were curving around toward the front. In terms of dollars per hour, I'm not getting paid enough to devote that kind of time to this project.
For another thing, I think my shopping mojo has deserted me. I used to like going out to retail havens and just hanging out. I served my time as a mall rat in junior high, and even in my 20s I enjoyed just wandering the aisles of various stores just to wander the aisles.
I also used to like the thrill of last-minute Christmas shopping - getting out there with less than 24 hours to spare and diving into the fray. I was good at it. Feeding time at the human zoo, and a lot of fun to watch from a safe vantage point.
But I'm getting old and crabby, and outside of book stores it's just not doing it for me anymore.
It's going to be an amazon.com Christmas this year, I can just feel it.