Last week, during a brief lapse of sanity, my wife talked me into going shopping. Now I am not a big shopper, I am not a good shopper, at the very least, I am not a fun shopper. Why anyone would invite me to go shopping with them, well, that amazes me in itself, it really does.
Let’s face it, men are not geared for shopping, we do not have the stamina, manual dexterity (for picking up things, admiring them, and then saying ooooooooo-so-pretty), and patience required for dealing with large crowds of shoppers.
The first thing that happens when you go shopping with a woman, is you go legally blind. You pull into the mall parking lot, and she immediately starts calling out empty spots, places that we can park in, automatically assuming that I do not see them. All of this, and we haven’t even started for the main building.
So as you can see, I am somewhat skeptical about shopping, I would rather stay at home and watch old re-runs of Tool Time and grunt secret messages to the dog. Our latest Texas shopping incursion took place in The Lone Star State, The Panhandle of Good Buys, Amarillo, Texas. One of those spontaneous “Hey, lookie here, you want to do some shopping” things.
Just outside of Amarillo, Texas, on the west-side of town, there is a huge shopping mall. We pulled into the parking lot, found a spot on the fringe area (the very farthest part of this gigantic parking lot away from the store, a parking lot I might add, that was mostly empty) and I shut the bus down. We had not been parked in this solitary spot some five minutes, when a security guard in a little white truck, with the yellow flashing lights pulled up.
I went outside to see what was going on and looked at the guy and said, “Howdy, how you doin?” which I thought was an appropriate Texas greeting. His response was, “We don’t allow any overnight parking.” Which I found to be somewhat rude.
Overlooking this flagrant oversight of good manners, I proceeded to explain to him that we thought we might park here on the fringe of the parking lot (which consisted of several acres mind you) and then in the morning when the stores opened for business, do some shopping. Again, “we do not allow overnight parking.” He then took it upon himself to tell me where the next available WalMart was and how to get there.
So I patiently listened to him explain all of this to me, how I could drive five miles out of my way, park, then come back the next morning when the stores opened. And then I said, “What makes you think that I am going to do that?” About this time I swear, he got this “calf looking at a brand new gate look on his face” and said, “Why not?”
So I said to him, “You stand here, and rather rudely suggest that I beat it, and then you expect me to come back the next morning and spend my money with you? Get real.” No shopping for Mama this day, we fired up the Old Hoopie and headed down the road. A little irritated and bent out of shape, but not any lighter in the pocketbook. During this lull in the festivities I got to wondering if the merchants in that store, some of them running on marginal profits in hard times, know that outside in the parking lot, this is going on?
I kind of doubt it.
All this week, all I have heard is Black Friday this, and Black Friday that. Today in the doctor’s office, instead of reading the six month old magazines, the lady sitting next to me is reading advertisements for sales in local stores. The Holiday Season is in full swing. Downtown traffic is slowing, the portable guard shacks and security is up in the malls, things are poppin. The seasonal crush is in full swing.
Some will go so far as to suggest that the holiday shopping season in this country is not long enough. Which is hard to believe, when you see them stocking Christmas items on the shelves in August. If they want to push profits into the positive side of the scale, they should offer more sales during the year (Not during the so-called Black Friday week in November) and stop running off business in the parking lot.
The two biggest discount retailers in America Walmart and Target have just staged the most brutal pre-Thanksgiving price wars in recent history After Thanksgiving last week WalMart started selling Barbie dolls and board games for $10. Target not to be outdone, marked down hundredreds of toys to the $5 and $15 range. And to make sure Walmart got the message. Target slashed Barbie’s price to $5.
Good for Ken and Barbie, not so good for me and the Mrs. We get the weenie in the little truck with the yellow lights.
OOO* I just read this aloud to check it for errors and the wife says I am wrong … They now put out the Christmas stuff in July. Cartoon is courtesy of American Progress Online