What recession?

On Friday, Bossy posted a great photo of a Goodwill store advertising “lower prices”, citing this as evidence that the economy is in the crapper.  That may be the case where Bossy lives, but I went to the mall yesterday and saw ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE that the economy is suffering.

I normally am loathe to go to the mall. But, my oldest son and his friend, our 14-year-old neighbor, wanted to go look at stuff for their skateboards, and I was in the market for something cute to wear to the clubs in Vegas next week. Nothing crazy, maybe a simple black dress, ideally MAD on sale, because Soup never pays full price.

The boys and I parted ways and I set off to pursue a hot tip I had received – all the cocktail dresses were on sale at Macy’s! Get outta my way! Only when I got there, it was MOBBED.  I was at the intersection of “all the summer cocktail dresses are on sale” and “homecoming’s just around the corner,” the the ensuing crowd resembled A SWARM OF HORNETS. Either the local economy is in fine shape, or else thousands of teens and their families are in complete denial.  When I saw the line snaking outside of the fitting room, with girls bouncing out to model dresses for their parents, I shuddered, thanked God for my three boys, then took my dresses over a fitting room in a different department.

And then I remembered that my 41-year-old body, the one that has borne three babies, has never really been a good match for odd-numbered sizes. I left empty-handed but thankful I didn’t have to wait in line to pay.

By the time we reconvened, the boys had purchased some doodads for their skateboards and a couple of video games, and I was starting to develop hives from all the crowds. I suggested we detour through the food court to grab some sodas before heading home.  At 4 in the afternoon, the place was packed, with lines at all the stands. 

You don’t go to the food court to check things off the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In fact, there’s really nothing at the shopping mall that belongs there. The mall is all about the top half of the hierarchy. It’s fluff. It’s wants, not needs. My husband always talks about the “useless beauty” there, in reference to Elvis Costello’s 1996 album.  At a time when there is much evidence of the economy floundering, why were so many people at a place that has nothing to do with meeting basic needs?

I suppose I should be happy that the local economy appears to be thriving, but I’m suspicious that people have their heads buried in the sand. Regardless, I’m still on the hunt for a bargain. Bossy, don’t be surprised if you see me pawing through the racks at your local Goodwill store. It shouldn’t be crowded; I think all the girls are probably still in line at Macy’s, waiting for their turn in the fitting room.

Or on second thought – it turns out, there’s actually a dress in my closet that will be perfect club attire. Maybe I should have looked there first.