It is the weekend, and I am minding my own business, sitting in front of the computer, watching Kramer’s entrances repeatedly, when Missus Big Picture calls: “Wanna meet us at Century 21? You need a raincoat.”

In fact, I do need a raincoat — so I jump in the car, and meet the girls at the store.

I get to the parking lot — and its jammed. I find a spot as far from the store as geometrically possible, and head in. Its pretty busy. I make a bee line to the ties (nothing that is a must have), pick up a bunch of socks and underwear (I can now go 3 months without doing laundry), do not buy the stinky Bulgari cologne — try a few shirts on, none of them slay me. I do find a big ass umbrella and a very nice raincoat.

I start talking to one of the sales guys: “Crowded, huh?”

“Its the weekend.” he replies.

“Whats it like the rest of the week?”

“A morgue.”

I thank him, and check out the story with a stock clerk and cashier — they verify it.

I start noting what every store we go into is like — they are all sparsely filled:  Filene’s Basement and Lord & Taylor had some action, PC Richards was slow; Daffys was modest. The Door Store was empty, Smith & Hawken’s going out of business sale was not very busy; Drexel Heritage is already out of business. The Infinity and Honda dealers were both quiet.

The one exception? The brand new Apple Store in Manhasset — it was totally jammed.

~~~

What did you notice this weekend?

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

67 Responses to “The Weekend’s Shopping Experiences”

  1. bsneath says:

    According to retailers, a recession is over once men start buying new socks and underwear. Well it is official now. The recession is over and we all have Barry Ritholtz to thank!

  2. Dick’s sporting goods – on a mission to add some equipment to the home gym…they have zero inventory at multiple LI locations.

    these are big ticket items and when I asked when they would be in the guy shrugged, when they called around to other stores, they were told that only floor models remained.

    guess things haven’t picked up to the point of restocking

    NY Giants merchandise was moving though, this was before the beating New Orleans today!

  3. dss says:

    Empty local stores, empty local restaurants, haven’t been to a mall since last spring.

  4. Mannwich says:

    The wife and I went to Ivy Spa for their special “Date Night” promo, where you get a 50 minute “couples massage”, full use of their fitness facility and spa, wine, cheese and crackers for $200 total, including tip.

    The spa is part of the Ivy Hotel (although owned by different people, I believe) in downtown Minneapolis. Both opened 16 months ago. I believe the hotel is in BK restructuring already, but it looked dead in there on a Saturday night, as did their restaurant, Porter & Frye. The spa wasn’t totally dead, but not jammed either, especially for a Saturday evening.

    From what I’ve heard, the hotel business is basically in a depression here in the Twin Cities or very close to it.

  5. Mannwich says:

    Maybe the plan for people is to cut back on all spending, other than Apple gadget toys. We can all divert our attention from the misery by burying ourselves in fancy, fashion-forward electronic gadgets, and worry about the “balloon boy” and his idiotic family.

  6. bobmitchell says:

    Dick’s is a joke. Very badly run and inconsistent stock between stores. This is not new.

    Also, don’t make the mistake of going to dicks dot com to see what they have. You will not see sporting goods.

    Overall a busy weekend. Noticed that a local “brand name deals” store that sold overstocks and scratch and dent stuff went out of business. No more stock?

  7. drey says:

    “What did you notice this weekend?”

    That a week ago Friday the Toyota dealership in Sacramento was hoppin’ as was the nearby Whole Foods.

    The smaller, more marginal retailers in the region seem to be getting crushed, however.

  8. laketrout says:

    Empty malls and stores is not the case in my hometown. I live a small city in Ontario Canada. Even with the towns largest employer on strike and all the supporting industry laying off workers I haven’t noticed a dip at all consumer spending.

    I was at Costco today – packed. A large book store – packed. Our city’s unemployment is one of the highest for major centers in Canada yet it’s seems no one has gotten the memo that’s there’s a recession going on. The housing market is still hot after going flat for about a year.

    I feel that here in Canada we just haven’t felt the worst of the recession yet – and we will. I get the sense people here feel that this is just a temporary blip.

  9. @bobmitchell

    agree, Dicks was a major disappointment, between a few nearby stores AND the web, none of the sales people could get anything done

    pathetic

  10. Mannwich says:

    Zombie banks, zombie retailers, zombie movies. We’re all zombies now! The holiday season will be fun. At least Apple stores will be packed with the cool kids and beautiful people.

  11. bman says:

    The Borders bookstore in my town, the flagship store, seems to have less bookshelves these days. I’ll admit it gives the place a more open feel, but when you’re looking for books you start to think the inventory is a bit skimpy, and you think maybe I can find a better selection through Amazon.

  12. Rikky says:

    i live in NJ in a well heeled NYC suburb. while its not obvious commerce is lighter than years past when you talk to those in my upper middle class neighborhood they’ve definitely been cutting back on things via deferment and outright downsizing for things like apparel, hairstylist, kids pre-school and postponing home improvement projects. i don’t see what will cause things to pick up since most people i’ve asked are not doing this because they’re scared but that they less income due to no/lower bonuses, freezes/cuts in base salary and paying more for the essentials.

  13. midasbob says:

    Where have you been? I’ve been checking the malls out for months now to decide whether to invest for the long term or not. Weekdays have been like the morgue for so many months I can’t count. Even at lunch time, when they used to be packed because there are lots of places to eat. I did notice that weekends were better, but don’t just look at the number of people, stroll through the mall and check out whether people are carrying shopping bags. Last weekend here, weather not so nice so people in the mall…but not that many carrying bags. And just so you know, I haven’t bought one thing in the mall since last year.

  14. Fritzskelly says:

    From the midwest:

    Big box stores – Dicks, Best Buy, Kohls, HD, Lowes, there is some traffic but very few cash registers open, average ticket must be down.

    Car dealers – ghost town.

    Smaller niche stores – ghost town.
    (exception = Apple Store, busy here as well)

    Grocery stores – always busy – lots of cash registers open all day/night. (At least the 16 year olds can find jobs).

  15. jed4567 says:

    Every store I went into this weekend was the same thing: hedge fund managers counting the customers at the register.

  16. Moss says:

    Strip mall in Northern NJ area was busy but that is typical for a cold rainy Saturday. The TJ MAXX I checked out was well stocked and loaded with women. I may have been the only male in the place. I heard that people are trying to return older, worn items with receipts from recent purchases. Lots of CRE on the market in the Paramus NJ retail epicenter. Numerous empty car dealerships.

  17. Simon says:

    This is a good strategy. Stock up on new undies and socks 3 months worth at a time. I bought a mere fortnights worth four weeks ago and now I’m searching again. I don’t know where they go. It’s only since we had kids that Mrs Simon has been doing my laundry. Before that all separate and I never ran out until they fall apart.

  18. JasRas says:

    Costco- Sunday. Busy. Surrounding mall… Not so much.

  19. BuffaloBob says:

    North Atlanta suburbs – Target, Kohls, BJs, Home Depot all seem fairly busy, but by no means swamped. Most had XMas stuff featured already. Argh!

  20. Steve Barry says:

    Picked up some Chinese food at my favorite restaurant in one of the most affluent areas in NYS this week. It was kind of empty…I said to the owner that it was probably due to a Yankee game being on TV…she perked up, as if that may be the reason. I added that it must usually be a lot busier than this…she said:

    “Not anymore”

    I won’t even go into the number of empty storefronts…it is unimaginable…plus prime mall spaces of 30K sq ft that have been vacant for YEARS already.

  21. Steve Barry says:

    Then you get a story like this…some people still have money to spend and their priorities are straight…

    Elvis’ hair sells for $15K at Chicago auction
    AP – FILE – 30 mins ago

    CHICAGO – A clump of hair believed to have been trimmed from Elvis Presley’s head when he joined the Army in 1958 has sold for $15,000 at a Chicago auction house.

    Also among the 200 Elvis-related items up for grabs at the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago on Sunday was a shirt that once belonged to the King which sold for $52,000.

    Other items included scarves, photos from the reception of Presley’s 1967 wedding to Priscilla, Christmas cards he sent and lots of records. Elvis dolls and Elvis Pez dispensers numbered among the memorabilia.

    All the items had belonged to the late Gary Pepper, who ran a fan club and was a friend. Pepper, who had cerebral palsy, died in 1980.

  22. isldguy says:

    I was visiting Portland a week and a half ago. Spent a week there. We shopped and shopped but didn’t if you catch my drift. I was struck by how many high end retailers there are in the downtown core and how desolate they were.

  23. holl says:

    I live in Boca Raton, Florida. I went to the mall this weekend and there were a lot of people but as someone said, not many people had bags. I just got back from Walmart and there were a lot of people for a sunday night. I bought a tv show (lie to me) and a couple of stuff I needed for the house. I’m planning to do some shopping (clothes, socks, etc) soon because I haven’t gone shopping in like a year. I’m lucky enough to have no debt and some money in the bank but I don’t feel like shopping. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some bounce in holiday sales because people has been depressed for long enough. I expect them to use their credit cards and get more debt soon to make them happy. They’ll deal with the debt next year ;)

  24. Bruce in Tn says:

    I haven’t bought anything new for my wardrobe in 2 years. Still have two new pair of shoes in the box from when I bought 4 pair two years ago. Still have 3 more of my favorite LL Bean shirts in the wrapper I haven’t opened.

    But I discovered today I am going to have to buy another pair of jogging shoes soon. Probably New Balance.

  25. as was pointed out, DKS is a sad joke imitating a Sporting Goods Store.

    amazing, while losing $$, they’ve just hit a 52-wk high
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=DKS&annual

    also, see: As of January 31, 2009, it operated 384 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in 39 states, 89 Golf Galaxy stores in 31 states, and 14 Chick’s Sporting Goods stores in California

    can’t comment on “Chick’s”, but they’ve, the MGMT, moreso than the Economy, already, ruined a great concept, Golf Galaxy..

    keep this on the radar for some serious Fading..

  26. jcate says:

    Went to Jack London Square in Oakland, on the waterfront, on Sat. to see “Where the Wild Things Are”. Many storefronts are empty and restaurants are out of business. The movie theatre seemed pretty empty for the matinee showings. It actually made the trip to/from the movies quite pleasant, as there was plenty of parking.

    There’s a prominent “see-through” building right on the waterfront. Quite striking, actually, when you can see through such a building out over the water.

  27. hedgefundguy says:

    Barry, you’re probably my neighbor.

    Americana isn’t as busy as the old days, but it’s a recession, so it’s to be expected. Friday/Sat/Sun restaurant night is impossible, especially at any place that’s GOOD…Roslyn Sushi houses, Westbury chain restaurants, all jam packed.

    And maybe the real estate brokers are talking their books, but real-estate, especially at the “low-end” (under $1m) is hopping on the North Shore.

  28. KidDynamite says:

    we tried to go to brunch on Saturday morning in the West Village – but the place we were going was out of business when we got there

  29. Jojo says:

    So why was the parking lot jammed when most of the stores sound empty? I have heard this before. Where were all the people?

  30. Bobby2 says:

    Busy movie theaters in my neck of the woods–cheap entertainment. No one is eating out. Thrift stores busy (Halloween?).

  31. JusTryinTaMakeIt says:

    Ok, I am going to sing my praises a little bit. Recently rebranded my fast food store in the food court of affluent mall. (Formerly franchised, now independent) This weekend’s sales 50% over last year. Helped by 30% vacancy in foodcourt. Anyone want to invest? Doesn’t say much about franchises (don’t get me started!!!)

  32. bman says:

    Seems a bit strange when the hedgefundguy says: “you’re probably my neighbor.” The Raj/Galleon incident perhaps has caused some aprehensions…

  33. Mike Walsh says:

    Here’s a tip, guys. If you want some exercise equipment, just cruise the McMansion suburbs on garbage day. Nobody’s buying this stuff so they throw it out.

  34. bmcgonig says:

    JusTryinTaMakeIt

    Id love to hear the full story of your rebranding and your success. Got the time to write a few paragraphs?

  35. sjankis630 says:

    Out here in Northern VA Reston where I work.
    I always go to Barnes & Noble at lunch a couple of times a week to read mags.
    it is always busy with people mainly buying coffee from sTarbucks and bringing it in. The B&N near Fairfax County Govt center has cut hours and is only open until 10PM most nights and 8 on Sunday.
    Best Buy is always busy, but the majority of the traffic is in the video movie section (where I hear they make no money) several business suited people look at computers (there is never anyone at the Apple section which is weird.
    I know the new Reston Apple store is always packed as is the one in Tysons. But the reality of the situation is everyone likes going in there to play with the gadgets since they never bother you and will let you sit/stand in there for hours.
    Dicks Sporting goods in Fairfax is almost the only game in town. i went there to buy some tennis shoes and had to leave because they didn’t have enough people working inthe shoe dept. They never have enough staff in the dept. 1 guy for about 8 people. I got tired of waiting and went to the old Sports Authority. (remember them?) There were about 4 employees and about 3 customers. I gave the store a good going over but their prices seemed as high as Dicks (who only sell retail ) so found my shoes and had the cashier try and pressure me to by “insurance” for replacing the shoes. (I am not kidding on this)
    I politely turned him down as it seemed Soylent Green creepy seeing so few customers in this store.
    People are still shopping here in Northern VA as unemployment is low, but I still know too many people with second mortgages who I worry about how they will make it through.

  36. thetanman says:

    Went back to my hometown this week end. Loachapoka (Creek Indian meaning land of turtles) Alabama dead as usual. It is aptly named. When I was a kid I pulled a loggerhead bigger than a manhole cover outaa the crick.

    When I asked Johnny Lee about the economy, he told me in hushed tones that the moon ain’t holdin’ its water. He also fell of his tractor this week. I told him he should of kept the mule. Then we drank some shine (pain killer) together. He poured another cup and said “here’s your mule”, and we laughed like all hell. I had to check the calender to make sure it was 2009 and not 1809. I’ll report from the syrup soppin’ next week.

  37. JusTryinTaMakeIt,

    I’d be interested in your take on the Premise that this Woman is unfolding in this i-view:

    http://www.karavans.com/tapeworm.html

    and, whether, or not, you see “Franchises” as ‘one of the recipes’ she gives rise to..

    here, http://solari.com/archive/the-american-tapeworm/ is another explaination, from her weblog, of the idea..

  38. Bruce in Tn says:

    Even with a lower bar, some retailers still may not have the springs to top last year’s holiday sales.

    It’s Too Soon to Feed at the Retail Trough
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125590989877893273.html

  39. torrie-amos says:

    My local well known grocer didn’t have food, yeah, food, lol. Last year I noticed instead of a dozen selections on certain items they had cut them down too 3-4, the management confirmed it. This sunday morning, several shelves had no food, just totally empty, so I started looking at all the shelves, anything that was not a neccesity or staple or produce i’d say was about 70% of what it usually is. Heck, they don’t sell Hellmans Dijon mustard anymore, I’m doomed…………

  40. constantnormal says:

    I noticed a highly effective anti-iPhone Verizon/Google Android TV ad

    Finally, a worthy opponent. This could get interesting.

  41. call me ahab says:

    well . . .technology is cool- but how many lookers and how many buyers in the Apple store?

  42. jc says:

    Constant. Here’s a real opponent, Walmart just announced Straight Talk in partnership with Carlos Slim.You BUY your phone and then $30-45/mo for cell sevice that operates on VERIZONs CDMA cell network, best coverage in the country as low as $30/mo. I went to WM to get a phone but they were stocked up for it yet.

    I went to Walmart at Jersey shore yesterday, really shitty day, I think people were killing time more than actually buying but the lot was full.

    Wally world is expanding adding full food section, thats about the only commercial construction in the area.Still a little residential construction, expensive infill of teardowns

  43. bobby says:

    I was dragged (kicking and screaming) to the annual apple festival..It was mobbed…at least 3 times as many people as last year…

  44. wunsacon says:

    I’ve been buying a fair amount of cr@p online.

    No lines there. Business must be baaaad.

  45. jb says:

    Lets see. The mortgage office next to my office received a ceiling-high stack of dell computers. My officemates bought some new flatscreen monitors for themselves. Six Flags in Atlanta was not particularly crowded, but there were some lines. My girlfriend got an oft-delayed tax refund and is getting a tatoo.

  46. srvbeach21 says:

    Wife and I went to BestBuy after work last Tuesday to get a car CD player. Maybe 15 cars in the parking lot tops. The store was as dead as I’ve ever seen it, so that seems to confirm that weekdays have been pretty brutal.

    On the flip side, a new Wegmans opened last weekend a couple miles away. From what I gather the last two weekends have been packed.

  47. jc says:

    My imptression was the summer at the shore was the slowest I’ve seen in the 30 years I’ve been down here

  48. Ny Stock Guy says:

    I hate shopping so I rarely go to stores, but my gf just bought a new Honda in Tarrytown, NY. She said the place was packed two weekends ago.

  49. Charles Maley says:

    Someone stole all my credit cards, but I won’t be reporting it.
    The thief spends less than my wife — HENNY YOUNGMAN

    http://viewpointsofacommoditytrader.com/858/money-for-nothing/

  50. batmando says:

    Southwest Ohio – Home Depot and Lowe’s not so busy on the weekends and near-empty during weekday noon hours, every floor person asking, can help I help you find what you need?
    lotsa “10% – 15% OFF” signage in all departments
    Stick lumber of generally higher quality, straighter & clearer, and the stacks not “picked over” nearly as much as usual
    MY contribution to reviving the economy…?
    after 28 years in my smallish 1950s ranch, I popped for ~$9,000 of Marvin Infinity replacement windows, ordered units through a contractor friend who gave me wholesale plus his 10% mark-up, paid a mason $1,100 for his crew of 3 to cut down the rough openings, and installed the units myself.
    Beyond that.., nada, no sox or shorts.

  51. Bruce in Tn says:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Toys-R-Us-adds-layaway-for-apf-1678050220.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=6&asset=&ccode=

    Toys R Us adds layaway for big-ticket items

    ToysR Us adds to the K Mart and Sears decisions to do the same thing. When I was a kid this was fairly common. Since the age of easy credit, it had almost disappeared. Probably a smart move by TRus…..

  52. huxrules says:

    Drove to Houston to go out drinking with some old friends. It was Friday night and I swear the entire town was on a mission to get hammered. I was in a new area (washington avenue) with many new bars and they were all packed. Reminded me of boom times- and I guess with oil over 70 bucks thats exactly what it is.

  53. deanscamaro says:

    Wife and daughter went shopping yesterday (all day!). I guess they walked out of the Penney’s store, almost without paying, the discounts were so deep. Besides sales prices, they go a friends personal discount, as she was a previous employee who had been laid off and as part of a “package”, they got 20-30% discounts on top of the store sales discounts. I’m not much of a shopper, but the local WalMart I frequent used to have long lines and now you can almost walk right up on a Sunday and be checked immediately. Slow!

  54. isolde100 says:

    I am in San Francisco. I went to the Westfield Centre, the big shopping mall in downtown SF. It has a Bloomingdales and Nordstroms.

    - Bloomingdales cosmetics dept. fairly empty even though they had huge Beauty event, rest of store empty. Beauty event was lame because the gift with purchase promos were silly — some cosmetics brands were giving gifts only with$200+ purchase and the gifts were really stingy. Right. Seems they have not woken up. Estee Lauder was smart – GWP for under $35 purchase, nice gift too.

    - Nordstroms: empty except shoe dept, which was reasonable busy.

    - J. Crew: busy

    - all the high-end shops like Hugo Boss, Furla, etc.: empty

    - disturbing trend: lots of shops in this high-end downtown SF mall closed down leaving empty store fronts, many recently filled in by low-end cheap stores which makes the entire mall feel cheap — I can’t imagine the other high end brands like Boss are liking this development

    - Michael Kors about to open huge store (maybe they got a good deal on the lease) in this mall

    - no inventory, unexciting inventory: many brands cut down so much on inventory that even if you want to buy something, they don’t have many sizes. Also, the styles on offer are very timid and not enticing — why should anyone go shopping?

    - Bulgari store on Union Square STILL not open despite huge banner in front of store space saying “will open winter 2009), I think they meant Jan/Feb 2009.

    - agnes b. (French designer) closed SF store last month, closed LA store, still has 2 NYC stores but rumor is agnes b. is pulling out of the US except for wholesale : (

    Now however, Nordstrom Rack (not in downtown SF, but a few blocks away): totally amazing designer clothing on the sale racks – silk Lanvin dress in excellent condition, old price in the $3000 range, Rack price around $900. Lots of D&G, Valentino, Tory Burch on sale. Bought amazing Tory Burch trousers for traveling and it was $83 (marked down from $180).

    Other downtown SF shopping observations: Barneys is VERY EMPTY. Saks, Neimans — quiet; sales people look bored and lonely.

    Boutiques in Pacific Heights, Hayes Valley, the Mission: all empty and many have already shut down, same phenomenon — lots of empty store fronts making the entire street feel sad.

  55. isolde100 says:

    I forgot to add: the Apple store in downtown SF was packed. But it’s always packed.

  56. Hal says:

    I am in Scottsdale:

    overall business slow–Trader Joes and Costco doing fine–but fine does not mean great.

    Restaurants–mostly quiet–wonder about the freshness– a lot of early bird specials–Whats doing well? Sweet Tomatos salad buffett and Ocean Club–a high end seafood and steak place with min 100 per person tab before liquor.

    CRE– a lot of empty stores –Apple store busy here even late night. Industrial and office ? I think I could buy my choice of 80k sq ft buildings.

    Supermarkets advertise cutting prices–but I think they raised the prices before lowering them.

    Lots of homes for sale at all levels–great deals if you do not have a home you have to sell.

    So AZ must be an abberation ’cause financial TV saying everything is fine.

  57. mathenjp says:

    i was in downtown Philly this weekend looking for apartments. i had about 4 appointments, and I have never seen agents and landlords this aggressive. 2 off them even offered to drastically lower rent $ without me even asking for it. needless to say i am quite happy with my prospects. Unfortunately I am having a hard time getting these aggressive landlord types to stop calling my cell phone trying to pitch their apts.

  58. raycharles says:

    The mall/square here in Bellevue Washington was very lively on Saturday evening. Got there around 7 and the paking garage which has 6 lower levels was full and the line into the garage snaked around the block. A bit surprising for the evening. we left at a 11pm and there was still lots going on lots of foot and car traffic. Have watched this town change a lot in the past 10 years and now recognize its entering a different phase of its ongoing evolution. The sidewalks don’t roll up at sundown any more.

  59. Kekepana says:

    I’ve been in Vegas this weekend, paddling in an outrigger canoe regatta (Yes! There is water in Lake Las Vegas!). It’s part of an annual Hawaiian festival. Attendance at the festival seemed considerably lower than in previous years, and there were fewer vendors than in the past. I haven’t been in many stores, except for Shepler’s (the cream of western wear stores) where the mood was more like a museum than a retailer. The casinos seem relatively busy, but it’s the penny slots and the cheap buffets that are getting most of the action.

  60. jedivid says:

    Hi I know that this is out there, but we dont have the size of shooping malls like you do in the US. However there are several really goods one based around the uk. There is the trafford centre which is great and is located in Manchester.

    Sheffield has a good one and that is Meadowhall. This has some really good littel out there shops that you can buy all kinds of r different products.

    The other big basedin the north is The Metro centre, the is massive for uk standard but not against US but has a lot of parking and is realy busy all the time. The best time to go is during the week days and after the rush hours. We where there and they have a really good mexican place to eat. Great food love’d it

  61. mathenjp:
    Center City? What were the prices? I hope to be looking there(or close) in a year to 18 months(at most).

  62. HarryWanger says:

    I think these observations are simple psychological mechanizations. People are now LOOKING to see if stores are empty or full. Up until recently, they weren’t so it’s easy to convince yourself that stores are less crowded when in fact they may be just as crowded as they were 2 years ago. It’s how your mind works. I had never seen an HHR vehicle until I was forced into renting one in Detroit. Since that time I see them everywhere. They’ve always been there, I just never had a reason to notice them. Same applies to store traffic.

  63. baysailor94044 says:

    Shopping for food this weekend in SF, Calif. The highways and side streets in southern SF were clogged and filled with very aggressive and impatient drivers mixed in with the usual clueless drivers. Tried to go to Costco and the parking lot was full with 50 cars following shoppers as they exited the store. Gave up and tried a different Costco but the left turn lane to get in was at least 1/8 mile long and the huge parking lot was jammed full. I gave up and went to Trader Joe’s…waited for parking and actually got a space just before my girlfriend finished our shopping and came back out. Next tried to get diesel for my TDI at the our secret and less expensive station….but the secret is out now and couldn’t even get into the place. I gave up there as well. Dodged and weaved the aforementioned aggressive drivers, got home, closed the door behind us, and hid out from the world the rest of the weekend. Seems to be some very palatable aggression out there these days and have never seen the grocery stores so packed in all my life. No idea what is happening at the malls…I haven’t set foot in one for at least 2 years.

  64. Crusty the Clown says:

    I shop online. Why go through the trouble of schlepping out to the stores? What a hassle. Imagine that most in my generation (and those younger) do the same.

    Shopping online lets me stay tethered to the screens, I get real anxious when I’m not in front of the screens.

  65. Steve L says:

    Well, you know you are in a great recession/little depression when:

    - The favorite pastry at the cafe is still sold, but no longer with
    the graham cracker crust. It’s flour crust now….with the same price
    tag….

    - Floodlight bulbs are afraid to inhabit the shelves of stores unless
    they are paired in the same box. Ditto for a certain brand of dental
    floss that has a J at the beginning of the makers name.

    - Large size bags of grass seed (8 lb) are nowhere to be found at all.
    Guess there’s no money left for people to renew their lawns this
    fall…

    - The generic lawn fertilizer in the big bag has gone missing too this fall…

    - Powdered limestone (lawncare theme) suddenly jumps from $2 to $4 a
    bag since last year. It’s a common mineral and fuel isn’t at double
    the price level from as last year…

    - A major, well known store that’s loved/reviled by all lets items
    stock out and not re-stock until the end of the quarter.

    - The local hardware store could be used as a location for a Soviet
    era movie with all the bare shelves…

    - A well known maker of silicone is selling batches that have been
    around long enough that they are beginnning to harden in the tube
    BEFORE use….

    - The local auto repair shop asks about why the car hasn’t been in for
    an oil change. “Do my own – you don’t carry the brand I use” is my
    reply. “Bring your own in and we’ll do it with what you bring” is the
    shops reply. Never heard that offer in all the years that I’ve owned a
    car before…

  66. jpmist says:

    My highrise condo overlooks one of the most popular Simon malls in Atlanta and I was surprised to see last weekend that the top deck of a tri-level parking lot was completely full. That usually doesn’t happen until Thanksgiving shopping season. . .

  67. andrew.wellas says:

    Completely agree with bsneath when he say that recession is over once men start buying new socks and underwear. Here we had Barry picking some new ones, so as to make him comfortable without laundry even for next three months……

    Well weekends as usual are busy and streets are crowded….. Its good to see the economic downtime come to a near end….. Even IMF has predicted things to get better soon…

    Yeah even the new Apple Store in Manhasset was jammed….. just heard of it….. since I prefer staying back home and hunting for some online deals from the convinience of my notebook and couch.

    With holiday season round the corner…. hope to see even weekdays convert from Morgue to crowded stuff just like weekends…..