I haven’t been working for almost the last 6 months. The first two of those months I was so gigantically pregnant that I didn’t want to move. The last four of the months have quite obviously been rather hectic but I’ve still found time to watch a lot of TV– probably more TV in the last 6 months than in the last 6 years by far.
And since I really don’t like watching regular shows, I’ve watched a lot of CNN. And since CNN is a news source and news sources don’t like to report on anything good happening it’s been a pretty depressing 6 months worth of news. I watch TV for five minutes and feel like the world is about to collapse around me. The unemployment rate is up, there is war, bombings, a housing market gone bust, banks collapsing and crappy economy on the whole.
Then I go to the mall and see wall to wall people, people literally dragging bags through stores and people with their arms heaped over with stuff and I have to ask myself if things are so terrible for so many then what the heck is everyone doing shopping?
Fortunately that question is easily answered. The stores are literally giving stuff away. Yesterday at Ann Taylor Loft everything was buy one get one free and as someone desperately in need of new work clothes it was like a dream come true. After a day of mall shopping I got home with bags of stuff and thankfully not a huge tab. Nothing I purchased was more than 60% of the actual price and quite a few things were more than 75% off. I’m going to long for these prices when the economy gets back on track. I mean seriously, at this point, the idea of paying full price for anything makes me cringe.
Oh and then there are the coupons!
Stores have started sending out what are essentially gift cards for $5 or $10 off. Some require no minimum purchase at all. Of course they want you to go in there and buy more than $10 worth of stuff but I’ve gotten pretty good at “free” shopping. The other day I went to JCPenny and got $30 worth of stuff but thanks to 3 separate coupons I didn’t pay anything (ok, maybe there was some change left over– a dollar or two). It almost feels like stealing. I do nothing wrong, nothing sneaky, find no loop holes and of course do nothing illegal and I walk out with a bag of essentially free stuff and feel guilty which begs the question: How on earth are stores making money at all? Because seriously I can’t be the only one doing this!?
Careful shoppers can save so much and get so much that it’s pretty ridiculous. Seriously, Andrew has enough clothes to last him until well past his first birthday. And I had to resist the urge to do next year’s Christmas shopping now.
Everyday as I watch the news I think about how I want the economy to get better and I pray for the state of our country. It’s not like I want this to continue, not while people are losing their homes and jobs but until there can be a fix to all of this you won’t find me here. You’ll find me at the mall, buying stuff for free.