No, you don’t have to look twice.
That might really be me out there shopping today.
It’s surprising because as far as I can remember, I have avoided stores on the day after Thanksgiving.
Maybe it was that I have inherited my parents’ disdain for crowds. It was one benefit to our having moved here from the Chicago area, to escape the “rat race,” as dad put it. Of course, the rat race followed us.
Maybe it was that I wasn’t married (still aren’t), didn’t have any children (still don’t) and had no need to get the latest toy bought, wrapped and hidden away before anyone else could get their hands on it.
Maybe it was that I always watched the annual football game that day between archrivals Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. But now I have no excuse. After years of tradition, that’s now to be played on Saturday.
Maybe it was that I didn’t like doing what society says you should be doing. Today is referred to incorrectly as “the busiest shopping day of the year” by uninformed people in the media — make a game out of counting how many times you hear it today — although I’m told the retail groups say the Saturday before Christmas is actually the busiest.
This year isn’t much different. It has actually been a rather warm November, and perhaps to do any Christmas shopping before ever having turned the heat on in your house seems unnatural, even for desert dwellers.
Maybe, though, I’ve avoided shopping today because here in Scottsdale, it constitutes more of an actual event, an art form, a mission in life (choose one), and a rank amateur knows when to avoid embarrassing himself in front of the professionals. We’re a town whose promotional brochures talk up the shopping, meaning people are actually traveling from other parts of the country just to do it here.
I ask you, do they need to see me fumbling through the sweaters or making faces each time I take a whiff of a new cologne?
I mean, I once walked past Neiman Marcus — just walked past it. But was that my entire wallet slowly lifting out of my back pocket?
While I haven’t been a Christmas-shopper-in-November, I’m actually somewhat reformed. I was once Mr. December Twenty-Fourth, duking it out with other procrastinators over a dwindling selection of not much and thinking about trying to talk the clerks into giving me day-after-Christmas prices two days early.
See, I don’t buy into this stuff at all, do I? So why might I actually be at the mall on this day for the first time today?
For one thing, to watch people who complain all year about how gasoline is so expensive crank up their credit cards.
Then again, I can see those folks if I wait for the Saturday before Christmas, too. Hmmm.
Thank goodness for the fourth quarter. It’s big enough for all of us.