It’s Saturday. That normally means shopping. It’s true, today: I went three places.
First stop was Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I am becoming increasingly aware that I need to cut out this type of eating behavior from my diet. Since I enjoyed this last week off of work, I’ve mostly eaten at home. That made the heavy fast food (good as it was) much heavier. I am hoping to keep up this practice of eating at home more often than not. It’s cost effective, too.
After that, I went to Sam’s. Indi and I sat on a plot of grass just outside the entrance as we awaited the arrival of Indi’s Mom (she has the Sam’s membership) and watched the people. I was very saddened by my observations. Everybody (no exception side from my wife and I, stationary on the grass) was in a hurry. Not only that, but it was at the expense of their surroundings. At least three times, someone took a shopping cart from the long line of stationary carts and a second cart came loose with it. The second cart was left to drift towards the lane of traffic and an inevitable accident. Indi’s quick notice helped prevent at least one car (a beautiful early-00’s Mustang) from damage. Hardly anyone was smiling. Once we got inside, it continued. People sped to and fro, cutting other people off and being generally unpleasant to their environment. I was very thankful when we were done.
My last stop was to check out some prices on a voice recorder for the trip. The nearest stop was Circuit City, so I drove the two blocks and parked. I was not expecting the madhouse that I discovered. Circuit City recently announced that they are going out of business, and all of their stores (and 30k+ employees) are going away for good. I have never seen that store so busy. Everyone was rushing around in a maddening search for a bargain. Stampeding, arguing, sighing frustration. I left after about five minutes. Perhaps going there was my naive nature, but man. People fight for the right to save a dollar.
So my question is this: My Sam’s/Circuit City experiences; is that a unique American thing? Sure, people want to get a bargain anywhere, but is it so bloodthirsty? When I go to New Zealand, am I going to run into a sea of humanity at the local Kiwi-Mart? In Russia, am I going to be pushed aside in favor of a five cent discount?