Yesterday, we ventured out for a shopping trip. We went to Molbak's nursery [and avoided the $10 Danish kringle - it looked really yummy, but $10 for a baked good is pushing it], the Eddie Bauer outlet [home of the woofiest pocketbear in the Puget Sound area], Cost Plus, Chateau Ste. Michelle, the Redmond Town Center mall, a gas station, a movie theater... and there weren't crowds of people anywhere. Everything was reasonably mellow. Sure, there were some long checkout lines in REI, but otherwise everything was pleasantly manageable. I was able to score the last bottle of E. Barnaut Champagne in the pretentious "Fine Wine and Cigars" store in Redmond without a problem. It was easy to get tickets for Bad Santa - there was no line. Exiting the parking garage at the Redmond Town Center mall involved waits of no longer than 15 seconds to get traffic flowing again.
So, I'm amazed. As a native Californian, I'd always thought trying to shop for anything at Christmas would necessarily involve terrible traffic, horrific waits, and all kinds of public unpleasantness. I remember trying to get something for Mom at The Body Shop in the Valley Fair mall in San José and nearly losing it due to the incredible crush of humanity. But here on the Eastside, all was pretty well quiet. Salespeople were still really friendly. Other shoppers were pleasant and everyone seemed to be getting along just fine.
Mom and Dad also reported that Nordstrom, Mervyn's, Trader Joe's were pleasantly slowly paced today.
So what's wrong? Is it just that things are more civilized up here? Is the area economically depressed? I can't really figure this out.
I sure am grateful for it.
ObNameDropFest: funkybearmartin is alive and well. Had the pleasure of sharing some Glühwein with him this afternoon - turns out it's a terrific way of getting rid of bad red wine. Must remember to try this more often. V. impressed.