Tues. Sept. 21, 2021 – some observations…

Hot and humid. One last hurrah for summer? Global warmening come to kill us all? You be the judge! In any case, it was hot and humid yesterday too, hovering around 100F in the afternoon (and in the sun.) It was still 83F at midnight, but there was a nice breeze and the giant fusion fire in the sky was roasting someone else, so it was quite pleasant waiting for the puppy to do his business before bed.

I spent the day mostly doing cleaning around the house and organizing ebay items. I did ship one book, and picked up d2 for our special time. That was cut short by last minute shopping for birthday gifts. This is the opposite of prepping btw, but I was super slack getting ready for the birthday. My wife came home and we went out for dinner with the kids. Had a nice meal and came home. It was almost like we weren’t in a pandemic at all, or about to kick off WWIII or CWII…

While shopping, we actually went to the mall. I tried. I went to a freestanding jeweler, but they stopped carrying what d2 wanted, and I couldn’t find the sunglasses my wife asked for. The jeweler (Jared) was buzzing people in individually and had removed display areas. They looked like they had a lot fewer items on display and at least one fewer area. The “kid cove” where they used to have a tv and couch was being used for storing cardboard boxes.

We hit the Macy’s at one end of the mall, and there were more staff than shoppers. I did find the sunglasses though, so that was a plus.

We drove around to the other side of the mall to find a Pandora store, and look at a gift shop d2 finds amusing. The mall was pretty empty. Some stores had a few people in them. The Pandora store was limiting the number of people in at one time. We only went in there, and a kitschy gift shop. Stock at the gift shop was THIN. One or two ‘faces’ for each item. LOTS of space between displays. One item per hook and still lots of space. Prices are nuts. $16 for a novelty wine bottle stopper? I don’t think so. Two employees working.

The Pandora store had 3 or 4 saleswomen and a manager working, and everyone was occupied when we walked up. (Pandora has nice inexpensive jewelry and especially charms for their charm bracelets. It’s an easy default gift to get another charm.) The store was looking SHABBY. There were boxes stacked in one corner. It’s designed with much the same aesthetic as a an apple store, so the wear and tear was a bit shocking. Lots of smudges and hand print dirt in wear areas.

The other stores we walked past had a lot of empty space in them and they weren’t overflowing with stock. Either they let stock run down, or they aren’t getting refreshed. Macy’s was stocking displays while we were there, but even they looked a bit sparse and spread out.

The restaurant, Pappadeaux’s Seafood, was pretty busy for a Monday night. There were empty tables but people were in groups of 4 and up, some with 8-12 people. It was maybe 2/3 occupied tables. LOTS of staff working. Food was great, but there were no off menu specials at all, and they were steering diners to one side order (green beans). They didn’t bring their signature bread until my wife thought to ask. There were only 4 lobsters in the tank, but three sold while we were there. Prices seemed high to me, even by my road warrior/per diem standards. It’s a nice comfortable, kinda dress up place, but $78 for a steak entree is nuts. NOT a white tablecloth place. Portions are large, you get a lot for your money, but dang. Two apps, 3 adult dinners and one child, 2 fake beers, two margs, and tax and tip had us over $230. For comparison, Jack in the Box for us 4, combo meals with add on shakes, was $78 iirc, so maybe $200+ for a nice date night dinner out isn’t so much out of line after all.

Frankly I don’t see how people can afford to eat fast food at all, and certainly not as a staple. And unless someone else (like your company) is paying, IDK how your “ordinary Joe” can afford a nice dinner out. We had a $75 gift card and it was still expensive.

Not the way I’d have chosen to spend the day and evening, but it wasn’t my birthday.

Things don’t look good out there. There is “stuff” but not as much or as much variety. Prices seem high, and headed higher. I’d say ‘do your holiday shopping NOW, just in case.’

And stack all the things (that you can get.)

nick