My husband and I tried the Thanksgiving specials at Target. The store was due to open at 8 PM eastern, and by the time we got there, about 7:45, there was a line outside the door that stretched around the building and tickets had been given out for the really good deals, with none left for us. I ended up with some Christmas candy, some garland for my tree, cat food, and a bottle of soda. My husband wanted an iPad Air. Target had them for the regular price but was giving out $100 gift cards with purchase. They had already sold out of the white before we even got into the store. So it went.

Earlier, I braved WalMart on my own. I actually didn’t go there for deals. It had dragonfly ornaments I wanted; and when I got there and saw the lines for checkout weaving through the clothing section toward the back of the store, I wondered if a couple of glittery dragonflies were worth the bother. It was quite an experience partly because the WalMart near my home opened in the fall of 2007 and I have never seen so many cars in the parking lot. The parking lot was overflowing into that of the strip mall next door. Amazing.

Fortunately, I discovered an apparently well-kept secret that the garden department cash registers were open and I waited only about 10 minutes to check out once I had picked up the decorations I wanted. It’s not that I didn’t want anything else, though. It might have had something I wanted, but the store was quite a disaster with giant cardboard boxes of “deals” all over the place, in the middle of aisles, in the vegetable section, in the freezer section, books, CD’s, pillows and towels, and such in no apparent arrangement. There were hordes of people digging around in the boxes, merchandise scattered around on the floor, etc… I just didn’t bother looking.

What is rather interesting is that much of the selection that I noticed appeared to be more on the side of necessities rather than things one might give as a gift; bed pillows, blankets, soap, towels, over-the-counter remedies, etc… I was surprised when I entered the store that the people who were passing me on their way out were leaving with these things in their carts, not TV’s and electronics.

I suppose I will have to wait a week or so to be able to gauge whether the local economy has gotten better over last year. Walmart still has a very thin selection of Christmas decorations, while Target has much more than last year. Of course, these stores each cater to different types of people. I remember getting into a conversation about shopping while at a group luncheon at work. Someone said something close to he never would be caught dead at WalMart to which I replied that I go there asking “Why pay more if you don’t have to?” I got a disapproving look back – then Ellen, his boss, said she goes there too. I had to giggle. I suppose some younger people feel that they can afford to not go there; but it seems like an expensive trade off that they probably won’t realize until things don’t work out financially as they had planned. Been there, done that already – and I know something he doesn’t about the state of monetary policy. He will likely regret his choice in the future if we can’t get a handle on that very important piece of macroeconomics.