For all the talk about how rough things are, for all the uncertainty and fear, people apparently have no problem whatsoever rationalizing the purchase of big-screen TV's and other adult "toys."
I had the privilege again today to watch Black Friday shoppers in the pre-dawn hours. I don't know exactly what it says about the economy, but I have never seen so many people buy TV's in my life. Carts lined up for 40 yards to the checkout register: each with a TV inside. Many had two TVs. I saw two guys whizz by in the parking lot at 5:30 a.m. with THREE TVs!
Nearly all were Emersons and Sonys - 32-inch LCD specials in the range of $248 to $378. I think I talked with four or five buyers - asking them if this was to go under the Christmas Tree. Every one of them looked at me sheepishly - and said no. Five hours later now I am guessing all those TV's are operational already. They were buying them for themselves.
I guess the lesson retailers know is this: No matter how strapped you are for money in your life, however big your student loan or house payment a good flat-screen TV is indispensable.
As is a cell phone. And a digital camera. And lately, a GPS system for your car. The toys we enjoy as adults just keep getting better and more irresistable.
I don't know about the rest of America, but in the West Sacramento Wal-Mart Supercenter at 5:30 a.m. today it was sure easy to think: Meltdown? WHAT economic meltdown?
Photo: Los Angeles Times