Consumer Issue Dec. 26, 2011-Stop Shopping Already

Dear I’ll-go-shopping (and return everything I’ve ever received)-immediately-after-Christmas crowd,

I was fortunate after exiting Interstate 10 near Memorial City Mall on Dec. 26. My vehicle sat in the exiting traffic tie-up for only 15 minutes while not going to the mall. I stayed as far left in those few lanes as possible. But I was amused at the hundreds of cars backed up on the feeder lanes of I-10 waiting impatiently for a single parking spot to open up among the many parking spots at this very sizable shopping facility.

The thought came to mind quickly: Go home people. Most stores were closed only 24-36 hours, and you are acting like you are having withdraws. Come to your senses.

I heard some major retailers ran out of cash because of returns from all the picky people who can’t adjust their life and accept the purple tie, the brown shoes or the zebra-striped underwear they received from a loving friend or family member. That may be humorous if not for the fact so many people lined up to return gifts. Who honestly wants to stand in line to find a parking spot at any mall? And then who wants to stand in line at a retailer just to return a slightly tasteless item for another slightly different item?

This letter is about maturity, thankfulness and the avoiding the fix-me-I’m-broken mentality so common in America. Millions of Americans, I pray, are deeply thankful for every tiny gift they received. Many of my friends could not afford a major Christmas this year. However they avoided the trivial in-store fight to exchange/return gifts, and instead shared the love, hugs and blessings to get them through.

Praise the brave, the heartless, the truly healthy of mind, and the loving person. In reality, most of us are selfish, petty and too obsessed with our own needs. Most career-oriented adults take half or all of December off work. So next year, let’s all spend Dec. 25-Jan. 1 at home in the loving arms of family or by assisting our friends with hugs, presents and fun.

In the long run, you cannot make a better investment in your lifetime.

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