Sunday, February 22, 2009


Earlier this afternoon, I was talking to a friend in Boston who was mentioning a recent visit to Home Depot. She said the parking lot was more than half empty (on a day when she would have expected it to be full) and multiple employees were waiting at the door to assist any customers who came in.

Just after I talked to her, I went to Target on 95th St. The parking lot was more than 1/3 empty. The store was not crowded. When I got to the checkout, lines were very short. There was less in the carts than I expected to see. A cashier from the second line of registers was standing near the front line and waved me over. No line, no waiting - at a time when I would have waited at least 10 minutes in a normal economy. When I came out of the store and drove past the front of the Home Depot lot to get to the stoplight, I noticed that their lot was even more sparse than what my friend in Boston described: maybe 1/4 full. And this is on a sunny Sunday afternoon when I would have expected both stores to be jammed.

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