Saturday afternoon, which was of course Christmas eve, my husband and I did the unthinkable...we went out to the local mall. Mind you, we had no shopping to do, we just enjoy spying the masses running around, desperately trying to fulfill the dreams and requests of their loved (and not so loved) ones.
We were calmly strolling through the mall (well, bobbing and weaving might be a more accurate description), when quite suddenly we came upon a very long line of people. We both exclaimed at the same time, "Wow, what's going on?"
Well, I immediately thought, "maybe they're selling lotto tickets". No, that wasn't it.
Okay then, "they must be giving something away...free food no doubt...I'm in". No, that didn't seem to be it.
"Ohhh, of course...the line to sit in Santa's lap!" But nope, that wasn't it either.
Upon careful examination, we finally realized that this long, winding line, easily made up of 60 people, was for none other than...THE READY-TELLER!
I couldn't believe my eyes. The line for the ready-teller was longer than the line for Santa Claus.
My husband and I looked at eachother in utter amazement.
What in the world was happening here? What happened to the old fashioned way of gift buying...running your credit cards up the wazoo? Were these people out of their minds, actually considering replenishing their cash stash and continuing on their merry gift- buying way?
What an eye- opening shocker this was. I just wanted to stand there and yell to the masses..."what's wrong with you people? Have you forgotten the American way? Have you forgotten the true meaning of Christmas...to run your credit into the ground only to give gifts that will be hated, returned or re-gifted within a few days"?
I felt like Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life"...As though I had completely lost my way, nothing made sense, nothing was recognizable...I needed a Clarence the Angel to remind me that all would be okay.
And, then, as if by magic, it happened. As we continued our journey through the mall, every turn we took, every kiosk we encountered, was another person asking to buy here on credit. Another sign reading...no money down, pay in 2 years.
My faith had been restored, all seemed right with the world again. I knew that America hadn't completely gone insane.
Buying on credit was still alive and well! But I knew, that visions of people lined up at the ready teller, actually choosing to use cash over credit...would haunt me.
And that Christmas 2005, would be a year I would not soon forget.