I never go. I generally hate to shop anyway but this year I ventured out. It was a warm day, I had a few things I was looking for, no pressure, just a day to wander around...
Southern NJ. I know we often get a reputation in Jersey for rudeness. I don't find that to be overly true. I do find it in the local city (not in Jersy) as a driver, not when I'm walking or shopping, eating, that is, face to face. We edge on a rural section, there are lots of active farms mixed into our suburban developments.
The mall was crowded, the road to it very congested. The ride was slowed by merging tragic as EVERYONE allowed one person to get in line in front of them. It was all so polite and civilized. The parking lot was crazy, the traffic patterns there are not well designed. One young man inadvertently cut me off, stopped, apologized with gestures and continued. I parked far away, enjoying the weather.
Once in the stores, the crowds were manageable. I shopped a bit, stopped to watch Santa with the kids (really longing for those days and hoping for grandchildren someday) and had a bite to eat. I watched a few frazzled parents with tired, boneless kids. All were blessedly patient.
The biggest challenge was the long lines at checkout. I only bought a few things at three stores but the wait was long. Shoppers were friendly to one another, joking about buying swim gear instead of the scarves and mittens we had, the weather was that balmy. NJ is odd like that, we'll probably have sub zero temperatures on Monday.
All in all, it was a nice day. Oh, I could have done without the annoying "jazz" caroling of the portable organ in one store that competed with the Muzac, and that slice of pizza is reminding me that dairy isn't my friend. I'm happy I didn't NEED to shop, and greatful I have the resources to pick up those few extra things I wanted for family members (and a new sweater for me)
But it was gratifying to see that we humans are capable of treating each other with respect and kindness under stressful conditions. Even in NJ!