Goodwill

Where there's no post-Christmas slump

December 26, 2008: 4:29 PM ET

breadlineI read today that another bunch of analysts have emerged to tell us there's going to be a disappointing end to a slack holiday shopping season. I'm sure we all continue to appreciate the job our analysts do in a variety of sectors and wish quite heartily that they would go away. 

I can report, however, that there is no post-Christmas slump in at least one location. 

We were in downtown San Rafael, Calif., this morning, sometime before 9 a.m., when we noticed a long line snaking down the block outside the Goodwill store. My stepson had volunteered to do some work there. The line looked like one of those that used to appear outside soup kitchens back in the days of the last Great Depression, and we naturally assumed that these were men and women waiting patiently in the northern California cold for the first handout of the day. The boy was there to help in that effort. 

We dropped him off and were headed home when the cell phone rang. It had only been five minutes. "You know all those old guys waiting outside?" Kyle said. "They're shopping." Shopping? "Yeah," he said. "I went inside and asked who was responsible for volunteers, but nobody seemed to know. Everybody is just in there. Shopping."

We circled back and picked him up. He was right. The place was a madhouse, filled with people looking for bargains at Goodwill. Some were down and out. Others were just poor folk. Still others drove up in very nice cars. 

So I guess we have a clue where there is still some action in our economy. Maybe we should send a couple of those analysts down there to have a look.

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