Over the past six months, the American economy has been talked down relentlessly by newspaper columnists, presidential candidates and currency traders. Apparently that message hasn't reached shoppers in Boise, who braved the Idaho cold to launch an early morning "Black Friday" assault on the local mall.
The video is titled "mall madness," but what actually takes place is something less -- something more controlled -- than madness. Sure the Boise mall is chock full of high-pitched shrieking, indoor running, banging on display windows and the overwhelming of hapless security guards. Yet nobody gets seriously injured, and everybody seems to be having a great time with their loss of dignity.
These are clearly the type of rabid consumers who have rabidly consumed before. While, this year, they might be jockeying for first in line for the flat-screen HD TV or the Hannah Montana merchandise, 2007's holiday shoppers have internalized the lessons of relative moderation learned from previous years when they had their minds and elbows set on portable DVD players and Tickle Me Elmo dolls.
Countrywide, Black Friday sales were up 8.3 percent from last year, surprising analysts who thought all of this subprime discussion could serve as a stark reminder to what can happen to those who spend too much money that doesn't really belong to them.
And all those bad-talking economic naysayers win Idle Threat of the Week for November 19th to 25th. To paraphrase broadcast legend Chris Berman: You can not stop the American consumer, you can only hope to get out of his way as he lunges for the last Play Station 3.