It was “back-to-school-supplies” tax-free weekend in our state, so I thought I’d beat the crowds by hitting the stores early-ish. But 9 a.m. on a Saturday isn’t all that early. Belk’s was virtually deserted when I arrived, but by the time I finished there (I didn’t buy the store out or anything, but found a couple things I needed) it was 11 a.m. and I figured WalMart—the only other major shopping venue in our county—would be jammed. It wasn’t. What?! Is it a sign of the diving economy? Or did everyone shop on Friday? or go to the big outlets? or fancy malls, despite the price of gas?

Mysterious! Whatever, I got some stuff, saved on some taxes (thanks, state!), and didn’t have to wait in the check-out line at all.