Many people will not consent to either and just stay home.
For those of us who find it an adventure, we are drawn to the stores as if they are foreign lands. There is a passport needed, clearing customs, seeing new sights and returning with souvenirs. We come home somewhat tired, but also satisfied that we survived.
The big-box superstores are symbols that size does matter, and that buying is a sport in America. Those who do not care to win at consuming stay home, while those who believe that more is better go out, card in hand, to spend.
Take toilet paper. You stand looking at the mountain of converted-forest product, thinking about where you will store the vast number of rolls that come in a package. You wonder if, by buying that quantity, you are making a bet on your life expectancy.
Those who enjoy supporting the gross domestic product appear to be in a festive mood having come to this massive place to snack their way around, from one sample giver to another. You can have a full meal without spending a cent.You almost wonder if you can convince your spouse that shopping is a date.
It has all the makings of a party. There are bright lights, lots of people and you are surrounded by food. There are even parlor games, like Race for the Meat Department and Shopping Cart Tag.
“Hi. Would you like to try our new potato chips and chipotle dip?” the lady in the shower cap purrs.
“No, thank you,” you mutter. “My mother always taught me not to eat between meals. Hmmm, chipotle dip? I guess it won’t hurt, and mom will never know.”
It is all very tempting. Besides, samples don’t have calories, do they? Free means both no cost and no food value, right?
Just around the corner is a nice person giving away orange chicken. You have to be open to new experiences, and orange chicken, while not new, is different from most home cooking.
The next aisle provides the opportunity to taste cocktail wieners in a luscious sauce. The server hawks it like it was filet mignon, but he could not oversell it. It is delicious.
The final bend brings you to blueberry cobbler — and you almost have a balanced meal.
When you have checked out and piled the bounty in the trunk of your car, there is not only a sense of satisfaction, but no need for dinner.
Arriving home, you fill your storage to overflowing and feel proud that you have provisions to carry you through the next end-of-the-world prediction. You have done your part to support the economy. You have struck a blow for capitalism.
And, if anyone gets the stomach flu, you have the Charmin to carry you through.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.