Isn't sad that our world depends on our abilty to buy stuff. Things that we don't really need nor will even remember in two or three years from now.
There is a very large mall called Bahia Sur that is smack dab in the middle of a collection of beach communities here at the tip of Europe in the southern most part of Spain on the Atlantic coast. There are perhaps a half a million people within a 35 mile radius.
Spain as you probably know is suffering horrendous unemployment, above 17 % and rising. They have had a similar boom and bust in their residential property market similar to the U.S. Prices, peak to current trough are not down as much as the U.S. but they are still falling.
The mall and stores were packed. The parking lot was jammed and the police were out directing traffic and assisting people to find areas to park. Once inside though people seemed to be looking and having coffee and drinks over looking the bay and seemed not to be buying much. There is a large food supermarket, Carrefour, kind of like a Wall Mart, and they were packed and people were filling shopping carts with food. Their prices for food are the lowest in the area and their vast variety is unparalleled as well.
Outside of the food department it seemed that people were gravitating towards the cheapest products, TVs, computers, etc. and not much traffic around the high end stuff. Which is a bit of a cultural change for the Spaniards – normally when they do buy something they really want to “flash” and usually lean towards the high end expensive stuff.
IMO, people like to go out and mingle with the crowd and shopping offers an opportunity to do that. You don’t actually have to buy much or anything to enjoy that part of the experience.
As for me, I honored National Buy Nothing Day (as I do most days of the year).