New year, same shitty economy

Kristine and I hit the streets today, around 1:30 (despite no hangovers, we slept in very late). First up, lunch. I called ahead, and confirmed that the elusive Mermaid Cafe was open for business. Yay! They've got fussy weekday hours, and when so many of our weekends are occupied by trips to Appleton, it's just plain hard to get there.

We were very happy with this, our first visit to the Mermaid. Half-sandwich of the New Delhi Deli for her, Bahn Mi for me (ba-DUM). Tasty. My hot apple cider went most perfectly with the sweet/tangy roast beef bánh mì.

The most noteworthy thing, however, was how insanely busy they were. IN-SANELY. We got there with two people in line in front of us, and before we could even order, five more people filed in behind us. Plus, the folks already there who were waiting for their coffee refills to finish brewing.

After a very enjoyable lunch, we moseyed over to Target for some essentials. Again, we found our destination to be buzzing with human activity. At least eight registers were open, lines at them all.

At this point, I finally remembered why I had wanted to venture to State Street earlier that morning, and to the downtown we went. I decided along the way that a lovely beverage from Jamba Juice was in order. We got some prime parking and went to Jamba first.

While almost empty, and while the clerks there looked mighty bored, they were indeed open. I got my drink, and we walked toward The Soap Opera. This is what we noticed:

Bop: closed.
Gap: closed.
The Soap Opera: closed.
Pop Deluxe: closed.
Noodles: closed.
Little Luxuries: closed.
Jazzman: closed.
Himal Chuli: closed.
Parthenon: blessedly and reliably open.
(Incidentally, Weary Traveler and Blues on the way to Mermaid: also closed)

Frustrated, we continued west to Monroe St.

Orange Tree Imports: closed.
Brasserie V: closed.
Trader Joe's: closed.

Additionally, Savoir Faire and Beauty Blossoms were closed on the far west side. Archiver's was open, and business was brisk, as was the Greenway Station Starbucks.

What's going on here? Is this a holiday or something?

Jokes aside, this is a little strange. One would think that, if nothing else, Gap and Trader Joe's would be open as they're chain operations and would likely fall outside of the individual discretion of the manager to close up. The mall's open; every other Gap location must be open. Right?

The only thing we could come up with was the economy. It's a shitty economy. Proprietors are looking to save costs, and New Year's Day is apparently viewed as a low-reward calendar day.

This is almost logical, except look at the places we went! Starbucks, Archiver's, Target, Mermaid Cafe: all open, all packed with money-spending humanity. Are the other places letting hype get to them? Or is the local economy really that bad?

Suffice it to say, we're staying in and making a shitty frozen pizza for dinner rather than risk finding a locked door at whatever joint we might have decided to patronize. Have faith, Madison. People still have some money to spend.