For the first time in years, I've been out shopping - albeit briefly - on Black Friday, as well as the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.
All three days made me concerned for the economic outlook this holiday season.
I know everyone's been reading the same articles I have, how retailers are going to slash prices like crazy the closer the holiday gets.
But still... I'd expect some crowds in the largest shopping mall on the East Coast. It was laughable, the paltry number of people I saw out shopping.
The sales associates at Nordstrom? Bored to tears.
Kate Spade? They could vacuum the place and nobody would have minded.
Cole Haan, where they had a big "30% off everything in the store" sign beckoning? The saleswoman looked ready to cry.
And it's not just the higher-end stores that were feeling the pinch - JCPenney was a ghost town.
Even JCrew, which on a normal Saturday has 5 or 6 people waiting to make purchases, had a fast-moving line - full of people with returns.
When you can go to a Best Buy store at any time on Black Friday and there's no line - I mean, zero people waiting - something is wrong.
This does not bode well, people. It's going to be self-perpetuating problem - if we buy nothing, the economy will stagnate.