It's been a bad break up for America

I was 17 when I experienced heartache for the first time. It was the kind of heartache that makes you realize there is something that hurts much more than physical pain. When you understand what it means for your heart to really hurt.
My mom, who's heart was breaking just watching me feel so sad, did the one thing she knew would cheer me up. She took me shopping.

Like the Phoenix, out of the ashes of my burned relationship came a beautiful birth: the birth of a new wardrobe.

And for the first time, I understood the true meaning of retail therapy.

I liken my broken heart to our broken economy. Although we've lost so much, out of the ashes of our economy, good will come. And though we've lost far more than my high school boyfriend, it is still important to rejoice in the minor victories.

As the holiday season is approaching, these victories are becoming more apparent. Since noon yesterday, I've had three.

I went to the mall to redeem a free gift at Victoria's Secret. Simply for coming in and buying something, they rewarded me a gift card. At any point during the month of December I can take my gift card in and they'll tell me the amount of money that is on it; it will be at least 10 dollars, up to five hundred.

When I returned home from work, I had a mini look book from BCBG waiting for me. Hours later, I received a call from BCBG explaining that in the back of the book, there is a free gift. I have to go to the store to learn what the gift is (anything from cash to a shopping spree).

And today, in the J.Crew catalog, a new offer: the Gift Gurus. They make holiday shopping easier through five steps:
  1. They'll schedule an appointment to review every item on your list (and check it twice).
  2. They'll handpick perfect presents for everyone (no matter how fussy, far away, naughty or nice).
  3. They'll give advice to anyone shopping for you too, so you get exactly what you're wishing for.
  4. They'll find it for you fast - that means tracking down that just-right item in 48-hours or less
  5. They'll wrap things up. Literally. From gift wrapping to doorstep delivery, they'll handle every detail for you.
And it's completely complimentary.
So I have a gift card to Victoria's Secret, a present waiting for me at BCBG and elves at J.Crew.

Although I like to think of myself as a loyal shopper, I know I'm not a whale.

But stores, desperate for holiday sales to be up from last year, are doing anything they can to bring shoppers in. I may not have an AmEx Black, but those account managers know I'm weak. When I see the baubles and ruffles and sparkles (ah), and I'm holding a ten dollar gift card, I won't be able to pass it up...

So I'll shop and help myself, while simultaneously helping the economy, confident that things will get better. I mean, I got over my heartbreak. Why can't America?