This morning after Thing 1 was dropped off at school, and Thing 2 was dropped off at Bible study with Gramma (Thanks Mom!), I decided to hit Panera at the mall. I had errands to run there, and an hour to kill before the stores opened, and I was hungry, and I had my laptop with me, so Panera was the perfect place to park it.

I went inside and ordered a breakfast sandwich and a nonfat chai tea latte (I only like coffee if it’s in ice cream), and then get this: I gave them money that I had earned through working, and then they brought me breakfast. It was great. No one forced them to feed me, and I wasn’t forced to be there. I was there because I like Panera; they served me with a smile because I paid them to do so.

Contemplating the beauty of capitalism, I had to tweet about it:

Because I love Twitter. And I’m addicted to it.

After I ate my lovely breakfast and got some work done (so I can go to Panera again in the future), I embarked upon my errands.

First, I had to get some charms added to my charm bracelet that Leif got me for Christmas last year. It’s totally sentimental and silly and I absolutely love it. Among the charms are a wine bottle, a palm tree, and a heart painted with stars and stripes. Again, I love capitalism. You think Soviet wives under Stalin got charm bracelets for Christmas? No way! They were lucky not to starve to death.

Next up was a return. I bought this shirt and cardigan thingy over the summer from Nordstrom. It was a splurge purchase for me, in celebration of one of my best contracts being renewed. Because the pieces were so nice, I always dry-cleaned them, even though the labels said I could hand wash in cold water. Then a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go last minute to Vegas to see the CNN GOP debate, and I didn’t have time to hit the cleaners. So I hand washed them. And they shrank. Like a lot.

I still had my receipt, so I took the clothes back to Nordstrom and told the sales girl exactly what had happened. “Oh, I hate when that happens!” she shared while she returned the items and credited my Visa, no questions asked.

One of the reasons I love Nordstrom and choose to shop there is because of their exceptional customer service. Again, viva la capitalism! In fact, I was so thrilled with the transaction that I immediately went to the girls’ department and spent the money on Christmas dresses for the girls. They’re teal and velvety and I know they’re going to love them and look adorable in them.

After I left the mall, I knew that I needed to find a place to buy some new running shoes. I loathe Sports Authority something fierce, so I avoid it at all costs. Why do I hate it so? Because the employees act like they’re doing me a favor by even glancing my way. Hello, I’m trying to give you money in exchange for goods; can I get a little help here? Anyone? Bueller?

No thanks.

There’s this store I’ve seen near my house that looks like a boutique running store. I was worried that they wouldn’t have a big selection, or that everything would be overpriced, but in the spirit of trying new things and supporting small businesses, I thought I’d give it a try.

It was wonderful! The sales guy was an avid runner, and asked me all about my routine, he measured my arches, checked for pronation, and brought out several different styles for me to try. After each one, he asked what I liked and what could be better. He and the owner (who was nearby at the counter) made small talk and cracked jokes, and even said I had good running form.

I left with a reasonably priced pair of kicks and the satisfaction of having supported a small business with an awesome work ethic. I’ll be going back there for all of my running needs.

The whole morning of business transactions made me so grateful for capitalism. I get to do a job that I love, and I get to choose where to spend the money I earn. These Occupy kids have no idea how the world works, with their stupid ideas about government regulations fixing everything. That never works.

Capitalism isn’t perfect, but regulation through free-choice spending is the best option we’ve got.

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