AmericasMart in Atlanta covers 7,000,000 square feet over three city blocks. It is completely overwhelming. Over the past few days, I've wandered across many of those square feet, and viewed immeasurable numbers of every possible type of product, walking, I'd guess, many miles.
The exhibit hall housing gourmet foods was a manic miasma of over-zealous vendors hawking chocolate, pickles, hot sauce, popcorn, waffles, relishes, cookies, cornbread mixes, marshmallows, tea, coffee, spices, etc., each scent conflicting with the next, buyers reaching over each other for samples, food spilled on the carpet.
One day I wandered into the "Cash'n'Carry Jewelry" wing, (past "Seasonal" where it was Halloween and Christmas all at once) and entered another dimension. Vendors stood hawkish at the rear of each booth, behind the heaps of bracelets, necklaces, rings, hair ornaments, scarves, beads, most of it the cheapest of the cheap, all mass-produced on the other side of the globe. You didn't have to be a wholesale dealer to purchase, and there was no minimum requirement. Women were diving into the entanglement of bling, piling their trays with their must-haves. My jaw hung open in astonishment. I've never wanted jewelry less than I did then. My god. Is this really the world we inhabit?
So the next day (we haven't been busy, alas), I thought I'd go back down to Crazy Jewelry Land to see if it really was all as insane as I thought it was the day before, and it was, in fact, even more insane. I felt like I was taking notes for a master's thesis in social behavior.
I never want to buy anything again.
At 6pm, at the closing bell (as it were), thousands of exhibitors and buyers were dumped out into the streets, and I was in the middle of them all.
It felt like this: