Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Heat might make us both cranky and stupid

This article at the Washington Post caught my eye: Heat doesn’t just make us cranky. It makes us dumb shoppers.

Probably because this past Thursday I drove to Lexington in near-100 degree heat (carrying LOTS of ice water for the three dogs with me, just in case). We stayed at a decent hotel with beautiful grounds, showed on Thursday evening, then again on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and drove home with the temps in the upper nineties nearly all the time.

Ugh, heat. The puppies didn’t mind it and Pippa doesn’t seem to, but we sure could do with a whole lot of rain and a break from the high temperatures, neither of which is in the forecast.

I don’t think the heat made me a dump shopper, though. I would have gotten two scoops of ice cream at that neat little store in downtown Lexington even if it had been much cooler, because who could turn down coconut chocolate almond or habanero banana? (The latter was my favorite, btw).

The linked article is okay, though the author provides no evidence whatsoever that shopping habits change during hot weather. That’s plausible, of course, but all the evidence she cites regards changes in shopping behavior based on other factors, and changes in grumpiness in regard to heat. The thing with heat influencing shopping is just speculation:

While this study focused on unseasonably cold weather, the same patterns would be expected in the summer. On an extra hot day, I’m betting online retailers see a spike in sales for sun hats, portable fans, cooling towels and mist spray bottles, and that these goods are also returned (unused) at a higher-than-usual rate than when those orders arrive on a normal summer day.

Perhaps hot weather makes us less able to produce well-reasoned arguments with appropriate supporting evidence. Not that I think the author is wrong. Probably she is right.

Anyway, luckily no sign of road rage, though I imagine everyone stuck in the traffic jam by Mt Vernon felt a certain amount of irritation. Also no grumpiness evident at the show, I’m glad to say. Everyone seemed cheerful enough except the people who won majors, who quite reasonably seemed ecstatic.

Conner got third in his class (Junior Puppy Dog) three times, and second once. Two different people, one a breeder-judge, stopped me to tell me they thought he should have gotten first. That was nice to hear because I do think he is a very good puppy. I will be interested in reading the judges’ critiques when the bulletin arrives. Kim got third in her (bigger) class once, second once, and nothing twice — highly disparate opinions. She is such a little thing; I think that probably hurt her. We’ll see how she does as she grows up a little.

So that was my weekend. I took my laptop along, but I admit I didn’t even turn it on.

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