I'm recounting this mainly for my friends outside of SoCal, who I think will find this story amusing. Those of you who live here probably won't be as amused by it, so feel free to simply be amazed at my obliviousness.
For the most part I consider myself an observant person, but a recent experience I had puts that assessment in serious doubt. On Monday (my "weekends" are Monday-Tuesday, if you recall) I went down to the Del Amo mall in Torrence to check out some of the end-of-summer sales. One of my first stops was Victoria's Secret, because, well, what girl doesn't like cute underwear? I ended up spending more time in that store than I planned, waiting to be checked out, so by the time I left I was up for some exploratory walking. As I rounded a corner I was disgusted to suddenly be confronted with Christmas decorations--everywhere! Good grief, I thought, walking on and averting my eyes, unwilling to subject myself to this outrage. It really DOES get earlier and earlier every year. These people are shameless--it's not even Halloween yet!
My thoughts continued on in this vein until I became aware that it was really bright for being inside a mall. Slowly I started to notice a lot of people around me were carrying Christmas shopping bags and were awfully inappropriately dressed in sweaters and scarves for such a hot day. Other details started to emerge--the sources of all that bright light, cords taped to the floor, cases full of equipment, folding chairs...and then the set lights finally penetrated the darkness and I got it. They were filming in the mall. Apparently at the moment they were on a break, so I wasn't causing much of a disturbance, but once I figured out what was going on and that I was right in the middle of it, I picked up the pace and got out of there.
I felt pretty foolish for being so spaced I didn't even realize I had walked into a shoot. Sure, they were on a break, but come on! Wake up already! It ended up being kind of entertaining, though. After wandering through a few more stores, I ended up on the level above the shoot and was able to lean over the rail like several other bystanders and watch them film a scene. I recognized the actor as Damian Lewis, and from his suit and the badge clipped to his belt I cleverly deduced he was playing some sort of cop. Naturally, he had a female co-star, but I didn't recognize her. Once I got home I looked him up, and I bet they were shooting an episode of the t.v. series "Life," in which Lewis plays a cop who returns to the job after being wrongfully sentenced to life and imprisoned. That would mean the lovely yet vaguely unfamiliar lady co-star was Sarah Shahi.
So the moral of the story is that, yes, retailers are shameless, but they haven't quite moved Christmas to September. Yet.