Eight Day Frenzy

Here’s a news flash for readers who’ve been hibernating in a cave somewhere … the shopping season is upon us. Should I say THE Shopping Season? Or perhaps The SHOPPING Season? Anyone with an email account has no doubt been suddenly besieged (as I have) with a flood of new and tempting messages hawking this or that great deal.

so-haute-black-fridayThis year, I can’t remember when my inbox began to overflow, but any retailer/ wholesaler with whom I’ve ever done business (dating back to 1992 I imagine) presented their “can’t-miss” deal for my consideration. Lots of them personalize the deals:  since you purchased a potted plant for J____ last year, we’re giving you an extra $10 (or 15%) off this year! (Lucky me!)

Of course, until you’re ready to submit your order, they don’t mention the $12.99 handling fee (over and above the initial price, the upgraded containers and sales taxes which have already combined to break the budget!) on each of the four or five items you’ve already added to your shopping cart! No, if I wanted to spend a total of $50 to $100 for handling fees, I’d think about delivering them myself!

At the risk of sounding like Ebenezer Scrooge, I got to thinking today about this Christmas season … what it means as well as how the holiday has been hijacked into a week-long orgy of consumerism. Now don’t get me wrong. My earliest memories revolve around visions of Christmas – the lights, the music, the magical wonder of shepherds and angels and a baby born in a manger. (Having been born on Christmas, I felt like I had an instant connection to the One who was stable-born … even after I discovered He hadn’t actually shared His birthday with me.)

Sorting through the various consumer-driven aspects of the season, I thought I’d offer my thoughts and maybe provide inspiration to others who’ve been similarly bemused at the onset of this season. Herewith, my Eight Day Frenzy in anticipation of Christmas.

turkey1Thanksgiving Thursday
Naturally, we start with Thanksgiving Thursday. In actuality, the season got off to its early start even before Thanksgiving. The deals were already flooding email inboxes. But Thanksgiving itself serves as something of a training table experience, if you will, for the Big Game. Gorging on Thanksgiving Day girds shoppers for the all-day free-for-all of …

Black-Friday-LineBlack Friday
Who can say for sure about the origins of Black Friday? At least one of the deal guru websites suggests it goes all the way back to 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November (instead of the fourth), hoping this change would spark an uptick of the pre-Christmas holiday economy. Two years later, Thanksgiving was officially changed back to the fourth Thursday of November. Black Friday took longer to embed itself in consumerist tradition; maybe because shopping malls didn’t proliferate until the 50s and 60s. People who reveled in Black Friday soon adapted themselves to …

MallSlamMall-Slam Saturday
How does an entire retail industry top the success of Black Friday – other than to have it become a two-day event? Deals from Friday carry over, plus … more deals and extended hours on Saturday! Shoppers who snoozed on Friday are determined not to lose on Saturday so they’re cruising the malls and prepared to plunk down cold-hard cash … er, plastic credit cards … to grab a deal – any deal – to claim their share of bragging rights (who got the best deal?). Fight the crowds, wait endlessly for a parking spot, scour the shelves for the hot products and stand in line to pay. Then do it again at another store … and another, until exhaustion sets in. All the while, though, there’s a tinge of worry, a hint of guilt which leads to …

SadSundaySAD Sunday
Did you spend too much? Is the credit card maxed out? You’ve already discovered two of the “hot” (and unreturnable) items you purchased had lower prices at (name that retailer). SAD? It’s an acronym for Season Aversion Disorder, that annual self-inflicted ailment where you beat up on and pound yourself for having spent too much. Unfortunately, SAD rarely prevents you from participating in …

Cyber-MondayCyber Monday
Ah, the joy of online shopping! Having engaged annoying and pushy shoppers all day Friday and Saturday, you’re ready for the quiet, relaxing clicks of a keyboard and the satisfaction of Free Shipping on every Cyber Monday purchase! It’s heaven! Yes, you tell yourself, you’ve already gone way over-budget, but these Cyber Monday deals won’t happen again! Suck it up and you’ll make it work somehow, right? You’re also rationalizing, you’re going to adequately compensate because tomorrow is …

GIVEtueNEW2Giving Tuesday
Did you know that? Yep, today it is … a new “tradition” for the unenlightened. With all the profligate spending of the last couple days, some enterprising non-profit operative hatched the new concept – a movement, Wikipedia calls it – “dedicated to giving back” so says a UN-partnered website explaining its 2012 launch of this initiative. Giving Tuesday seems to lead naturally to …

feelgoodFeel-Good Wednesday
According to the aforementioned website, one of the goals of Giving Tuesday (beyond giving generously) is to “tell everyone you can about how you are giving.” Indeed, nothing says charity and selflessness like ponying up the big bucks so you can trumpet to everyone else exactly how much you ponied up, right? It just seems appropriate when you’ve had a Giving Tuesday, it should be followed by a Feel-Good, Pat-Yourself-On-The-Back Wednesday. And doggone it, it was almost worth it … but not to worry. You’ve got it covered because tomorrow is …

Payday-LoanPayDay Loan Thursday
It’s been a full week of super deals, lightning purchases and generosity fit for a ruling monarch! The bills won’t start showing up in the mailbox for another twenty-three days or so, but you know this piper will need to be paid. First stop? The neighborhood PayDay Loan operation where 25 to 30% interest rates aren’t out of the norm. Remember SAD Sunday? You’re now feeling the physical symptoms of it as you open the door to your friendly state-sanctioned loan sharks. But it’s okay, because next year you’re going to plan better. At least that’s what you tell yourself.

Who wants to even think about next year?!

Renée