For years, the great philosophers of the world have told us people can be divided into two basic groups: the Day After Thanksgiving Shoppers and rational human beings.
Back in black. The day after Thanksgiving is better known by it’s “street name:” Black Friday. So called because Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season and thus, the day when all retailers hope their profit and loss statement ink turns from red to black based on mega sales.
Black Friday shoppers are the ones with hands paper cut and ink-stained from spending Thanksgiving day scouring the newspaper circulars looking for a chance to save two bucks on a Best of the Chico and the Man VHS box set.
They will wrestle $50 televisions and stereos into their carts, and body slam you for a Tickle Me Elmo.
These people are not to be trifled with. They get the job done.
Let’s be frank. Exchanging gifts offers endless potential for tragic aggravation: teeming crowds, ransacked stores, busted budgets and the sinking feeling even as your receipt is being passed across the counter that you have bought the utterly wrong thing.
Even worse, perhaps, is receiving a gift that you wouldn’t buy for your worst enemy. Well, maybe for your worst enemy, but only if it’s on sale.
Evil. More galling yet, retailers act like they are your friends – wanting only to help you out of a tough gifting situation – when, in reality, they are evil.
Too many retailers take liberties with holiday shoppers’ complete lack of common sense. Come holiday time, suddenly any and everything is fair game for the “makes a great gift!” bait and switch. A box of holiday-shaped saltine crackers? Makes a great gift! A lint brush? Makes a great gift!
Mouse trap? Makes a great gift!
Even merchants who have no business mucking around in the gifting biz just can’t resist getting in on the action. And that brings us the anti-fungal cream and personal care items at the pharmacy bedecked in ribbons and bows.
Don’t do it. I don’t know about you, but if I had a problem with, say, nasal and ear hair, the last thing I’d want is for it to be so noticeable that loved ones were giving me the Wet/Dry Nose Shaver as a gift. Isn’t that the kind of thing you’d rather take care of before it escalated to the point where your loved ones had to stage an intervention?
Any decent salesclerk with a even a modicum of decency should throw his body across an item like that before they’d let you actually PURCHASE one, let alone offer you a gift receipt.
Fortunately, even if you wouldn’t dream of leaving your warm bed on the Friday after Thanksgiving and fighting, cheek to jowl, for the first Holiday Barbie off the midnight Toys R Us truck, there is hope for you to build up your shopping muscle.
Shopping frenzy. Throughout the holiday season, retailers will helpfully open as early as 5:30 in the morning and stay open until the very last shopper has taken out a second mortgage on their house.
Only then do the shopkeepers get to close their doors, turn out the lights, and dance ’round the racks with joy because they can’t believe they actually unloaded those 1,300 tea-light toilet tissue dispensers they accidentally ordered.
Me, I consider myself to be completely immune to all this retail hype and shopping nonsense.
For the record, I’m not going to bite on one of those tea-light toilet tissue dispensers until they are at least 70 percent off.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt will shop Black Friday because she has few cents and little sense. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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