Holiday marketing has gone off the deep end. Black Friday on Thursday is not enough. It’s been extended to Monday and beyond. Soon, we will be living in a perpetual Black Friday world. And like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day, we will be forever running around madly on the hamster wheel of holiday shopping insanity, repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over again, such as, buying that pair of boots just one day before the price is slashed another 25%.
I’m so tired thinking about all the shopping I have to do I could sleep for a week. But I can’t! I’ll miss the Black Wednesday sale! I need that imitation Gucci pleather bag I heard was going to be half price for just one hour at my fave department store.
I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead, as they say.
The remedy for sale shopping sluggishness is, of course, sugar and caffeine. One needs fuel to get through the holiday shopping craze. And there is no shortage of sugar from now until the stale rounds of dense, canned fruit cake are thrown out in January. The air even smells like sugar. They probably make pheromones that stimulate the desire to spend money on Christmas presents, putting us into shop-or-die mode. They waft through the stores like the ghost of Jacob Marley clanking his chains, telling us not to be a scrooge at Christmastime. Telling us that if we don’t buy gifts for everyone we know, knew, or might know, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future will show up.
I just made coffee with my new espresso machine, which I got on sale last week during Black Tuesday. I’m too tired to drive to Starbucks. I’m surfing the Internet for cyber sales, hoping to load up on holiday deals while sitting down until the caffeine kicks in. There are sales galore, but the shipping fees are cancelling out any savings.
It’s Christmas cookie time. A rush of processed white sugar in my system will top off the coffee high nicely. Then the shipping fees will not seem so bad, with pain-numbing endorphins addling my brain.
An addiction to shopping for sales might just become the next disease, for which a whole generation of councilors and pharmaceutical companies can benefit. One could go to college and learn how to talk obsessive shoppers down from ledges, threatening to end their lives after just missing the last 72-inch TV on sale for 999.99. Or give sage advice to sale addicts who cannot stop stocking their closets with useless items someone might need someday—perhaps after an earthquake or if a meteor hits and all the stores are destroyed.
Just thinking about that makes me want to horde hair conditioner, under-eye concealer, and Guess shoes. And maybe some freeze-dried cookie dough. Do they sell that? Is it on sale anywhere? The shipping fees would probably be low since all the water is gone and it can’t weigh very much…
Did you ever wonder, while watching, say, Independence Day, how the women were going to get their hair done after a global disaster? If any of the stores were left stocked with makeup, brand-name clothes, and cute shoes? If any plastic surgeons were left alive to attend to liposuction? If all the nail polish had been nuked by the bad aliens?
I’m not sure I could live without hair products, my eyelash curler, and Spanx. Would I have to wash my hair in a river and let it air-dry? OMG! I’m going to find some hair dryers on sale right now and stock up.
Why not just go all in and admit that the last third of the year is given up to holiday shopping? Christmas decor is now advertised before Halloween. Santa’s cheery (but judgmental) smile seems to have displaced all the evil skeletons and animatronic zombies. The zombies still try to be scary, but you can see they hold back because Santa has asked that question about being naughty or nice. Mrs. Claus is there in the background, fat and happy, proffering trays of Christmas cookies on sale for tired shoppers.
I have an idea for an app—the Black Friday app. It would track all the holiday sales and compare prices, Black Friday being the zero point on a timeline, signifying the birth of humanity’s greatest sale day. Anything before Black Friday would be BC and after, AD. So, 20 days before Black Friday would be BF 20 BC. A month after Black Friday would be BF 30 AD. It would supply updates every 15 minutes on product availability, so you never again have to just miss that sale item you covet. This app would go viral. Just think how many sale items I could buy with the profits!
I don’t want to be my mother.
The sugar and caffeine have kicked in and I am now capable of putting two and two together again. Hey, that reminds me of Humpty Dumpty. Here’s a nursery rhyme for sale addicts:
All the sale shoppers sat on a wall
All the sale shoppers thought prices would fall
They waited too long
And the sales were gone
Now they cry themselves silly for being so wrong
My mother, and her friends, used to shop for sales when I was growing up like mad women. They bought things just because they were on sale. That was the only reason. There was no pretense that a sale item would be of use someday for something or someone—the fact that it was on sale was the only barometer they used. If there was a red tag with big SALE letters on it, and a % OFF, it went in the shopping cart (a real shopping cart with wheels). There was an air of victory at the checkout counter, as each delicious sale item was drawn out of the cart and placed triumphantly on the conveyor belt. I would just stand there watching the booty being tallied, thinking our family was compiling treasure for which I had no idea what for. But the feeling of accomplishment was being burned into my little brain.
My logical mind, which has been artificially stimulated by caffeine and sugar, is computing the logistics of spending money on quantity vs. quality, but I’m not sure my brain is sufficiently fueled with holiday uppers to complete the task. Maybe another Christmas cookie would help…
The point is, repeating my mother’s addictions, and those of her generation, is not on my bucket list. I want my own addictions thank you very much.
And so the hamster wheel goes.