The biggest shopping day of the year. Called “Black Friday” because it isn’t until late November that most retail businesses are profitable for the year – go “into the Black”.
Incessant chatter leads up to the big day – bargains here, bargains there! Don’t miss it! Even the “news media” pushes this – noting the hype, and how retailers are pulling out all the stops to garner our precious cash! But at the same time, they spew newsphlegm about how important it is for us consumers to get out there and spend money to save our decrepit economy.
Shopping is Patriotic!
Not to say that i don’t have my weaknesses* when it comes to “stuff”. Nor would i say that i go out of my way to spend more on things than i need to by waiting until they are not on sale…But the corporate-fueled feeding frenzy that is “Black Friday” is just a big steaming pile of rancid horseshit.
Spending money you don’t have on shit you don’t need. America – FUCK YEAH!
Christmas shopping? i used to do this. i spent an astonishing amount of time putting together happy little gift baskets for all of the admin folks at work. Curly ribbons to tie up sparkly cellophane wrapped baskets. Smelly lotions and potions, gift cards to their favorite stores. Homemade cookies and treats. Candles. Cutesy little gift items and whatnots.
Same for teachers. For friends. Family.
i enjoyed showing appreciation. Trying to find something that was ‘just right’ for so-and-so. Something to bring a smile. Something useful. Took some degree of pride in the selection of gifts, as well as wrapping them – pretty and frilly and sparkly.
Over the past few years, something in my brain snapped. i just stopped doing it. i still bought gifts for my kids. A gift for my mom. If i got a baking bug up my ass**, i’d spend some time in the kitchen making biscotti and sharing with friends. But i flat out quit partaking of the crass consumerist buffet of the holiday season.
And you know what happened?
No one fucking cares. No one misses it. No one has suffered because i didn’t buy that bacon-scented gnome candle and wrap it in a festive bag. i have lost exactly ZERO friends because i stopped giving Christmas presents. i have been abandoned by exactly ZERO members of my family*** since i gave this shit up.
Remarkably, my degree of stress during the holidays bottomed out. i have fuzzy memories of staying up late at night in Decembers past, trying to “get it all done”. Making list after list of things to do. Things to buy. Cookies to bake. Gifts to wrap.
i now spend that time sleeping. Farting around with friends. Hanging out with my kids. Drinking. Watching movies.
And wondering why the fuck someone would stand in line for two days to save $200 on a giant-assed TV?
image found here
* Office supply stores and any place that sells camping or backpacking gear. This shit is like crack to me…
** Treatable with pesticides.
*** Damn it…
Oh yes. But then (with the exception of book stores and nurseries) I have almost complete sales resistance. Which made buying into the xmas shemozzle incredibly stressful. Thank you for explaining Black Friday to me though – it is probably true here too, but it not the subject of a media beatup. Thankfully.
“sales resistance” – i like that. could also be the name for the people who stand up to the conspicuous consumption and TAKE BACK the holiday from the retail madness…
No, I don’t mind at all that you’ve quoted me! 🙂 But please credit me -Scrooge.
Real friends don’t send one mass-produced card once a year. Real friends stay in touch, if only sporadically.Real friends are not impressed by masses of expensive wrapping.
I consider my real friends too intelligent to be sucked into the Hallmark vortex.
i still enjoy some trappings of the holidays – the decorations, the gatherings, and the glorious trays of home baked yumminess that magically appear on every horizontal surface i pass! i might even send cards this year, as i enjoy the art of writing notes, even if it’s once a year. but if i do? it’ll be january.
Real blog-friends don’t hide behind their cat’s moniker! 😉
We told the kids several years ago to nix the presents for us old folks. Last year my daughter and son-in-law donated in our names to a charity that provides things like mosquito nets and water filtration systems for people in Asia. My son and daughter-in-law donated to the kindergarten reading program where I volunteer.
Yes, these are the “gifts” I now give.
very sweet! i like that approach! pick a favorite charity – like “The Human Fund”?
I love love love buying presents for people when I have the slightest inkling of what to get them. But that’s getting harder and harder. I don’t think people want anymore candles or tchotchkes and everyone I know already gets for themselves everything they want… so now I think I’ll just buy booze.
But yeah, I agree with you on the black friday thing – I try not to judge because I know a lot of people who participate, but I think it’s all a bit of nonsense and bullshit.
i’ve tried really hard not to judge… and i know people who are enthusiastic about this black friday shopping thing. but i bitch about ‘shopping for sport’ year round – it’s just worse at the holidays.
and like you, i really do enjoy giving gifts – especially if it’s the perfect thing that someone would enjoy or need. and books fly off my shelves as (re)gifts all the time…
And who says No to booze?
If by some strange chance I happen to need something around this time of year, I happily pay extra to avoid retail establishments on Black Friday. In fact, I’m pretty sure when I arrive in Hell, I will find out I’m spending eternity shuttling between a Walmart on Black Friday and a room full of big screen TVs showing a variety of creepy children’s shows.
my Hell would involve shopping. i hate it anyway, but at the holidays it’s so much worse. even the grocery store becomes treacherous… there might be Teletubbies in my hell, too… or infomercials.
My hell would involve crowds.I could never put myself through the horror of a Black Friday shopping spree
what happened to rational thought? we gave that away when we started letting the television be our kids’ babysitter. i remember raw avarice welling up inside me while watching the commercials. luckily, my parents didn’t give a rat’s ass what i asked for. and i came out okay [twitch, tweak]. besides, there’s time to buy shit the rest of the year! i’ll wait until then.
i remember going through the Toys R Us “Idea Book” one of the first years it came out, bookmarking pages and giving my “list” to mom with about 1,000 items marked as what i wanted. the paper barely touched her hands as she tossed it in the trash. can’t blame her.
I did Black Friday once a few years ago with my SIL ….
I will NEVER, EVER make that mistake again!
I do the majority of my shopping online as to avoid the general public at large as they are so consumed with getting (fill in the blank) that they no longer even resemble human.
This year i’m switching things up with my gifting; i’m trying to stay local OR i’ll buy stuff fromsmall business artisans from across the country.
I’m sick of the Chinese crap that has filled my house.
Also, I believe in giving gifts to those I love throughout the year …. not just because Big Business has decreed that I should overload my kids with crap they don’t need and say that Santa brought them.
(Don’t get me started on Santa …. the whole idea of him creeps me out! Old man who watches children, breaks into their house and leaves presents for “being good”? Creepy)
it’s pretty much my worst nightmare. when i did shop, it was mostly online (once the internet was invented). local is the way. i like the local artisan stuff… but it’s hard to buy ‘art’ for others, unless you know them well…
also agree that it’s more fun to gift year-round. hell, i gave someone a car last summer because she needed it and i didn’t.
I remember that post. Is the car still going?
yes! they’ve taken it on some long trips, even… to see a son graduate from military boot camp. makes me very happy that it’s found a good home. but a little melancholy that the junk car i was going to toss away is their MOST reliable form of transportation….
Over here it’s a bit like that just after Christmas. People lining up for sales and such. Makes me think of swarms of locust.
yeah, we get the after christmas nightmare, too. a bonus. ugh. like the analogy to “locust”. that’s about what it looks like when they open the doors…
We LOVE Christmas at our house….except for the shopping. I like the festivities that happen throughout the month and the pretty lights and decorations,but I also like taking them down and getting on with the year. I’m also one of those people, that once January hits, it’s time for spring time to arrive.
yep. i like the trappings and the parties and the sparkly lights and stuff. but put me in a WalMart and i’ll start to stroke out… this year, i won’t be doing a tree – but that’s because i’m gone 3 out of 4 weeks in December… good stuff – and adventure – lies ahead! the tree will be back next year!
After ten years of participating in the mass of Christ, I am using Jewishness as my pretext to do absolutely nothing, except drink good wine with friends and deplore the horrors that so many undergo in the name of a communal festival. Go, go the mighty Fae!
(Applies to become a jew)
that’s it! i always thought i got the jewish faith…. (in line behind looby)
I love my eyes too much to wade them into a choppy sea of bargain hunters armed with pepper spray on Black Friday .
it got a little nastier than usual this year… ugh!
I may have sounded too curmudgeonly in my comments! I like to choose gifts for certain people and I like to present them attractively;it’s the over-commercialism and the angst and the crabbiness I hate.
My favourite gift-giving? The man who runs the green trash dump. I know he enjoys a good red so I take him a bottle. Most people think he’s “beneath” them.
i had the same thought after i posted this – i was crabby about the rabid shopping bullshit, not really gift-giving… i like the gift to your dump operator! very cool!
Black Friday is more about the sport than the savings. I’m not kidding. Someone who cares way too much about shopping explained it to me.
Gift giving? Cash is king. Always has been. Always will be.
for the admin folks at work, who make a fraction of what the salaried folks make? cash, cash, cashcashcash. and i make no pretense of prettying it up…
I need more Jewish friends. (Hear that, Mitzi?!) I tried to make a “no present” pact with friends and there has actually been resistance. Uhg. I’m going to pick out really stupid crap and hope it discourages friends for next year.
Actually, friends aren’t as much of an issue as minions I work with. I don’t actually pay anyone or hire anyone, but there are a ton of people I work with who make my life so much easier, and this is the accepted time of year to let them know that. I wish it didn’t feel so mandatory and fake, but if it wasn’t, my lazy butt would probably do nothing for anyone, and that wouldn’t be very nice. I’m resigned. Ho. Ho. I’m a Ho.
those folks who make life easier at work are the tough cases…. but i make the effort to find out what they need/like, and go the cash or gift card route. these days, you can buy gift cards just about anywhere, making it even MORE thoughtless than cash!
i’m a Ho. right there with you..
I completely agree with you. I stopped worrying about sending out cards years ago when I did the math and realized that I was sending out five times more than I got. So I thought, “Fuck em!” No one said a word after they stopped receiving them.
Stopped worrying about gift-giving when my breeding-like-rabbits kin mass-produced and the totality of a gift, if I were to include them all, would consist of a nickel a piece. No one noticed that either.
Matter of fact, the only ones who have noticed when I slack on spending is my kids. Damn kids!