the worst human traits holiday sales brought out were elbowing your
competitor, a whack on her arm with your purse, or a horde of formerly
staid old ladies violently shouting, "I was here first!!!" Today,
we are much more modern and refined. We simply taser our rival and
take the merchandise from her cold, dead hand. Well, she didn't really
die from that taser blast in the "Black Friday" melee at a Philadelphia
mall, but she didn't dance on down the Yellow Brick Road either. Taser
is an acronym for Tom Swift's Electric Rifle.
|Why do we allow
marketing companies to sheepen us into people who really believe "Black
Friday" is something unique, and not to be confused with Cyber Monday,
or Early Thanksgiving Sale? Boy, give those marketing guys an inch
and every single day of the year will have a special shopping theme
name. Why don't they just call every day "Lobbying for Your Money
Day." What's sad is that, as George Carlin pointed out, we've already
got too much "stuff." Remember who started all this way back about
this time of year -- Three Wise Men. First it was nice to believe
we could do the same thing with our own children that they did with
Baby Jesus, but that exploded over time and TV commercials to mean
all our relatives, all our friends, and all our colleagues.
If you reduce holiday commercialism to its essence, it's about showing
someone you love them. So why do we have to spend money to do that?
If we have a lot of money, give it to charity; they're having a serious
economic downturn, too. If you have a little money but not much, hit
Ye Olde Thrift Shop; every day in a thrift shop is a SALE day. If
you have no money at all, then these next Christmas suggestions are
IOUs for a day or longer of your time to be used for:
petsitting, or housesitting
for a day or longer
serving a meal or meals
Picking up their kids at school
something you know how to do and they don't
A foot rub
The Christmas best remembered in my family is the one where I cut
out of magazines pictures of the gifts I would have bought each person
on my list, if I had a million dollars. I put each picture in a card
and handed it to them. They might not remember the expensive gifts
they were given every other year, yet they fondly remember those pictures.
If the marketing masters are getting to you and you can't think of
a way out, remember one thing: a taser costs $400.00. Love is free.
Van Ostrand, December
8, 2013 column
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