Monday, November 28, 2011

the sales and the sales and the sales

It's Cyber Monday, everyone. Which sort of creeps me out a bit, makes me think of a set-aside day to have cyber-sex. If that's still a thing. I don't know. Maybe my mind is dirty. But! But.

Let's ponder for a moment - how full is your inbox of a million emails that say stuff like:

"Hi, I'm from your favorite store, we're discounting all sale items an additional 60% off plus free shipping for 4 hours only! Run!"

My cousin's girlfriend works at one of the famous electronics retailers. She had to head into work at 11pm on Thursday night to work a 12 hour shift. She chose that over the 9am to 9pm on Friday. More down time, I suppose - more exciting.

But seriously, people. Has it not gotten out of hand? Me thinks yes.

I will admit, I am, at times, swayed. I will never ever ever go to Target between Black Friday and, oh, Christmas, if I can help it. I refuse to go to Wal-Mart anyway. I do most if not all of my shopping online. If I'm at the store the week before Christmas, its because I ran out of wrapping paper, dang it.

But, I shop. A lot. All year. You guys know this. So wouldn't it behoove me to shop MORE when the deals are so OMFG BBQ!

I really really ridiculously try not to. Because I don't want to perpetuate the consumer madness. I'd rather buy from Anthropologie than Target, and from Etsy than Anthropologie, and I try to stick to that, all year. But damn, they are convincing, aren't they?

Let's all make ourselves feel okay and pretend that they are selling at a loss this week (heck, maybe they are, making it up in volume) and that the clothes we buy all year are worth full price (they're not, for the most part).

Last week, about Monday, our TV finally bit the dust. We had to cave and buy a new one. So, I did what any smart and/or brainwashed American would do, and waited until Friday. (online, people, online). I needn't have. The emails I started getting a week ago about Black! Friday! Deals! Start! Now!...I didn't believe them. I thought the prices would go lower. They didn't. I still got an amazing deal on a new TV.

So does the system work? Sometimes, I think. Sometimes. Maybe if it could be limited to responsible buying of needed appliances and electronics and we all agree to replace broken items twice a year, and the retailers are cool with that, so they give us good deals. Maybe twice a year, who wants to be stuck with a broken dishwasher for 10 months? And, hmmm, why doesn't this apply to cars? Black Friday for cars? Freaking genius. Groceries? Gas! College! There's so much more benefit to be had here than video games and very ugly ugly housewares on sale.

Does it perpetuate the idea that Christmas is the time to blow all your money and put yourself into a debt you will only barely get out of by next Christmas because you need all the things? Yeah. And that's pretty disgusting. I, for one, wouldn't miss about 1/2 of what I own. Get rid of it, you say? Give it to less fortunate people so they have Christmas gifts? Well, that's damn brilliant, I say. Why don't we all do that?

My family, we have a good tradition. We play white elephant with the extended family, $5-$10 gifts, and we all chip in nice chunks of change to a charity that we choose together. Not a one of us needs things. For the immediate family, we try to give experiences or donations. Tough sometimes, and we will give a few little pretty things here and there. But the tree, it is not so full with boxes, but much fuller with life and love (whoa cheesy, but true).

I have good intentions, but I will falter. I will never ever buy a child a toy when I could give a book. I am more likely to buy you a trip than a necklace. But most of all, I try to give with thought and heart. I don't see that for sale at the big stores, I just don't - none of it has personal meaning, save books and music maybe.

I'm steeling myself against a month of unbelievable sales in my inbox. Its tough, you know. Tough for someone like me to resist major deals. But I'm doing my best, this year. I'm almost done Christmas shopping. I may just block all those emails.

Or, I may buy a faux fur vest from Nordstrom because I  mean, who doesn't need one of those. That's like the thing I will wear all the time even when its out of style because I don't care and I love anything that reminds me of the 70s. Like my brown leather cropped moto jacket. Which I bought in like 2002 and has come in and out of style 'bout 5 times and I don't care, I just wear it. I do what I want. But I digress. See, I'm not perfect.

How do you resist the pull of the x% off siren?

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