Shop till you drop

Here we are in the swirling, spinning flurry of November shopping deals — hot-ticket items for dirt cheap, so cheap you’d be a foolish twerp not to purchase three of them today!

The season of American consumerism is upon us. Be sure to take the time to warm up your credit cards for extra swiping — you don’t want those things crapping out on you in the middle of the checkout line while the cashier groans and the people behind you start giving you dirty looks. ‘Tis the season of giving after all, and those folks would give you a swift kick out the door if it helps them get their new TVs home faster.

The commercials of a commercialized holiday have begun anew, each with its own scene of wonderfully happy and good-looking people frolicking about in the fake snow, sitting around a beautiful Christmas turkey dinner or playing with all the latest gadgets and gizmos.

It seems like the advertisements began early this year, mere hours from when the orange candle’s glow behind the jack-o-lantern’s crooked grin was snuffed out.

Halloween is dead, move on to the next holiday.

But in these modern times of capitalism, Thanksgiving is a hazy afterthought, a turkey-induced coma only to pass the time and rest the body for the early-hours excursion to some department store, where folks gather in a line with other deal-hungry shoppers to wait in the cold outside for hours before the circus begins.

People get trampled to death. They get in fights, verbally assaulted, robbed.

Who wants to run the risk of dying for a cheap laptop or “buy one, get one” bathrobes?

I can see the news recap now: While shopping on Black Friday, Mr. Jarvi began arguing with another customer over who would get the store’s last discount-priced vacuum-and-steam-cleaner carpet master combo. A fight ensued, and onlookers said the pseudo-egghead Jarvi was “beaten” to death with a hand mixer in the kitchen appliance area. Authorities said the other customer, whose identity remains unknown, made a “clean” getaway with the merchandise.

I’ll admit it, though, I am a bit of a guilty hypocrite. It’s only been once or twice, but I have gone shopping in the wee hours on Black Friday. Moreover, there hasn’t been a Christmas gone by when I didn’t put on my consumer hat and buy, buy, buy — for others mostly, but sometimes even for myself (“That greedy twerp!” you’re probably thinking).

When it comes down to it, the only real issue I have with Black Friday is that people go crazy. I understand why they want to shop the bargains, and why retailers offer the deals — even if many of them offer the same prices, or better ones online — but at least retain some measure of civility out there.

Small Business Saturday, great; Cyber Monday, OK; and Black Friday, fine. But I will forever take umbrage with the steady, slimy oozing of Black Friday deals encroaching Turkey Day, or even “Black Wednesday” for some, with retailers offering the so-called doorbuster prices on Wednesday and running clear through Thanksgiving and into Black Friday.

For Heaven’s sake, and for the sake of your workers and their families, leave the deals to Friday — or better yet, just offer them all year long, then we can really kick this American consumerism into full swing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ryan Jarvi is city editor at The Mining Journal. He lives in Marquette with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Tino. Contact him at rjarvi@miningjournal.net.


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