Friday, November 23, 2012

Holed up like a hermit? Or using what little common sense I still possess?

The scene along Chicago's State Street, or any other shopping scene, bore no resemblance Friday to this 1935 Christmas holiday parade. Photograph provided by Chuckman's photos

I was not amongst the many people whom retailers would have you believe were so eager to start their Christmas holiday shopping that they felt the need to take their turkey-bloated carcasses out to whatever shopping mall or big box store is near their homes to begin expressing their love by blowing away their money.

Nor will I be amongst those who will feel the need to make the special trip to State Street (which is a “Great Street” every day except on Friday), or to any other retailer.

I’M SURE SOMEONE is going to think I’m expressing an “un-American” spirit by refusing to do my part to bolster the economy at this “Black Friday” time of the year.

Actually, I’m just doing my part for common sense by refusing to indulge in this shopping mania. I’m going to wind up spending my share of money in coming weeks. I don’t feel the need to be a lemming and throw my wallet over the financial cliff.

Not quite yet, anyway!

Call it my own personal tradition. Friday is the one day that I try to go out of my way to avoid shopping.

MY AVERSION TO having to go out and join the crowds of people who think it is their “duty” to spend money and bolster the financial status of their local retailers is so much that this is the one day of the year that (if everything goes alright) the only money I’m likely to spend is a couple of bucks for newspapers (or maybe close to $5 if I decide to not be so cheap and pick up a copy of the New York Times -- which gives me less of a headache reading it on paper, as opposed to off a digital screen.

Part of it is that I’m not that fond of crowds of unruly people. It’s the same reason I don’t think much of the Taste of Chicago or parades (you’ve seen one, you really have seen them all) in general.

But there is something about the spirit of the day on this Day after Thanksgiving that troubles me.

I don’t like the idea that some people feel like it is a requirement to shop. They really could avoid much of the hassle of dealing with crowds by simply pacing themselves a bit better during upcoming days (or weeks),.

I DON’T WANT to feel like I’m following the rat pack (unless it’s in the spirit of Sinatra, Martin or Sammy Davis, Jr.). Then again, I’m also the type who thinks that Opening Day for the baseball season is overrated.

It’s cold, miserable and the second game of the season is just as good an introduction to a ballclub for the season as the first – except you lose all the people who could care less about baseball and are there because they want to partake in a spectacle.

Friday’s holiday shopping is way too much of a spectacle for me to take seriously.

Besides, I have never believed that the alleged “sales prices” being offered for those who bothered to show up during limited hours Thursday night or Friday morning are all that special.

THE AMOUNT OF money being saved just isn’t significant enough for me to have to put up with the pushy people who are prepared to turn fellow shoppers into road kill if they dare get in the path of that special something of a present for their alleged loved one.

In fact, the only times I have been out in this pack have been the years in which my duties as a reporter-type person provided me assignments requiring me to go out and interview shoppers.

A part of me always wanted to verbally assault these people for being nit-wits. I always felt my resulting stories were more mocking in tone than anything else. So excuse me for being thankful that no editor this year has decided they’d like me to find out what the “hot” gift item is this holiday season.

I don’t know, and I don’t care. Those people I choose to get gifts for will get items I think they will find interesting. Because personally, I don’t despise them enough to just grab some item off a shelf on Friday just because it’s “on sale!”


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