Monday, November 28, 2005

'Tis the season for black days and careful planning

I don't recall ever hearing so much about "Black Friday" and "Black Monday" during past holiday seasons as I've heard this year. I guess it's supposed to mean something good for someone, but the terms still suggest a rather dark connotation to me. I always thought "Black Friday" was the day the stock market crashed in 1929.

In 2005, the media are constantly referring to these week days immediately after Thanksgiving as those great big Christmas shopping days where people act like animals, crashing their shopping carts and bodies into each other while pushing through well-stocked markets to snap up those Christmas specials.

Oh, yeah, now I get the connection. I'm also becoming aware, after weekend news reports, that "shop 'til you drop" is taking on new meaning these days, i.e., "shop 'til your drop yourself or someone else." My question is 'What would Jesus think?'

Actually, I think I'm being unfair by comparing those maniacal shoppers to animals cuz they don't drive shopping carts. Anyway, it appears that the bigger and rowdier the human herds happen to be, as they moil around and do their shoving through Wal Mart aisles, for example, the blacker it gets for the folks counting the change at the end of the day.

'Tis the season for people like me to find a time when all these insane, dangerous shoppers are still at home, licking their wounds and wrapping those gifts. I do not like to shop in crowded stores. Furthermore, I just plain don't like to shop.

So, I usually get my list prepared, determine where I'm gonna buy stuff, figure out when I think the quietest time possible might be, jump in the car and head for the stores. An ideal shopping day for me would take no more than an hour, and if it's the quiet time, I can usually pull that off.

I've noticed of late, however, that for every hard-core shopper who shows up at the store door at 4 a.m. Friday after Thanksgiving, there are people like me to match. I discovered this last year when I thought that if I showed up at Wal Mart on an early December Tuesday morning at 7:30, I could get the job done in relative peace and quiet. Several hundred other recluses just like me had the same idea.

The cars in the parking lot gave the first hint, but when I had to keep switching aisles in the Christmas decorating section to find a route directly to the twinkle lights, I knew a new plan would be in the works. I can drive a empty cart around just so long in a Wal Mart or any other store before self destructing and saying "To Hell with this," pushing it right back to the greeter's lineup, and leaving the store in defeat.

I'm thinking about this year's strategy and figuring that I'd better have Plan B if Plan A goes awry. Used to be I could get Annie to do most of my shopping, but she's in Seattle and won't be home until just before Christmas, so that's not an option. This year's family wish list opens the door for me to get out of it all together because I've been told they all want money for Christmas this year. So, I could just go to Yoke's and buy some envelopes.

But, it's just not quite the season without a few surprises in gift boxes, so I'm not going to get out of going to some of those stores this year. After all, they always get their calendars, and I know Vanderford's has a good supply.

I have had good luck there in the past, especially cuz they sell good books. Just walk in, spot the books on the display right in the front, think of the people I know and what they'd like to read. Pick out a pile, and then Michelle rings 'em up. That sounds like a good idea.

If I get at this annual project soon enough, maybe I can avoid those horrid scenes three weeks from now when "Black Week" comes along and all those gift-impaired people show up to shove and charge, charge, charge while doing their last-minute shopping.

I'd better get busy.


Word Tosser said...

Best shopping times at Wally World is at 5am during the week....or after 10pm. You have the store to yourself... no big lines at the cashier aisle.

Yea, don't compare the animials to the herds in the stores.... it is an insult to the animials. lol

Janis Puz said...

I thought about going to the mall at 4:00 a.m. on "Black Friday" (I read that's when the retailers finally get out of the red, which I really don't believe!) to see what kind of whack jobs would be out shopping that early, but I slept in instead. Seemed like a much better idea!
I vote for Christmas shopping while on vacation and one gets that irresitible urge to spend even more money and shopping on the internet. S/H charges are less than those impulse items we buy while in the stores!