I’m having difficulty keeping track of what season it is these days; and it’s probably because of 3 things: TV, radio, the internet, newspapers… OK, 4 things… the stores… OK, that’s 5 things… oh and OK, billboards… so 6 things. Probably lots more things. Now, I could have sworn this was different in previous years. But now everything is rush-rush-rush and go-go-go.
You know what I mean?
Holidays. I’m having trouble because all those 6 things (and probably lots more things) are bombarding me with holiday messages. This year, in like late June I think, the “Back To School” stuff started appearing. Kids were barely out of school for the year!! Then “Hallowe’en Season” may have started in August. Pretty sure I saw Hallowe’en stuff in the stores around that time. “Hallowe’en Season” overlaps the Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza, which in turn is really ramped up right now of course. Oh, and not to forget Christmas. That shopping season started in late September I believe.
On the other hand, you have Black Friday. Well maybe you do, but I have fingers on both hands so I really don’t give a flying mahookey about Black Friday. That may be due to the lingering distaste I still harbor for the name Black Friday; because in the economic downturn of the early 1990’s a Black Friday was one of those fateful days when people were being downsized out of a job. I had first hand experience with this happy phenomenon. One November day back in 1992, my wife gave me a smooch as I was on my out the door for work. “Have a nice day,” she said cheerfully. “Well, it’s Black Friday,” I said in a low tone. Couple hours later I was laid off.
Since then I’ve always been a bit apprehensive about Black Friday. My disdain has been substantiated after witnessing some of the comically sad Black Friday altercations that have erupted during sales events on the Friday after Thanksgiving. One could find such a fracas amusing, but ultimately I was sad to see such materially driven outbursts.
Retailers have since changed their tactics, using all kinds of gimmicks to get people to spend more online and in the stores. A local grocery chain proclaimed a “3 Day Sale” on turkeys, for a crazy price of 33 cents a pound. That was a week ago, and they’re still selling turkeys for the same price. Online is much the same story. Many of the shopping sites I’ve visited declare “Get Black Friday Deals NOW!!” And it isn’t even Friday!!
I suppose I should try a little harder to ignore all the commercial hoopla and just use the actual calendar to figure out what day or season it is. In order to do so, I’d probably have to live in a cave or something. But I like to get out and about, so I’ll just have to learn to accept the fact that shopping seasons will continue to become a little weirder every year. In the meantime, when my friends ask me, “hey Ken, did you start your Holiday shopping yet?” I’ll have the same answer I’ve had for many Novembers in a row:
So yes, I do go shopping. But I also get pretty mushy this time of year with gratitude. I’m blessed in this life, and I have to admit, aside from all the commercial yowling there are also lots of reminders to give back. And here’s a cartoon I remember seeing when I was a kid that still warms my heart.