Don’t get me wrong; I like getting out with the crowd. I really do. Although born in New York, I’m an L. A. girl. I relish rooting for my boys, the Dodgers. The most thoughtful present a guy can give me is theater tickets to the hottest show in town, I’ve braved the L.A. May heat to attend the Renaissance Fair, and I use to be a frequent visitor to the UCLA Book Fair. I like getting out with the crowd, but not when it comes to holiday shopping.
Holiday shopping is where I draw the line. Do you know the three easy ways to avoid frustration? Do not participate in Black Friday, Cyber Saturday, or Cyber Monday.
Years ago, I got up early to go shopping on Black Friday. Mind you, I’ve never been a morning person, especially on my days off from school. However, a discount, a bargain, hey, I was there! I’d walk far in the early morning cold because, of course, parking near my store of choice (usually Best Buy) was impossible. At a mall near where I work, cars are lined up waiting to park. It bears repeating, people weren’t lined up to shop or spend, they were lined up to park their cars. I realize today there are high-tech parking structures that tell the driver electronically where there is a space. This lot didn’t, and still doesn’t, have that. Neither does the structure at my mall.
Frozen, and still sleepy, I’d finally make my way into the store just to find that the item I’d gone to this trouble for was exactly the same price as it had been the day before. When I questioned how that was possible considering it was Black Friday and all, I was told that electronics, my item of choice, was something called “fair market,” which means the price would not change at all no matter what color “Friday” it was.
I figured I could beat the system. I would outsmart retailers at their own game. The follower year I would inquire at the store before Black Friday if my desired purchase would be discounted. No matter the store, no matter the employee, the answer was always the same. “We don’t know. They don’t tell us ahead of time.”
On the news over the year, I’d heard horror stories about shopping experiences. People lined up in the dark, cold, snow, rain, and not just Thanksgiving Eve, but for days. I’ve literally seen tents full of families with small children lined up in front of stores. That means missing Thanksgiving was worth being the first in the store on Black Friday morn. I’ve watched the news expecting to see important stories of the day just to see stories of people lined up in sleet and hail being interviewed about their burning desire to be able to buy a Tickle Me Elmo doll. (Okay that was years ago, but you get the idea.)
Last year, the news reported that people had graduated to pushing and shoving to pepper spraying those that competed with them for their item of choice. Pepper spray, as in mace, was used to be able to purchase a gift?! I even heard there was such violence last year that this year it was suggested that Black Friday be cancelled. I suppose that was tantamount to cancelling Christmas since Black Friday went on just as scheduled. I hope the Grinch, wherever he is, isn’t disappointed. “Jingle All the Way,” a movie about toy buying at Christmas, was about this topic. That was fiction. This was real life!
Cyber Saturday and Cyber Monday
I was listening to the news on the morning of Cyber Monday. I heard that every second Amazon.com was selling 426 items. “426 items per second?” That didn’t sound like very many, considering it was Amazon and all. Then the announcer added the word “thousand”. 426,000 items per second? per second?? No wonder I had heard they were hiring a few months ago.
During Cyber Monday last year I was so excited. I would get out with the virtual crowd. I had a very busy Monday the first day back at school after a week of hiatus. I was determined not to let life deter me. I would participate in this annual event with the rest of the Internet community. Finally, instead of getting ready for bed, I slipped downstairs to my computer and went to Amazon.com. Cyberspace at long last! However, when I typed in the electronic items I so desired, again I was met with disappointed. No price drop on Cyber Monday. I refused to let the metaphorical stars align against me. I would make a purchase! I ended up buying plaid scarves for myself and my friends. I felt so defeated. I really love electronics.
In closing, I don’t care if it’s Black Friday, Black Monday, Cyber Saturday or whatever they want to call these shopping days. They are gimmicks to get people to do what I like to do –get out with the crowd, virtual or otherwise.
Sure, I like Amazon.com; I won’t kid you. However, this year instead of participating in another disappointing Cyber Monday, I was watching the “Voice” with my husband. Adam Levine and Taylor Swift sang, and I had a blast. Am I being contradictory? No. I have a Prime Membership to Amazon.com. I am a huge fan, just not on Cyber Saturday or Cyber Monday.
Readers, what do you think? Do you participate in Black Friday, Cyber Saturday, and Cyber Monday? In contrast to my experience, any great deals you’d like to share? I look forward to your views.