Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Crazy Friday

A friend of Quarter Acre asked us to write about the first shopping day of the 2006 Christmas Shopping Season. This friend was horrified by of our fellow Americans and described them as "greedy" as they bum-rushed the gates of stores to scoop up holiday bargains. We certainly agree that the behavior of our fellow Americans on this day is disturbingly boorish. However, we're not completely sure that it's evidence of greed, per se, but rather misplaced priorities and consumerist venality.

One thing that we've always thought is that people like to shop on the day after Thanksgiving because they want something about which to talk and complain. Americans love to tell stories that involve distress and discomfort. For us, there is nothing more uncomfortable and distressing than the thought of arising at 5:30 AM to push and shove strangers at the door of a store to buy things that will be thrown out, disused and forgotten within weeks of their receipt -- because, honestly, isn't that the fate of most of the things we buy in the big box stores? Yet, each weekend immediately following Thanksgiving, the media, and our personal spheres are filled with tales of shopping-woe and mall-based-misery arising from the "Official Kickoff to the Shopping Season." If the so-called savvy-shopper doesn't know that this weekend is going to be miserable by this point then there is not much that we can do to help them; and, if savings of 50% - 70% off regularly priced items don't mitigate the agony then is Thankgiving-Friday shopping really worth it? What's wrong with internet shopping?

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