I had the pleasure of walking through Walmart the other day. I don’t really shop at Walmart. I just slip in through a back entrance that is seldom used that spits me out right next to the pharmacy counter where I can pick up medication for my better half and slip right back out. I effectively get to avoid the masses shopping at Walmart. It’s a great system, except for the times when that back door is locked. Such was the case on Monday.
I had to walk through the front doors, push my way through the crowds to get to the sanctuary of the pharmacy area and do the same to get out. On my fantastic voyage, I noticed all of the STUFF that Walmart sells that apparently someone was buying. In New York we call them tchotchke. For the lazy, let me get the definition from our Urban Dictionary: “A small piece of worthless crap, a decorative knick knack with little or no purpose… If you are having trouble identifying tchotchke just look around your house or someone else’s and whatever you see that a burglar wouldn’t steal.“
I thought to myself, who in the hell buys this stuff? But someone has to be buying them because Walmart is selling them, and if you know anything about Walmart, they do not devote entire walls to items that are not selling well. Anyway, this got me to thinking, when did we become so driven to keep buying stuff? [Sidebar: I’m going to use the word stuff a lot when I really want to say shit because I’m trying to improve my language here. My little sister reads this stuff.]
You know what the ultimate in stuff buying is? Black Freakin’ Friday.
I’ve been seeing Black Friday deal announcements for the past month or so. And here’s a little secret, as someone who writes about finances, lots of retailers e-mail me previews of their sales weeks in advance so that I can share them with you guys. Look around people. I haven’t shared one bit. In the past I was all over Black Friday thinking that I could help people score massive deals, but something – call it clarity, call it maturity, call it snobbery – hit me recently: we’ve completely lost our way. Retailers are now holding Black Friday deals and specials beginning at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. WTF?! Can’t you at least get to choke down your dry ass turkey before feeling compelled to go out shopping?
I don’t blame retailers. I mean, we’ve been smart lately and cut back on spending, so they’re hurting for your cash. They want to make a sale. I get it. But what about those workers who don’t get to enjoy the holiday because they have to be at work to sell you a toy or some other useless junk to take up space in your house?
Thanksgiving used to be about a few things. Here are my favorite:
- Eating way too much
- Drinking way too much
- Talking and laughing way too loudly
- Trying to be nice to family members who invited themselves over at the last minute
- Pretending not to notice that someone ate my damn slice of pecan pie. I mean, you knew that slice was for me. Didn’t you have like three slices already? Seriously man, you do this every year.
- A little too much rum in the punch. What’s too much? Add a little more.
Somehow Thanksgiving has morphed into getting a deal for a holiday that won’t occur for an entire month! Chances are that many of you are not religious and wouldn’t celebrate said holiday anyway. And even if you do get a great deal on a present for someone, where does that present end up two weeks later? In a closet somewhere.
I’m not telling you not to buy stuff or not to sit and enjoy a decent meal with your family. No, wait, I am. People, sit down, slow down, and enjoy for a change. There will be plenty of opportunities for deals between now and Christmas. It’s totally not worth joining a long line in the cold for hours just to buy something that a store might only have a few of anyway.
But, if you’re compelled to go out there today or tomorrow for a deal, I’m looking for an HP SimpleSave Portable Hard Drive with at least 320GB of memory and I don’t want to pay more than $50 for it. Thanks.