Giving Up Holiday Retail Slavery

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I’ve never been much of a slave to the retail world. I’m not much of a shopper. I’ve been around long enough to watch the world of women’s fashion come full circle a time or two. Didn’t look good in peasant blouses or “skinny” jeans 30 years ago – today would just be a real scary effect. And those five-inch stiletto pumps with the pointed toes eventually walk long-term wearers to much higher orthopedic costs in the long term.

The electronic world crowds me – I still like to be alone with myself occasionally and worry for those who must be tethered to their electronic world even when a real person stands in front of them.

But that’s all fairly minor compared to what happens about this time of year when the retail world lures us to camp out for the newest electronic or phone device, or the best deal on the biggest flat screen television, or the advertised jillion dollars worth of savings for those who show up on Thanksgiving Day or at five in the morning the day after to shop for whatever’s offered at what we’re convinced to be unbelievable discounts.

What thralls we are to the retail world.

And every year, we willingly become better trained in that thralldom – along unfortunately with the rudeness, the meanness and the gluttony that goes along with it.

Unlikely as it will be, here’s hoping that a few folks drop out of this retail bondage this year.

Maybe, just maybe, we could start a new trend and remember that this retail indenture we practice around the Thanksgiving-Christmas season is diametrically opposed to the spirit of the holidays we allege to celebrate.

No doubt we could agree that parking lot accidents could be avoided if we curb the urge to get the spot at all costs.

Surely we might agree that if we have to fight fellow shoppers for that unbelievable discount on a non-lifesaving item, it might not be worth the effort.

And likely none of us want to be featured on the evening news demonstrating that the retail world pulls our “how bad can I behave” chain.

Today is commonly known as “Black Friday,” the day retailers can look to putting their balance sheets in the black for the rest of the year – through wild shopping deals that could have been offered periodically through the year. Notably, when I checked the internet for “Black Friday 2013,” the return was 108,000,000 items – and apparently the majority were sales ads for today.

One day out of 365? That’s the only day retailers can offer?

Apparently not – it looks like we, the retail sheep will allow Thanksgiving Day to become part of the Black Friday craze.

What was a special day set aside to give thanks has become the launch of Christmas buying gluttony – that doesn’t come close to the reason for the season.

We need to take a closer look at just what it is we’re celebrating these days and perhaps consider a return to the real reason for this annual season of thoughtfulness, giving, and joyous reflection.

 

Marty Carlson is a columnist for the Bossier Press-Tribune. She may be reached via email at m_carlso@bellsouth.net