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Friday, November 8, 2013

Early Musings on Christmas Shopping or '21 days till Black Friday..'

~ All pics and cards are from 1913; all ads and item prices are real...

Yesterday's post was a bit of a Debbie-Downer we know..

It was still vitally important you the reader Truly understand what's going on unless you really don't wish to know and in that case you wouldn't be here...

Nonetheless we will end the week with a bit of a funner topic

This weekend yours truly will be doing the utmost to complete my holiday shopping.
~ A turkey cost between 16-22 cents..  How much is a 10lb bird today?

Its been an annual tradition or 'competition' lately.. As the stores push up Christmas more and more on the selling calendar, I like to get something for everyone as early as possible as well..

And just be done with it.

I remember the good old days of retail sales..  I would hike 10 miles in the snow..  Oh wait, yours truly is not "that" old.. far from it..

Still, there's been a continual change over the last few decades when it comes to how retail stores treat Christmas.
Back in the 1980s into mid 1990s, there was no such thing as 'Happy Holidays' beyond something you would politely and respectfully tell someone of another faith during December.

The stores would decorate in Christmas motif with Santas all around, declare 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Christmas' openly and there'd be a representative menorah or dreidel somewhere in the store..

And yes everyone except the agnostics, atheists and other A-holes were pretty content..

Back then there was no 'Black Friday' as an event.. it was merely merchant code for when stores could turn profit for the year..
And all the Christmas merchandise was hardly Ever deeply discounted before the 25th unless a store had a dud product and was desperate to unload it..

The big shopping day and we mean Huge was the day after Christmas.. Everything 50% off and a ton of selection to choose from..

Now that was the day to wake up extra early for and take plenty of $$ with you..

Of course the stores Hated it (when the shopping public ever benefits, stores are miserable-- just a rule) so gradually was developed that special 'shop till you drop' day known as 'Black Friday'
If you're willing to wake up in the dead of a cold windy or rainy November night and stand outside at 5a with other bargain hunting brothers and sisters, you would be rewarded with things like half off a new toaster or 25% off CDs...

And in time it got bigger and bigger.. and crowds grew and grew..

And it became a 'day'...

And like everything else artificially created and contrived, it became manipulated..
Now there's websites dedicated to nothing but compiling advertisements for the big day full of 'sneak peaks' and info on 'secret' releases of what stores' Black Friday sales were to be

Nope.. nothing secret about it when the stores intentionally release the information to create and build anticipation

And those 5a store openings which made the experience of Black Friday feel so unique and distinctive? Well them stores started opening at midnight Friday..then 11p..

Now Black Friday starts for many stores at 6p Thanksgiving Thurs and stays open for 24-30 hours straight, which really doesn't make a bit of sense..  And let's not forget those early hour 'doorbusters'..
Wonder how many extra zip-up hoodies and Lego sets stores sell with this business strategy?

And if Black Friday is not enough, you have Cyber Monday too..

We remember the good ole' days when 'cyber' was graphic sexual conversation between two people online..  Now its a shopping reference..

You see.. even sex isn't safe from perversion..  Heh Heh..

And if you totally missed all the shopping experiences of that weekend, don't you worry a pretty hair on that lovely head..  Stores like Macy's and Kohl's roll out the Same sales with the Same discount percentages Every Single week a year...
~ Santa riding in his Model T

Truth is, the stores started discounting their Christmas crap before Halloween so the items you stood in long lines to buy at 30% off in early December..   Pretty good chance you'd have found the same item at same price point in October with no wait..

Still two weeks left to shop before the craziness so that may be something to look into..

Of course people expect everything they receive to be store-bought...

If you're over 10 years old and you give someone a present you spent your time, energy and heart creating, usually the recipient looks at it, gives a fake smile and thinks, "WTF! Cheap bastard/bitch..."
~ photo of a family singing carols on Christmas; pic is dated '25-12-13'

Just the truth of it.. Its how people are conditioned today.

Yours truly used to get the most uniquely offensive reactions when I would give recipients PC-made Christmas or Hanukkah cards.

"We want Hallmark!  We want Hallmark!" the people roared in passionate defiance

The homemade card represented laziness..  cheapness..  a lack of effort or care toward the other which is pretty interesting considering a store-bought card takes 10 seconds to pick out and purchasing sure does save a lot of printer ink..
~ Perhaps if we could find Christmas cards today for a penny like in 1913 we wouldn't bother making them...

If I don't like someone or the card is obligatory, I will buy it..  Saves me a lot of time to worry about creating something special and unique for one who I really don't think worth the trouble..

But funny how we're conditioned.. store bought cards represent Love and Caring..

I have family who make no effort to create and too cheap to purchase cards.. thus, I get them in a form of an e-card.  Absolute utter waste of time..

But we digressed a little here...
Everything in life changes doesn't it..  Big things.. and the small..

Maybe it always was about the $$...  That is why a lot of the hype over Christmas occurs in the first place..

People celebrated Christmas 100 years ago obviously..  many gave gifts and cards to one another on the 25th..  Some even incorporated non-biblical touches like decorative Christmas trees..

It was absolutely nothing like today..
Then again 100 years ago the American retail economy did not Desperately need the conception of 'Black Friday' and a heavy flux of shoppers to keep their businesses afloat..

Remember, the Evil Evil Federal Reserve only came into existence this year as well as the equally evil Federal Income Tax which only the top 1% was expected to pay..

And now the government takes so much money from the small to mid-sized business while the Federal Reserve works to ensure the corporations are vibrant and profitable that without these upcoming 4-5 weeks of pomp who knows how many retailers could survive

It would be pretty devastating for the modern economy if all Christians celebrated Christmas in the pure ways so many people bemoan is missing:
~ Christmas tree in front of Independence Hall, Philadelphia -- 1913

By simply taking Jesus into their hearts, going to Church and reflecting on the story of his birth, spending quiet time with family and exchanging small token gifts among those closest and dear...

That expression of the Christmas spirit genuinely would cripple our economy and our retail base..

Pretty sad isn't it?

~ Dec 24, 1913 photo

So we're off to complete our shopping and we're feeling pretty good..

Feeling well..  Patriotic.