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    Sunday, January 04, 2009

    Holiday Shopping & Buy Nothing Day 2008

    As you well know, our family celebrates Buy Nothing Day. That is the holiday of anti-consumerism that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving, called by eager shoppers; "Black Friday" or "Blitz Day", and marketed as the biggest shopping day of the year. Businesses have taken advantage of this, and in an attempt to boost their sales on the unholy grail of shopping days, offer huge discounts in order to entice customers to come buy from their store instead of all of the others.

    Of course items that usually cost $400 dropping in price to a mere $100 is terribly tempting, and this entices people so much that they awake at 3am so they can fight for parking places, jostle for a place in line, and wait in the freeing cold for hours, just so they can have a chance (yes, that's right, a chance, there's no guarantee here folks), of getting the one thing they want most. Some people even go so far as to bring a sleeping bag and camp outside of the store with friends, sleeping in shifts to be assured one of thes magical and elusive first spots in line, and thus, first dibs on spending money. This past year it was so bad that there were several injuries and even a death as customers stormed into the store in a rush to get to the gifts they most coveted.

    This lunacy is brought to you by the idea that spending lots of money and getting really fancy gifts for your friends and family around the holidays is the best way to let them know you care. Of course it is also helped by the advertising industry, and people who seem to think that teaching their children the joy of giving is not an important part of the season, which leads to excessive cases of the gimmies, and creates the vicious circle of consumerism.

    Some businesses are cluing into the fact that there are a lot of people refusing to buy on "Black Friday", and have created new ways to take advantage of the consumerist rush, and many internet companies have made the day after black Friday another big shopping day, in the hopes that more people can be drawn to shop at online retailers.

    Amazon.com for example offered special deals and sales, with all the pricing of the unholy shopping day, but starting on Nov 27th, and going on for several days of special deals, with one deal each day. It's the same concept, but a little more innovative. I have to give them credit for thinking outside the box like that, and I'm sure that their creativity got some of those who celebrate Buy Nothing Day to indulge in a little extra shopping too.

    With the bad economy, and the prevalence of gift cards as presents in recent years, other retailers have tried to get people out on December 26th as well, to spend those gift cards, and get what they really wanted from the cash they got back after returning their unwanted gifts.

    This last year was extra-special!

    This year, we attended our very first zombie walk!

    At the Battlefield Mall at 1pm, zombies invaded Springfield, trudging through the mall and mumbling things like "consume" and "buy" instead of the typical "brains", then when they were kicked off of mall property, moved over to the dark lord WaldeMart for a bit more fun before shambling back to their dens to sleep out the cold. Little known fact, zombies really dislike cold weather.

    The zombie walk was an open event, and all were welcome to join in the fun. Shredded clothes and special effect makeup were not necessary, but they did make things a lot more amusing.

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