Cyber Monday, the Curse

I am writing this on the Saturday after Black Friday. It is sometimes known as “Small Business Saturday.” A holiday brought to you by American Express. Presumably, they want you to shop at local, privately owned businesses using the most iconic expression of corporate America, the American Express Card. They are Standing Right Behind You.[1] A very creepy way to say “Don’t even try to buy with cash, if you catch our drift.”

I am going to brave the elements and crowds. The battery of my phone is giving up the ghost, and our cellular provider has sent me several messages. An odd coincidence to be sure. My phone is probably in cahoots with the carrier and they are conspiring to get me into a new phone. I know how much, approximately, so we will go and see. But it is hard to find the phone I want at a small, local store so I am off to an electronics mega store.

There will be pallets of televisions, microwaves, washers and driers all covered with wreaths and green and red bunting, flashing, blinking lights, with signs explaining in grand detail how much you save, how easy it is to finance, how much the people on your list will love a new refrigerator. Homer never faced this kind of temptation. I will stand strong, though, nobody on my list is getting an appliance.

If the trip to the store goes as planned we are off to Nelsonville and Rocky Boots. Cyber Monday is no longer an amusing anomaly on the calendar where I work. It has become an awful, endless test of endurance. I need some sturdy shoes or boots to support my aging, aching feet, knees, hips and back.

Even today I hear the mouse buttons clicking, the touchscreens being mashed, mauled, and manipulated. I feel the mania taking the country in its grip. People are throwing reason and prudence aside in an orgy of internet extravagance.

There are things that have been sitting in abandoned, dark corners of an aging and most likely haunted warehouse in the middle of a medium-sized midwestern city, are now showing up on orders. Items from forgotten designers languishing in places that require team order pickers. Nobody wants to go there alone. Talk about the ghosts of Christmas.

From the darkened corners, back hallways, storage closets, these mostly forgotten things find there way to the Order Confirmation Booth. They’re exorcised of dust and evil spirits, boxed up and shipped off. A new life of sitting on a mantle, being ignored and unloved waits in the future. The circle of shelf life in the brutal world of fashion home décor.

For weeks we will battle the demons of the world wide web and the unquenchable thirst of couch bound shopping. The spirit of the season represented as a series of ones and zeros, packed and shipped and sent at the whim of someone sitting in their pajamas. How much easier could it be. But, it gets easier. After a few attempts the internet will send you ideas, for your loved ones.

“If you liked the bottle opener you will love the corkscrew, and so will your aunt, Sister Margaret Marietta, and don’t forget the matching shot glasses.” The internet does everything, pretty soon you won’t even have to help.

But, I will. And I will be there for you, for the next twenty-five days working against the deadline, making your family happy. That’s what I’m there for. Enjoy your movie and hot chocolate, you’ve earned it.

I have a sister campaign based on the musical interpretation of the season. It is called Life Explained 12 days of Christmas, adjusted for inflation. Feel free to follow along, and send a suggestion if you want, I am open-minded. And I have 25 more days of the 12 days.

[1] Just a reminder that everything you buy is being recorded somewhere to “Enhance” your advertising experience.

Previously Published on Life Explained