Sunday, November 26, 2006

[festive spirit] biffo and the spirit of goodwill

Is this behaviour clinically sane?

Please see this earlier post, in which I explain why I agree with Stephen Pollard and detest this winter holiday season. Now there is support for this curmudgeonly stance, from Utah.

For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has been called simply Black Friday, because it is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, when retailers supposedly move into the black, or start turning a profit. Shortly after midnight yesterday, an estimated 15,000 shoppers pushed and shoved their way into the Fashion Place mall in Murray, Utah. Police soon joined them, responding to reports of nine skirmishes.

Once inside, shoppers ransacked stores, overturning piles of clothes as they looked for bargains. A retailer’s dream — too many customers! — quickly turned into a nightmare, forcing store clerks to shut their doors, and only let people in after others left. The mall even briefly closed its outside doors to avoid a fire hazard.

Many merchants angered shoppers by trumpeting huge discounts — like $70 portable DVD players and $600 flat-screen televisions — only to announce they were sold out moments after they opened. The fact that so many people were sleep-deprived probably didn’t help. A dozen malls, from Utah to Maine, opened at midnight. And
Wal-Mart, Best Buy and J. C. Penney began ringing up sales at 5 a.m. (A 6 a.m. opening at Target seemed so 2005.)

In Lewis Center,
Ohio, near Columbus, Cindy Milsap, 43, and her daughter, Ashley, 20, woke up before dawn to drive to the nearby Wal-Mart Supercenter, which advertised a 52-inch high-definition television for $474. “We don’t really need a new TV, Ms. Milsap said. “But at that price? C’mon.”

And choice is so much better this year.
May I ask a question here? Is this sane? Is this what the season of goodwill is all about? Some may think fighting off masses of frenzied consumers is the way to go. To you, happy shopping - the central purpose in life.


Colin Campbell said...

When I lived in the Capitalist Center of the Universe, I often used to think along the same lines. All the queueing to get bargains and the glorification of the practice by the mediad. Revolting crass behaviour. I always came up with the same way of rationalising not participating in the propping up of the US economy and the crippling indebtedness of Americans. When you would hear the announcer say save 50 percent, I always thought that I could save 100 percent by not buying at all.

james higham said...

And over here, Colin, it's the saddest of all because the Russians are like children - they really are. Big, big eyes which see technica and shiny things in their homes [which they never had earlier]. Don't care how they get it - sign up for credit, anything. I'm going to run a post on this soon.

Ellee said...

Give me a pair of walking boots any day and I will head out in search of the fresh air, I detest the crowded shops and bad tempered people. I always maintain the best things in life are free (including free speech)!

james higham said...

A long walk down forest paths and maybe barbecue in the forest at the end of it. They do shashlik over here and it's mighty good on a nippy day. Couple of vodkas help too.