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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Holiday shopping means quality time

The Christmas shopping season has officially begun. While it’s true many people have been hoarding away their gifts since early July, the passing of Black Friday signifies the next month will be a veritable cornucopia of holiday deals, gift receipts and free gift-wrapping.

Now, I’m not going to fillet Black Friday and offer it up as yet another example of how our society is sliding down the slippery slope of materialism. This is mostly because I enjoy taking part in the after-Thanksgiving festivities.

According to the Bradenton Herald Today, the average shopper spent about $360 last Friday.

Now there’s no way to know whether they spent that on themselves or on Christmas presents, but today I’m feeling generous and we’ll assume the hundreds of dollars went to brightening their loved ones Christmas morning.

So why did everyone go out at 4 a.m. and brave the crowds, the cold and the mile-long lines?

Because in America, we like our sales. Because Circuit City had DVDs, two for $8.

And not the crappy movies either, but good ones like “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers,” and oldies like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and all three “Die Hard” movies.

And because we’re lazy.

Wait, lazy? But we all got up at 4 a.m. and drove downtown and waited in line and fought for our parking space and hauled hundreds of pounds of merchandise out to our cars!

It doesn’t matter.

The 140 million people estimated by the Chicago Sun-Times to have gone shopping Friday most likely knocked out most of their holiday shopping list in one fell (and very cheap) swoop.

They won’t have to spend another day scouring malls for the perfect gifts. At most they’ll have to make one more trip to a specific store before Christmas or order something online.

But believe it or not, Black Friday participation actually fell this year.

The reported a drop of one million shoppers, despite a 19 percent increase in shopping. This drop was probably caused by the laziest breed of shoppers: internet shoppers.

This year, most of the great deals offered in stores were duplicated in their online counterparts. So instead of getting dressed and taking to the streets, many consumers only had to roll out of bed and spend a few hours of quality time with their computers and their credit cards.

They got all the deals and probably free shipping straight to their door in inconspicuous packaging, or even wrapping in a holiday-inspired box. Voila, no shopping, no driving, no wrapping.

It’s also no fun. Black Friday provides our consumer-driven nation a rare opportunity for some family bonding.

No one wants to face the crowds and the horrendous line alone, so what do they do? They take their daughter, their mother, their sisters, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, etc. And they spend time together.

It might be unconventional, but let’s face it: People in this country don’t spend enough time with their families. We have our headphones, our personal computers and all the things that allow us to go through life without interacting with other people.

This past Friday, me and my partner in crime spent six hours shopping at a handful of different stores, entertaining one another while we waited in line at Target for 45 minutes so I could buy 99 cent pairs of gloves and socks.

We laughed at the people pushing piled-high carts and yelled at the teenagers making use of their grandparents’ handicapped parking sign. And when we were finished we went out to breakfast and talked about life.

OK, maybe not life, but it was substantial.

It was an opportunity for each of us to talk face to face with another human. Not instant messaging, not text messaging and not trying to drive with out cell phones glued to our ears.

This is what we need. It’s beyond sad that the only time we get to do this is when K-Mart offers HDTVs at 50 percent off, but still it’s a step in the right direction.

Where we run into trouble is when I hear people bragging that they got all their holiday shopping done online. That, unfortunately is the direction we are heading.

When we don’t even have to go out and look for our gifts. We order them in bulk and have them shipped directly to the recipient. Merry Christmas. It’s just not right.

So I encourage everyone to grab your favorite member of your family (preferably not a person you have to do a lot of shopping for) and take a trip to the mall.

Get your holiday shopping done and spend some quality time with another member of your species.

Send comments to Amanda at [email protected]

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