BLACK Friday!

One more time I am keeping this very short. My Blog’s transition to PressHarbor.com has not finished due to an unforeseen delay. I hope that one more week will do it. In the meantime, however, I’ll take the opportunity to make a few comments on this past BLACK Friday.

Personally, I have NEVER participated in this annual ritual. But, PLEASE don’t take this as a moral statement; it’s not. If you enjoy this sort of thing, go for it. Have a ball! I just don’t have the patience for it.

Shoppers go looking for stuff. They live for sales and saving money in the process. They thrive on the hunt; crowds are not only an integral part of the process, they’re part of the fun. And, while many astute shoppers know how to save a bundle, some others have no clue.

My point is that I don’t shop; I go get. If I see something I WANT—note that this is rarely the same as NEED—I go to the nearest retail store (or sometimes wholesale) and get it. I simply walk it, find it, take it to checkout, pay for it, and leave. If the place is too crowded for my tastes, I come back later.

Christmas is no exception! From the day my children made their way from the womb to the stark realities of life, I was—and I still am—their Santa Claus. My wife did all the shopping for the rest of our in-laws; she still does. But, even for my children, I still didn’t SHOP.

When they were too young to make their own lists, my wife made them—including the store names next to each item (usually only one or two stores carried all of it). I’d simply go to the stores on the list, collar a sales associate and tell him/her there was money in it if he/she would “find this stuff” for me.

I continued the practice once they discovered the joy of making their own lists as prepubescent beings. And, since I never mastered the dialect called TEENAGER, it was a sheer Godsend throughout THOSE years. In fact, I still do it today, and my youngest is 32-years old.

The only thing that’s changed is the price of bribery. Back 30 and 35-years ago, those sales associates would gladly do this for $5 a store. Today, it costs me between $20 and $25 per store.

But, it’s well worth the price. From start to finish, I’m usually out of the malls, or wherever, with every item on each of the lists neatly wrapped and tucked securely in plastic shopping bags in less than two and a half hours.

HO! HO! HO! And to all a MERRY CHRISTMAS! It makes for a very joyous season as long as I don’t have to wrestle my way through herds of human cattle in search of only God knows what, some of whom are easily spooked into a dangerous stampede over some silly stocking stuffer.

This brings me to some emails and other comments I’ve received bemoaning the rampant and blatant commercialization of the Birth of Jesus Christ, as well as complaints of how silly it all makes this country appear in the collective eyes of the rest of the world.

First, here’s a newsflash regarding the religious aspect of Christmas. Until the world receives some verifiable proclamation from “ON-HIGH” that Christianity is THE WAY (as opposed to some human can of hairspray or dude/dudette wearing a Roman collar self-proclaiming to know the things God hates), it’s all a matter of opinion… HUMAN opinion.

Second, the complaints about Americans commercializing Christmas, and the rest of the world thinking it makes us look silly and selfish, are bunk. I’ve traveled to many countries on this globe, many of them poor beyond description.

They think, CORRECTLY, that we’re wasteful, not silly. And, they KNOW from the fact that we’re usually the first country to send relief, that we’re not a selfish nation. Without a doubt, they’d give anything to have only 20% of the choices and affluence that this nation possesses.

To see some things that make us look stupid to the rest of the world, we need only refer to that Beltway joke called the United States Congress over the past 30-years or so. Don’t get me started!

And, finally, let me make this perfectly clear. Black Friday is not the cause of all the criminal activity associated with it.

The pepper spraying of shoppers, including children, by other shoppers; the elevated instances of shoplifting; the trampling of shoppers by other shoppers in their quests to “get there first, etc, are all criminal activities perpetrated by PEOPLE, not by Black Friday.

To quote Albert Einstein, “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear, and greed.” So, if you love the thrill of intense shopping during the Christmas season, have a ball. However, in view of the above quote, it might pay you to carry some pepper spray!

Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.

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