Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shopping until you drop, or go broke

I've always found the reference to "Black" Friday a little disconcerting as the beginning of the Christmas season but in this case "Black" is a good thing for businesses I guess. Our pursuit of eking out a living has lead to a complete set of days for shopping. Today is "Small business Saturday" A day when you buy all local from locally owned, independent stores. Monday is "Ciber Monday" a day when you buy on line from all over the world. I figure with the three days there we've pretty much spread our hard earned cash all over the planet. If we are indeed in need of a specific gift item and its on sale, we ought to get it. However, we all know at least one person who is simply addicted to shopping and proceeds to overspend for things they don't need. I am acquainted with a family guy that didn't sleep Thursday night because he wanted a new 46in TV. He fought and waded his way through the crowds and even got knocked down once only to find there was only one TV per store and it was sold within 30 seconds or so. This otherwise reasonably sane guy proceeded to spend his entire two week pay check for another TV more than three times the price of the original. The money he had was supposed to go for groceries and rent but he just got caught up in the moment. Friday afternoon, as he watched TV he was on the phone with his landlord making all sorts of excuses of why he didn't have the rent money. He wound up pawning his computer. Now that's what I call a problem.

A friend of mine is a psychologist and is extremely interesting to listen to. It is his opinion that each and every one of us has at least one addiction. I found that hard to believe but he went on to give a few examples of how we develop certain routines, A.K.A. addictions to help us through life. Many are obvious and frowned upon like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Others are not viewed by us as addictions like a daily shower at a specific time, a coffee cup with the handle turned a certain way or wiping the dust off the counter on the way out the door, every day. If we look at ourselves honestly, he says, we will discover we have an addiction.
How do we get out of bed? How do we hold a fork? How do we put on our shoes? How do we read the paper? How often do you eat a certain food? Wait a minute, I said, I think you are describing simple procedure we develop over the years that work best for us. In a way, he said, but for the most part they are all addictions. I sort of think that he was playing a psychologists joke on me. I, for one do not have any addictions whatsoever. I actually need those three and a half cups of coffee to equalize my metabolic rate. If I put on my left shoe first the laces get tangled. If I don't let the engine run for exactly two minutes before my truck in gear it will blow up. I know what I'm doing. No one else understands me like I do. What was my point again here? Oh yeah, shopping! When I look at the prices offered on these special Black Friday sales it makes me wonder why I don't fight the crowds and get the deals. First, I don't need any of that stuff. And second, I still don't! I will say this though, addicted or not some of those shoppers certainly are enjoying themselves. Especially the ones who aren't spending their rent money.

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