Monday 24 Oct 2016

Upcoming Holidays
Matt Seinberg

I always dread the weeks after Halloween, simply for what comes after it. In retail sales, Veterans Day has become a real shopping day, sometimes being busier than Presidents Day, which kicks off the national holidays of most people having days off.

After Veterans Day is Black Friday two weeks later right after Thanksgiving, when most retail stores are closed. The other two big holidays we get off are Christmas Day and Easter. Christian holidays celebrate this way, with offices, banks and many stores closed. Why isn’t there any Jewish, Muslin or Hindu celebrated in the same way?

Sorry, I wandered away a bit.

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays simply because of the food, and the chance to be the family. My mother always complained that it took days to prepare for that feast, and only minutes to eat it, and at least an hour to clean it up. Now that I think about it, she was 100% right about that.

Although the women cleared the table and did the dishes, the men always went to watch a football game. It didn’t matter if they all wanted to watch a game or not, it was a way not to have to clean up after dinner. Ask any guy what game is on that night, and half will get it right, while the other half will give you a blank stare, and then turn away, hoping you’ll go away.

So Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, with many stores now opening at midnight, enticing people with “Early Bird Specials,” “Door Busters” and other stupid name they can come up with to get them into the stores at that ridiculous hour.

Black Friday is so named because that is the kick off to the time of year that stores will either make their profits for the year or not and show black ink instead of red for a loss.

Then, of course, there is Cyber Monday, when all the Internet sites run their specials, trying to gobble up all the people that didn’t want to stray out of their homes into the cold weather at ridiculous times and shop. This way, customers can sit in front of their computers in their nice, warm homes and shop in their underwear if they want to and get bargains. I am a big fan of shopping in underwear. It really is quite comfortable.

My favourite shopper is the one that trolls websites for a bargain, and then hits a physical store to see if they can bargain for a better price. It doesn’t matter if they’ll save a dollar or a hundred dollars. What matters is the sheer thrill of trying to get an extra discount.

My family has never shopped that way. If we want something, we will of course sniff out the best price, and then buy it. We don’t have to wait until the holiday season to get something we want.

About 5 or 6 years ago when the Nintendo Wii was in hot demand, I bought it in May to give to my kids in December. I hid it in the attic with all the accessories I bought as well, and wrapped them when no one was around. I didn’t even tell my wife that I had bought it, and that made the surprise even better.

Imagine the surprised looks, on the faces of all the children, when all these mysterious boxes appeared, and they got the hottest toy of the year, along with lots of cool games. They were excited to say the least, and couldn’t wait for me to hook it up to the TV.

Now, we hardly play with it. I think it’s due to boredom, and lack of time. I also haven’t bought any new games in a long time either. The girls have more studying to do for school, and I have work to do around the house, work on my website and write this column.

My advice, to all you shopaholics, is to shop until you drop and be nice to all the sales associates you met in the next few weeks. They may be the only ones that can help you get those hot gifts you covet for your family and friends.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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