Monday, November 22, 2010

Stores are Such Dorks

My friend Home School Dad had an interesting article recently about stores and their perception of when holidays occur, as well as their importance. It got me thinking. You know what happens when I think.

This time of year, anxious to bring customers in, stores resemble a desperate teenager, full of drama and ready to date the first person who asks. The problem is that desperate isn't pretty. Desperate people tend to embarrass themselves. And when they do get a date, they can't understand why they end up with losers with no loyalty. That sounds harsh, but consider our stores this time of year.

When I was a kid (and yes, I know I sound ancient using that phrase), we used to spend Thanksgiving with family. We would watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade without even noticing it was a giant ad for the department store. They were so nice, they offered all this entertainment, giant balloons and marching bands, and left you all warm and fuzzy before you sat down to give thanks and enjoy a huge dinner. After dinner, you either watched football, or if you were in my family you watched the lineup of giant ape movies. Mighty Joe Young always came on first, so I've never seen the beginning of it because it overlapped with our meal or traveling to relatives. King Kong followed. I remember these not so much for the movies, but for the Toys R Us jingle every time a commercial came on.

I don't wanna grow up!
I'm a Toys R Us kid!
They have a million toys in store
You'll really flip your lid!
From bikes to trains to video games
They're the biggest toy store there is!
Gee whiz!
I don't wanna grow up
Cause baby if I did
I couldn't be a Toys R Us kid!

Sad isn't it? That was from memory. But that's my point. Back then, stores used Thanksgiving for not-so-subliminal advertising while people were sedated from turkey. These days, many stores are open on Thanksgiving. They can't even wait one day to start the holiday shopping madness. Desperate!

And then it got worse. Not only did they try to entice you to leave the comfort of home on Thanksgiving, they also wanted you to get out before Thanksgiving! Shop til you drop! Doorbuster sales! Lower than Black Friday prices! Desperate!

I am not saying stores shouldn't entice you to spend. They have stuff, and we need stuff. Maybe not as much as the stores think we need, but still, it's a symbiotic relationship. My issue is with the desperate tactics. Because this is a case of the desperate preying on the desperate. Stores play upon our desperate need to find a bargain. Think about it. Do you really need to get up at 5am because a TV or video game is 70% off? Do you really want to risk getting into fights with other customers or getting trampled to death in sale-fevered crowds? And all this for a store that isn't thankful enough for its customers and employees, it needs to open on Thanksgiving?


Vicki said...

Bwhahahahaha!!! I WON!! (related to gaining comment access!))

A most excellent post! I've only found myself shopping on two Black Fridays in all my forty-seven years. Once when a neice had just been born so we stopped at the mall on the way to the hospital. That was enough to prevent Black Friday shopping ever again.

Then later in life, while working the evening shift, I made the mistake of reading the "Black Friday" specials. Since I was already leaving work at midnight, I figured I'd swing by Best Buy and see just how long the line was. It wasn't long at all, so I ran home and grabbed Caylee and we went and waited for the 4am opening to buy our first laptops. We got free Geek Squad Tee shirts and a show from them while we waited. =)

That is probably still the ONLY Black Friday line I would ever bother to wait in. Nothing on my list this year that they carry, so not this year.

There is a couple that set up camp outside an Orlando Best Buy (I think Orlando) a week early this year, so Best buy awarded them for their dedication with TWO FREE IPads already!! James did the math and figured even if you knew you would gain the free IPads, it wouldn't be worth missing work for.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Arby said...

I don't do black Friday and I won't shop on Thanksgiving. The Boss is heading out for a midnight sale. She's crazy. I'll take sitting at home watching football in a food coma, thank you very much!

call*me*kate said...

No only do I (blush) totally remember that Toys R Us ad (remember Geoffry(?) the Giraffe?) but the jingle that really goes through my head this time of year is the one for BankAmericard (Bank of America's original charge card). Sing this to the tune of Jingle Bells.
"Christmas treats, Things to eat, BankAmericard;
Choo-choo trains, Rides on planes, BankAmericard;
Shoes and socks, Cuckoo clocks, BankAmericard;
Something something, something something, BankAmericard.
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, BANKAMERICARD!!

Aren't you glad I shared that? Makes me crazy that I've forgotten that 4th line - I'd like to at least remember it completely! As far as Black Friday goes, only once did I venture into our local Fred Meyer store (owned by Kroger which comes from New York, I believe) and apparently it's their huge sock sale that has everyone in a twitter. Who knew? I have never made that mistake again. However, it's tradition for me to head over to our local toy store that opens at 6:00 a.m. I get there anywhere from 6:30-10:00, whenever I get up. I have supported this store since they opened 15 years ago and will continue until my kids are too big for it. But I have a motive - it gets me out of having to have breakfast at my in-laws on Friday morning! They host Thanksgiving and, frankly, one day there with all the family is enough for me! Todd is working the entire 4 day weekend but we are used to that. Anyway - Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!
- Kate

Inner Elder said...

Just the thought of Black Friday gives me a panic attack. Maybe the new technology of online shopping isn't such a bad idea. Love your desperation analogy - ready to date the first person who asks. Love, Mom
PS Speaking of shopping, did you pick out the boots you want for your birthday?

Eat, Fart and Bark said...

Awe the Macy's Parade. I remember it just like you said. Morning parade, large meal then football.
The Hubby and boys 'say' they are going out at 4a.m. for a sale. But I'm not waking for it, and I'll bet they don't either. Christmas decorations are now in the stores before Halloween. They even had Halloween eggnog where I work.

call*me*kate said...

I forgot to answer your question about the Careers game (you were waiting with baited breath, weren't you?) I, unfortunately, do not have my original Careers game that I got when I was 12. I left it at my Mom's when I moved out, then various nieces and nephews played with it and I don't know what became of it. So I bought a new version for my kids but I miss my old game. But good for you to still have yours!! If only life was so easy to play!

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