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Monday, November 23, 2015

Shop Right America!


We are coming into our annual shopping season which traditionally begins with Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when U.S. retailers sound the bell and Americans respond like Pavlov’s Dog. However, many outlets begin Black Friday early this year knowing gullible shoppers would react accordingly.

Why not have Black Friday every week and offer fake non-savings year-round? I’m not writing in this spot to make fun (as easy as that would be) of shoppers that will obediently queue in line this Friday at four a.m. to get deals they realistically could have gotten three days earlier or a week later.

Au contraire, I give these Pavlovians credit because they are the steadfast dinosaurs who still do their shopping by going to stores just like I did in my day, connecting through three buses and long miles away just to reach the nearest mall. Imagine that! Now days, more and more people do their entire spate of holiday shopping entirely online. Tap tap tap tap, fill in the credit card, and done!

Why get out and partake in holiday festivities and enjoy the camaraderie of actual human interaction when you can hermitize yourself like a serial killer or the Unibomber and shop soullessly? Better yet, have your purchases parachuted on your porch via drones to avoid even a cursory exchange with the UPS or FedEx guy.

Non-human shopping is all the rage.

Before I had true disposable income, I would visit the local Pizza Hut or call a local favorite to have some cheesy goodness delivered. But now you bypass even talking on the phone. You go to an app, click on a little pizza emoji. I bet for an additional charge your delivery guy will even drop it on your doorstep if you leave the cash under the doormat.

My favorite part of the week is a Sunday morning spent leisurely sauntering through my local Vons (Safeway for 90% of you outside of Los Angeles) kibitzing with employees and strolling through every aisle in a serpentine manner. Vons has taken to playing sixties, seventies and eighties music through its public address system.

(Don’t laugh, I used to be the guy who picked the music back in the day for the pool company and its 400 plus stores across the country. It’s harder than it seems!)

I try to match up song and product, nodding to Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” while juggling cans of Progresso’s Italian Wedding soup. This is an experience missed when you use Amazon’s Fresh and Pantry services, which deliver groceries right to you without (sadly) having to answer your door.

Shopping doesn’t mean just spending money. It should be an exercise in human interaction. Get out from the sterile spell of your computer. Venture into a store. Have a conversation that involves actual speaking and not texting. Enjoy the intoxicating early morning crisp air that goes hand-in-hand with waiting in near freezing temperatures counting down to that magical shopping hour. Be with others like you’ the real consumers who made America great. Not the lazy onliners who first killed Roebuck and now are going after going after Sears too, all to save a buck on gas.

Shop right America!