Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Machine Has Started

The great machine of the Christmas Shopping season has started.  I knew this was so on Thanksgiving Day when my girlfriend’s sister said that she was going to get up the next morning at 3:00am (3:00am!) to start shopping Black Friday.

Of course you know what this is; the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, is considered the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States because it’s the day when most of the stores slash their prices in half, and open their doors early in the morning to start the Christmas shopping season off with a bang.

But I don’t see how this day could be the busiest day of the shopping season.  Only early-birds shop on this day, and I mean early birds, not in waking up early, but in the sense that there are those people who actually get themselves organized enough to shop ahead of time.  But I don’t think is the norm.

I’m specifically thinking of those days just prior to Christmas when guys like me are in fight or flight mode, trying to get done in a day and a half, what we should have weeks before. For me, this 36-hour period almost always involves a couple of trips to one of the local malls’ department stores.  Usually the second trip is to go back for gifts I forgot all about on the first trip. 

It’s actually kind of fun….KIND of fun, among all of the insanity and fury.  The things I do enjoy seeing are people dressed up in their winter clothes, really focused on their tasks (no time to waste during this period).  I always see lots people trying to figure out what certain gadgets do with puzzled looks on their faces which makes me laugh.  There’s lots of food, holiday décor, and usually good cheer inside the stores.  The lines into the parking lots are another story.

My last minute shopping will also involve a visit to Best Buy since they have a lot of guy stuff like movies, games and electronics.  Fry’s is usually just too insane and complicated to go into during the holidays.

I thought this year would not be such a big shopping bang given how the job market is still dragging.  Yet, today, which was my first day of shopping, my girlfriend and I went to take care of a very simple task; Christmas cards.  It went rather well.  We customized some just for family members since we are out of money.  But still, the whole affair took about three hours when all was said and done.

However, what I noticed in our rounds to Michaels, Target, Staples, and Marshall’s (see, we’re shopping cheap this year) was that people were really out and about today; we could barley move inside Michaels, the art supply store.  Maybe this means that people are making their own stuff this year like we are with our greeting cards.

I saw a man and woman come out of Target with two baskets so full of stuff, presumably gifts, that I had to re-think my sense of our economic condition.  Everywhere we went was busy.  The parking lots were full and we had to walk a good, long way to each store we visited.

So, perhaps this is a sign???... I hope so.