Let me start off by first saying I am not a shopper. As my roommates and my mother will attest, shopping is not my forte. I can’t make decisions, and getting money to leave my pocket for anything is generally an exercise in hostage negotiation. However, this weekend after returning home from Milwaukee late Saturday night, I was surprised to notice the next morning that my car had been tended to by the local gypsies who helped themselves to their pick of my things, including the all-holy iPod that was left in the center console. Lost and confused without my song library at my fingertips, I immediately hit the Internet to try to figure out the most prudent way to re-gain my mobile audio adventures. Little did I know where this foray into online consumerism would take me.
Being such a self-described poor shopper, I was just barely aware at the behemoth Capitalism push that has become known as Cyber Monday. Simply a way to get Americans to waste the paychecks they received a few days before, Cyber Monday may be the worst, best thing ever.
I dipped my toe into the waters of the “deals” that are unveiled around the first post-Thanksgiving Monday by innocently searching for “Deals on iPods” which alerted me to about 1000 different sales on everything from an iPod touch to a jogger’s armband. Not sure what was legit and what was a penny stock scam, I opted for the most noteworthy of the search results and headed to Amazon, where I found out that Apple doesn’t participate in Cyber Monday, Black Friday or any sort of consumer holiday that means a break in price or profit. For this reason, I found myself staring down a $250 price tag to relinquish my jams.
A desperate Tweet around noon was my final goodbye to the world as I was sucked into Cyber Monday deal at sites like Nice Kicks, Bucketfeet, Mishka, IllRoots, JackThreads, and more boasting savings of 70-90%. By this point, it was official: what had started as an investigation into iPod prices had left me stranded in the wide sea of online retail around the holidays. Friends sent me sales, my mother sent me sales, it seemed as though all anyone was worried about was how to shave some dollars off that new Kindle or get the latest gadget or fashion item on the low. As I wallowed from one to the next, desperately leaning on my right side to keep myself from grabbing at my wallet for my card that accessed my abused bank account, I realized just how disgusting this holiday shopping season has gotten.
While I’m all for cheap things, there is a certain anxiety that comes with trying to get the best deal on something, a certain anxiety I, as a non-shopper, am not accustomed to, and which I can assume is to blame for the majority of the turkey and stuffing-filled stampedes that enter stores every year at the brink of midnight. While Cyber Monday may come without all the broken bones and bruised egos that come with Black Friday, it is an interesting beast, best akin to a Hallmark holiday like “The Sweetest Day,” a corporate celebration that is a cause to do what? Spend money.
For my part, no money was ultimately spent. While Cyber Monday deals are exciting and, at times, too good to be true, it simply became too much at once for me, the ploy backfiring on the big guys upstairs. While we can process more today and through the Internet than we ever could have a generation ago, throwing a million sales at people may not be the best way to go about it. So, after logging on to the ‘net around 9 AM, it is now almost a full day later and my iPod dock is still empty. Cyber Monday covers a lot, but still comes up a bit short in my book.