Somewhere on Staten Island, NY, post Sandy. ©DESIREE ARROYO
Every day, we go out and buy STUFF. It’s how we entertain ourselves— strolling the malls, poking around in clothing stores and home repair stores and home décor stores and grocery stores and book stores and craft stores and –well, I was going to say record stores, but that isn’t quite what they are anymore—and when push comes to shove, the dollar store or the corner market.
We shop. We acquire, we accumulate.
The stuff we own possesses us after a time.
We buy bigger houses with bonus rooms, or at least go rent a storage unit so we can keep all of our stuff. The stuff we buy attempts to announce our worth to the people who ring us out at the cash register, to the people who see us with it, and to the person we stare at in the mirror each morning while brushing our teeth.
We want MORE! Bigger, better, faster, cheaper. Stuff. THINGS.
I’ve written before about things. Actually for a while there I was writing about things, and getting rid of things ….but I digress. (because I have not succeeded; although I am more aware, I am not cured)
- Look around you.
- Take a look at that photo, above.
- How are you doing?
- Do you NEED anything more than the people you love surrounding you and laughter and memories made?
Remember, there are MANY who would be thrilled to have a home in which to have dinner this year.
Happy Thanksgiving. (And here, a smallish little rant-y kind of blog about shopping on this weekend from a few years back. Add to it Thanksgiving DAY shopping and those in food service. Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. )
I know this week is a short one at work for most. There are turkeys and stuffing and pies to think about, and the thought of 3 or 4 or 5 days away from your job; the myriad things you can do…shop, decorate, visit with friends and family. Laugh, relax. EAT.
So, I offer here just two things.
A Public Service Announcement; offered with the gentlest of smiles, and the sincerity of years on the other side. (At a job I ENJOY, and believe I am good at, thank you. Despite my little rants, I am a professional and expect the same from my staff at all times.)
Be KIND to the people you meet on Black Friday: The throngs of likeminded holiday shoppers who are determined in any way possible to make Christmas dreams come true. Think back to Thursday, when you sat, stuffed at the Thanksgiving table, and remember this….
It’s your day off. As was Thursday, as will be Saturday and Sunday. While you are scurrying about, trying to locate the best and brightest (and the cheapest) don’t take it out on the unfortunate other shopper who got to the parking space first. Park in “Outer Siberia” (the ring road around any mall) and walk, breath deeply, enjoy the briskness of the season, and worry not over getting the spot closest to the door. You will be liberated by this small lack of stress.
Recall this, as well. Chant it as a mantra if you must. “I do NOT need to buy everything TODAY.” You have 26 more days to find the perfect gift. (If you can’t find it in 26 days, is it possible you have over-thought or over-bought in years gone by? Let go, and go for less than perfect.)
And please, be aware that the poor harried cashier, stock boy, sales person, or even store manager is NOT personally out to get you, to ruin your day or you child’s holiday.
Generally speaking, it’s not their fault if the advertised item is out of stock by the time you got there. (They don’t hoard things, waiting for the saddest story, the most forlorn face, before they whip the item out from behind a curtain with a flourish. They want it sold. They had it, they sold it. Sorry.)
That there aren’t any more shopping carts is really not something they can control. If all the registers are running, the lines can’t really be blamed on the cashiers. (Possibly it’s the person she is with, who INSISTS that every item is on sale, and needs price checks?)
If all the registers are not up, it may be someone came down with the flu, or is helping someone in aisle 12, or is stuck trying to get into the parking lot (or possibly just needed a pee break.)
That a salesperson can not answer to your satisfaction questions (simplex or complex) that you pose about an item is more the product of Corporate not allowing enough and early hiring, or training to the level that the store management might prefer, and that the customer would prefer.
Your salesperson was likely hired a few weeks ago, at something close to minimum wage (currently $7.25 an hour… not enough to be thinking about buying most of what you have in your cart) and has no guarantee that her job will last more than the next thirty days. It may be her first job ever, it may be a second job so that she can buy Christmas gifts for her kids.
But, yes, she is happy for the job. (For that $7.25, how much rudeness and carrying on of shoppers could you put up with, still with an almost smile on your face?)
She arrived at work at 4:30 AM or is looking at the disaster of the sweater department with the sinking realization that she will not be leaving work until long after midnight.
Speak to a Corporate entity on Monday about the fact there weren’t more cashiers or sales people the floor, if you must. But know this. The store manager was given very stringent payroll that he or she MUST come in on. And to do that, they likely have worked and will work 6 or 7 day weeks till the new year.
Remember too, that these people gave up time with their family and friends on this holiday weekend so that on YOUR day off, you could shop.
I wish you the blessing of loved ones surrounding you, happy times, and many opportunities for you to look about you and realize all that you have to be thankful for.
Now, go EAT!
(What do you mean you haven’t STARTED your Christmas shopping yet??)
You do realize that this time next week, the stores will be crawling with holiday shoppers, that you are NO LONGER AHEAD of the game, that you can’t say, “Ah, yes, well, I’m finished already,” with that superior little smile of yours…
Its getting close now… the little ticker says 34 days.
You realize that you don’t have to spend lots of money to give personal gifts to friends and family alike. You know that special is better than expensive. Carefully thought out is better than load the shopping cart, one in every size for every name on you list.
What will you do with that knowledge? Are you making intelligent decisions, or will you find yourself trolling the hallways of the mall last minute, like last year?
I have a solution! And a reward for your sensible shopping! (It’s still BEFORE Black Friday, and you can keep crossing off those names!!)
A FREE GIVEAWAY! The TENTH (10th) person to order photographic prints from my website after this post is posted will receive a free 11×14 print from my site. Any image that you want; you can gift it or give it to yourself as a reward for finishing up that Christmas list!!
By the way, this IS a win/win situation, because whether you are #10 or not, you will have made some Christmas purchases!
Rules will be:
- Go to The View From the Passenger Window.
- Order something. Anything. (Everything, lol)
- I receive an email confirmation of your order.
- Based on the date/time stamp of the message, I will identify lucky #10!!!
Pass this message on!