This article recently published on the site Quartz talks about how Christmas for adults is more like a chore. Instead of fulfilling its rich normative goals about togetherness and solidarity with the family it is more about receiving gifts.
Flanagian notes aptly that gainfully employed adults often buy the things that they want when they want them. This makes buying for them more aggravating than a Vodka-fueled night of Clue.
“Nevertheless, we partake in the grand charade every year. Unwanted gifts are exchanged, Academy Award-worthy shows of thanks are displayed,”
Instead of trying to navigate the byzantine layers of people’s desires to get gifts, the author exchanged goofy gifts with his sister to make the holiday about thinking “whats in the box”, with a goofy laugh, rather than a serious effort at intelligence gathering, which may or may not lead to happy results.
Pedal to the metal, the sticky 2-litre bottle of mountain dew precariously fitting in the already over-sized cup holder. A dragon waking roar comes out of the F-350 with a small press of the gas. Dip spit splats on the ground as the made-in-America F-350 navigate a road so slim that it looks native to Europe. On the side of the road, a spandex clad person pedals his way down the street. Oncoming traffic makes it impossible to pass the cyclist safely, the fifty-something year old, lets out a primal growl.
“I would run over those damn bike jockeys if the president wouldn’t throw me in jail over it!”
As soon as there is a clearing, the F-350 kicks up a gear, the bear of a truck roars, RPMs soar like the US deficit. The F-350 escapes from the close encounter with the cyclist.
The Story of Stuff
Annie Leonard, Free Press, 2010
Annie Leonard would probably be happy to hear that I bought her book at a thrift shop for a couple dollars. This book takes us through the killing floor of our modern economy, by looking at extraction, distribution, our consumerist tendencies that make this revolving door of extraction and production possible, then she ends off by looking at disposal and giving us a few ideas for alternative modes of living.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, now squarely in the rearview mirror, how did the merchant class do?
Well, reportedly retailer sales dropped 10 percent to 10.4 billion from 11.2 billion from 2014.
Are people realizing how ridiculous this faux-shopping holiday is? No, not really, instead of rushing to stores , people are now just buying online. There was an uptick of 14.3 percent of online sales. So in an overall sense there is growth.
That’s not the only reason why sales were soggy this year, retailers have extended this faux-holiday to a whole week, diluting the number of would-be shoppers by offering “sales” all week.
In other news, the FBI received a huge amount of background check requests, which means a lot of sales for gun sellers. The surge in sales seems to be related to recent shootings.
The Wal-Mart Effect
Charles Fishman, Penguin Books 2006
This book will stand as a testament to the past glory of Wal-Mart’s hegemonic retail power. While Wal-mart hasn’t been relegated to the dust bin of retail history, the spectre of Sam Walton’s mega business still haunts sleepy towns and recessed villages with the looming threat of roll-back prices.
But even if the headlines heralding the decline of Wal-Mart are to be trusted, the impact that Wal-Mart has had on the retail scene have been many, these impacts are the Wal-Mart effect.