Have a Festive SeaKwaHoliChrisKkah (Now Go Forth and Shop!)

Two years ago, I was full of a lot of stuff..

Yer right…not much has changed…

And I put out this post.

Because this is the Wednesday before the ‘official’ Holiday Shopping kickoff known as Black Friday – I thought a little PSA from 2 years ago was appropriate.

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Shop-zilla copy

Shop-zilla in its natural habitat

No matter what you call this month-plus of celebratory gluttony, your original reason for the recognition of this special day/week/month has been out-sung by one Goliath with deeper pockets and blood ties to Big Advert:  the retail industry.  In fact, Shop-zilla’s demands (to go forth, spend a lot of money on useless crap your friends, family and/or co-workers don’t really need, in order to receive the same said back) have over-ridden any other (read:  petty, in Shop-zilla speak) considerations for this last month of the Gregorian Calendar Year.

Shop-zilla will go on to implore you to not forget the gift receipts, so all that stuff can go BACK to the store and exchanged for the cash that it has spent a lot of time and effort to make the average consumer consider gauche to give in the first place.

Shop-zilla is not completely heartless, though – it did work on a very positive PR campaign for gift cards in lieu of cash, to the tune of ringing cash registers everywhere, a few years back.  It was considered a claws-down success.

After-Holiday sales are just as crucial as the before-Holiday ones for feeding Shop-zilla.

I want to personally remind you to wish everyone the Happiest, Merriest, and most awesome-ist of this special celebratory time while fighting over that close-to-the-door parking space, or the only remaining in stock item of the electronic gizmo-of-the-year.

The sad part of this celebratory season are the number of people lately taking egregious offense at someone wishing them THEIR version of this special season’s well-wishes, instead of the ‘offendee’s’ own, which they make no effort to disclose prior to that chance-meeting out in public.

I saw a news article (well…someone called it news) on a woman who was so incensed over a cashier wishing them “Happy Holidays!” instead of ‘Merry Christmas!,’ that a fisticuffs broke out.

I really wish I was making this up!

I have a special left of reality solution for this rampant “I’m so keyed up I need to take offense at semantics” issue.  Three solutions, actually, which I am prepared to share with the world – completely, totally, and absolutely free of charge.

 

Shop-zilla comment

 

 

“Free?????” howls Shop-zilla…

 

 

 

Idea #1

If you wish to have the greeting of your choice uttered within earshot -and specifically TO you- by perfect strangers in the midst of the busiest shopping event of the year – you must have said greeting tattooed on your forehead.  This must be in plain sight, and not hidden by any caps, scarves, or hair.  The largest font available to fit your forehead is recommended.  I would suggest the color scheme be composed of glaringly-clashing hues, to further heighten visibility.

Not into ink?  An alternate would be to wear a banner, a beanie, a ball cap, or another brightly-colored and easy-to-read article of apparel that is, again, in plain sight.  LED lights should be stitched into the fabric and set on a high rate of flash, to really draw the eyes of everyone.  The goal here is:  You HAVE to let the world – every single random stranger you could possibly meet – know exactly what your preferred greeting IS.

I would also suggest multiple languages be considered, just in case someone you come across does not speak your native tongue.

This should hold humanity over until a proper virus that imparts telepathy to the population can be developed and released.

Idea #2

Alternately – how about we switch the official greeting of this celebratory season to what it REALLY is in the eyes of the world:  “Go Forth and Shop.”  This, if you haven’t already guessed, is Shop-zilla’s favorite…

I can see it already:

new Season's Greetings

Simple.  Logical.  Perfect.  And highly recommended by four out of five Social Programming Specialists.  Fisticuffs, ambulance rides, and ER visits REALLY get in the way of holiday over-spending.

Idea #3

We all, as a species, learn to accept well-wishing greetings in the spirit they are given, rather than focusing on (and getting pissed over) minute differences in culture.

Yea…you’re right…#3 will never work…

Now…Go Forth and Shop, everyone!  Shop-zilla is counting on you!

 

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Auto-Obsessions

Someone took my license plate literally

Everyone loves the feel, the handling, the smell, and the looks of a brand new car.  I had the opportunity to rent just such a noble steed a couple of years ago when I was between vehicles (never saw the guy coming and he totaled my car…) and it was amazing.

The thing had 25 miles on it when I drove it off the lot.  It smelled wonderful – new plastic and fabric and cleaning products, with no hints of body sweat, emissions, or bad drive-through food.  It had a full options package, and it flowed down the road like a dreamy flying carpet (albeit with less wind).  It glistened in any available light like a bright red shiny Christmas bauble.

In short – it did it’s best to try to seduce me to the dark side.  If there had been cookies, this might be a different story…

It was kinda sad to return it to the rental place and start driving the 13 year old, dull white (but very serviceable) Mitz I’d selected based on consumer reviews and what the insurance company was willing to pay…But I was mobile, alive, unharmed, and didn’t go into mountains of debt to be so.

I have a decidedly un-Murikan! view on debt – less is miles ahead of more.

Some people aren’t so resilient (OK…I’ll say it…bullheaded) – and get sucked into the black hole of “New Mania” – seduced into buying a new car every 2 years or so – building their debt to the point where they canNOT imagine life without an increasingly large car payment.

Granted, they leave their ‘nothing wrong with it’ trade ins on used car lots sprinkled across every nook & cranny on the globe for the more sensible of us to pick through when we need transportation – but what happened to buying a quality product, and then utilizing it throughout it’s usable life?

Consumerism really irritates me sometimes…

Next, let’s talk about the Government involvement in the automobile industry.  I’ve been racking my brain for days trying (and failing) to come up with a bigger tax scam.  It’s a HUGE revenue builder for the states.  Every time that automobile changes hands, the state gets to collect sales tax.  They get to charge licensing fees.  They get to charge clean-air fees.  I’m sure there are other fees and dues I don’t have to pay, as every state plays by a different set of tax laws.

Every.  Single.  Time.

There isn’t another common consumer good out there following this scheme. I can go out and buy a recovered bicycle from a police auction, and ride it all over the roads without attracting the attention of the tax man.

I can buy a couch, a bed, a lamp, clothing, jewelry, dishes, yadda… at a rummage sale and not have to offer up sales taxes.

I can buy baked goods in a Church Basement and nosh away without any additional cash required before that first sugary-sweet bite.

Sometimes, I get to barter with only goods changing hands while the tax man froths in impotent rage.

This is about as ‘open’ as a house can get…

But Motorized transportation?  Every Single Sale – public or private – HAS to be recorded, reported, taxes and fees collected.  And if the end-user doesn’t want to pony up them dollars, that shiny new toy becomes nothing more exotic than the world’s largest paperweight…with bucket seats.

I wouldn’t recommend parking a Buick on your desk, however…

Why, you may ask, am I grousing about the automobile industry?

I bought the White Wonder around 2 years ago, and there’s nothing wrong with it.  The Mitz is a very dependable little set of wheels, and has given me no trouble outside of requiring new tires and regular oil changes.  As long as I keep up on the maintenance, it should provide the same dependable service for years yet.  I haven’t fallen to the dark side of consumerism (no cookies have been offered…) and I’m not tired of the car.

Unfortunately, I find myself in need of a second car because the kids’ car has croaked out its last exhaust-laden breath.

Graveside Services are Next Tuesday

Seeing though I’m the one that can afford a car…finance a car…and add a second car to my insurance to drop the policy rates on both cars…I’m the one who has to buy the second car.

So the kids are going to give me what they can for the Mitz – and it will be their car even though the paperwork lists it as mine.

Family ties can still trump the tax man 😛

So I’m off to find me a different set of wheels.  I shall gird my loins for this dawning test of fortitude upon the battlefield of the used car lot.  My opponent – the trickster and his brethren – welcome me into their hazard-filled arena.

HearseWhat atrocities shall I behold?  What weapons shall they employ?  And what wonders shall be paraded before my left-seeing eyes?

I really hope the last guy who sold me a car is doing better.  Just last week, he got to weave a basket…