Sunday, December 18, 2011

Random Thoughts on Shopping at Christmas Time

Have you looked at the faces of the people in the checkout lines? They are not smiling and happy; if anything they just seem disgusted.

Speaking of stores and shopping, the current female dress of tights and striped socks and other apparel reminds me of the fashion the women that would stand outside the People Drugs Store in Washington DC in the 1970’s. By dress you could tell they were hookers so why do today’s women want to dress like them?

I tend to frequent Thrift Stores and Flea markets due to my limited income and they may be the last places you can find American Made Goods (second hand). A number of these stores have outreach programs that provide assistance to people in need. To be at one of these stores on the day the charity is given out tears at your heart as there are so many of them. The number keeps growing regardless what our government says about unemployment. These are the people that our politicians have screwed over in their giving away of America, and still we return them to office so they can enjoy their perks, inflated pensions and police security to prevent them from being killed by the public.

We had a few gifts cards and rebate gift cards that we tried to use this Christmas. What a rip off. We found there were a number of service charges put on them – reducing the amount available to spend, some stores could not get them to work in their Point Of sale machine, other were expired, they are crap. We also have given them in the past but in the future we will give cash. The value of cash may decrease each year with the ineffective actions of our congress and President but at least I have never had it refused.

There are at least three things I see less and less of each year at Christmas time. One is Tinsel, that great clogger of vacuum cleaners. When people had a “real” tree they simply threw the tinsel away with the tree. Now since the majority of people have a “tree in a box” the tinsel has become too much of a problem to pick off when the tree is defrocked and stored, so there is less demand of tinsel.

Another item you don’t hear much of is “The Christmas Bonus”. Growing up in a time when there were many small stores and businesses the owners almost always gave a Christmas bonus. Now with "Big Box" stores and just general crappiness of companies they all plea hard times and give their employees nothing or maybe a cheap ass frozen turkey or a $20 gift card. They then turn around and award their executives with multimillion dollars bonus.

A third thing is liquor. In the 1950’s and up thru the 1970’s I remember businesses gave liquor at Christmas by the case load. I remember working for a small construction company in the 1970’s and the company gave bottles and cases of liquor away to everyone from the local police department, to customers, to town and state officials and to employees. You can view it as bad or good but it certainly kept the Lower Shore Counties’ liquor dispensaries in full time business at Christmas.

I average about three to four cartloads of items a week this time of year that I simply leave standing in the floor of the store and I leave because the checkout line is so long and screwed up (probably people trying to get their gift card to work). Maybe it is a Man thing or maybe because I am retired I know I am not limited in shopping time - only money. Michaels is one of the worst, with Kohl's a close second. I will say I was in Kohl's on Friday and apparently the upper management was down inspecting so everyone was helpful for a change and the checkout lines were working at an acceptable pace. I have been in Kohl's and stood in line while the cashiers talked to one another while a line of four or five people stood there waiting. I was not one of those people of course because I had tossed my Chinese made crap on the floor and left.

Christmas shopping was easier when I was single - just race into a drugstore on Christmas Eve and say "Give me 12 of those Chia Pets and gift wrap them" Now days you can't find a drug store that gift wraps, but chia pets are still around.

1 comment:

Uncle Paul said...

You bring up some good points.

First; Tinsel.. Does it have any other use? What a waste of money. The only Christmas deco item more wasteful was spray on SNOW. They may still make that potential bomb building agent.

Bonus pay.. this started to evaporate in the 80's. And, in a big part because of Unions. They ruled that if a business was handing out a bonus, everyone had to get one. Not every biz could afford that.. so, what's the alternative? No more Bone Us..

Liquor as gifts became a problem around the same time. That's when our "I'll sue your ass" society was beginning to raise it's ugly head. Just think of the possibilities.. That car accident (last week) wouldn't have happened if Howard hadn't slipped me that bottle of Ol' Grand Dad for Christmas, so I'll sue Howard.

I know Howard has all the money (just from what he saves on tips at the Delmar Diner).