Posted by: Peadar Ban | December 11, 2008

Merry? Christmas?

I get the occasional e-mail from Border’s Books telling me of all the great stuff they have going on there, and how I can save big bucks by spending everything I’ll ever have on the stuff I never knew I needed but just can’t live without.

Well, last week they told me they’d give me 25% off of everything in the store.  Two days ago they told me they’d give me 30% off.  A minute or so ago, the e-mail said that I’d get 50% off.

It’s December 11th, and the joint is going into panic mode.

Now, most of the books I get, I get at second hand stores.  But, I am waiting.  Delicious as it looks, they haven’t come down far enough, yet.  Perhaps, some day next week maybe, Border’s Books e-mails me with the news that if I show up, they’ll give me any book I want for a dime and throw in an Escalade and a first class airline trip to an almost totally unoccupied hotel in Acupulco.

Anybody get the feeling that for forty or so years we’ve been told we oughta buy and use stuff we don’t need at prices we shouldn’t pay, and now, the light’s going on?  I mean, how many Jaqueline Suzanne novels can one stomach?  How much Beaujolais nouveau is necessary?  Does Grandma look as cute as she thinks she does with her Botox engorged lips?  Does Grand Pa?  Who cares, really, if all of the pituitary giant steroid pumped millionaire thugs on the home team beat the other ones from the other side of the country?  Does it need to be watched on the 1,000 inch flat screen wall mounted surround sounded home theater and entertainment center you copped at a steal for only two large at the nearby MEGA-MUSIC AND NOISE outlet? Does it need to be watched at all? Will you and the boys end your lives without that golf trip to Tierra del Fuego?  And will that  matter in the long run if you do; if you crunch along the pampas knocking golf balls off of penguins, teeing off on a walruses back?

Walking through JC Penney’s on my way to work last night, I noticed that the place was nearly empty.  I further noticed that everything…everything…was on sale.  Now, on a daily basis, Penney’s had had sale signs on most items for most of the year; stuff like ten percent off, and like that.  Marketing babble, foostering, picking your pocket.  This is different.  The discounts are beyond the 50% range, and there has been no pre-Christmas mark-up.  I know since I wander through the place regularly.

These guys are getting to the level of the after-market prices, the TJ Maxx and Warehouse guys who’ll sell you the products of the slave labor Indonesian manufacturers at close to what it’s really worth.  They still make a profit, or the doors wouldn’t be open.

I say thank God.

I look someday for a store to be just that, a plain old store, and not an “experience” bordering on the mystical.  There’s a place not far from Penney’s in this mall, all done up like a tropical hut.  Sounds and  smells, pictures and music…and clothes.  What, exactly is being sold there?  Cloth,for heaven’s sake, is what the price tags are on.  A shirt.  A pair of pants.  Gimme a break!  But that’s not what is being sold.

As my father, may he rest in peace, used often to say, “We are on the good ship Lollipop, 18 decks and no bottom.  Don’t put your feet down because there ain’t anything to put ’em on.”  For a fall down drunk, the fellow had a clue.  Perhaps that’s what turned him into a drunk.

Here’s a better idea than being a mall mooch.  Do your Christmas shopping at the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Shop or the Salvation Army.

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