The Madness Has Begun, and for Some, it’s Heaven

Well, it’s over. Thanksgiving 2005 is gone, finished, out of
here. We’ve eaten the turkey. We’ve stuffed ourselves silly on
mashed potatoes and yams. We’ve told others what we are thankful
for. We’ve seen the bowl games; we’ve watched the parades.
Well, it’s over. Thanksgiving 2005 is gone, finished, out of here. We’ve eaten the turkey. We’ve stuffed ourselves silly on mashed potatoes and yams. We’ve told others what we are thankful for. We’ve seen the bowl games; we’ve watched the parades.

And now the real holiday begins.

You didn’t think Thanksgiving was the real reason we take four days off, did you? No way. The real holiday is this weekend. That turkey-day thing is just a smokescreen. Yes, indeed, today is National Shop ’til You Drop Weekend.

That’s right. Beginning yesterday morning, Americans from sea to shining sea storm the nearest mall. They are armed with that most basic shopping device: a credit card with a high limit and a low balance. Sure, that other day has turkey and stuffing, but National Shop ’til You Drop Weekend has shopping. Please. What’s not to love about a day devoted entirely to my favorite sport?

Yes, there are drawbacks. The crowds. The parking problems. And that woman next to you who just grabbed that really cute purple sweater out of your hands before you had a chance to decide if it would look good on you or not. But who cares? The point of my favorite holiday is to shop until your credit card is rejected or you collapse in the middle of the shoe department.

It’s the perfect holiday.

OK, maybe there are other fun holidays. Like Halloween. Or Labor Day. Or Christmas. But give me a

good shopping holiday any time. Nothing can compare to waking up early on Friday morning just to be at the mall by 6am for the early-bird specials. It’s wonderful. Standing with other celebrants, waiting for the mall doors to open. Comparing lists. Analyzing your budget. Mapping out your mall strategy. All while sipping a latte in some frozen, car-filled parking lot and watching the sun rise.

It’s heaven.

And once those doors open, it’s like Shangri-la. Utopia. Laid out before me are gleaming racks of shoes and sweaters and coats and useless knickknacks that I can buy for people who have everything. And the sales – oh, the sales. I just love the smell of a good mark-down in the morning.

Have I mentioned that it’s heaven?

OK, maybe it’s not perfect. I mean, not everyone who celebrates National Shop ’til You Drop Weekend is prepared for it. There are some amateurs out there. That can ruin this otherwise wonderful holiday. I know it’s difficult to imagine, but there are people out there, charging away on credit cards without adequate credit limits.

Shocking, isn’t it? I mean, what kind of person shops without knowing their preset spending limit? Just standing in line behind the poor fool pleading with the salesperson not to cut up their credit card is a nightmare. You can waste precious moments of celebration – not to mention sales that end in the first two hours of prime shopping time – just by having the bad luck to get in line behind an inexperienced, unprepared shopper.

And then there are the shoppers who have, well, overindulged. They’re weighted down by bags and can hardly move through the aisles. It’s obvious they aren’t following current recommendations and bringing along a designated bagger. A designated bagger holds all your purchases, so you can flip through the racks without hitting other shoppers in the head with your bulging bags.

So please. Do yourself and everyone else a favor. Shop wisely. Train well. Use a designated bagger. And call the credit card company ahead of time to increase your credit limit.

Let the shopping begin.

On a personal note, as a former foster parent, I urge you to remember that there are hundreds of children in South County who will go without a Christmas gift this year. Find a giving tree. Pick a note. Play Santa for a child who needs to know that the magic of the season hasn’t deserted him or her.

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