Monday, November 28, 2011

Jonesing for a bargain


Sisiggy's Annual Commercialism Rant

Is it me or are this year's holiday commercials just a little too frenetic?

I've accepted the whole "commercialism" aspect of Christmas. I don't like it, but I accept that it is now so integral a  part of our economy that, if it were abolished, something equally or more distasteful would have to take its place, like baby factories or Soylent Green.

I also accept that, as the economy slides further and further, the holiday season takes on more and more significance to businesses trying to make up for a dismal year.

But does every commercial have to sound like everyone involved is on crack? Does every single symbol of the holiday have to appear in every single commercial (except, of course, the actual purpose of Christmas -- don't want to lose those valuable pluralistic dollars)? AND STOP SCREAMING AT ME!

The problem, as is the problem with most acts of desperation, is that rather than making me want to do something, they just strike me as sort of, well...sad. I feel like I'm witnessing an entire society having a nervous breakdown.

It saddened me that so many retailers opted to open at midnight on Black Friday, requiring their employees to leave their families on Thanksgiving Day. I'd hoped that people would just stay home and show that this was an idea that took one step too far.

Sadly, it worked. It wasn't enough to ruin Christmas -- now even Thanksgiving is tainted.

The thing that strikes me most is that every year there is more and more of a disparity between what I'm being sold -- not only the products, but the whole idea of Christmas frenzy in decorating, gift-giving and activity -- and what I truly want to get out of the holiday season. And I don't think I'm unique in my thinking.

Somehow, with millions of good people out of work (like us!), a reindeer sweater-clad blonde skipping maniacally down the aisle grabbing random stuff from displays without looking at what she's buying, not thinking twice about pilfering from someone else's shopping cart*, seems downright obscene.

And before you hop on me about how all this "commercialism" is going to pull us out of an economic slump and suddenly put everyone back to work, I'll have to beg your pardon. After they've squeezed every last dollar out of us over the holiday season, Walmart will lay off all those extras employees and offer their same crappy service; the extra money will not be used to bring out-sourced jobs back to the United States; it will not provide workers with the proper benefits so they no longer have to rely on social services.

By this time we should all know what it will do: more money for retailers only means a handful of executives will get a bigger bonus.

Which, I suppose, puts into perspective the commercial featuring a Lexus in the driveway with a bow on it.

*This aspect of the commercial I'm speaking of -- I think it was Kohl's -- seems to bother a lot of people. Me? Not so much. I figure it's expected behavior given the entire motif of the ad.

No comments: