Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Seven: Santa Claus – The Ultimate Hustler

The things we do for Santa.

So, it’s once again the most wonderful time of the year. The time where people get up and go out to make it to the stores to get gifts for the ultimate holiday. The time where yuletide, wrapping paper, and plastic reindeer are bountiful and high school Christmas concerts seem to happen every day somewhere. If only the masses are actually sane about making deals, this holiday wouldn’t be the mockery of itself that it’s turned into.

Two days ago passed another year of the craziest, zaniest, absolutely insane day of the shopping year: Black Friday. Over recent years, it’s become a holiday seemingly as big as Thanksgiving itself. On this day, to ensure that the stories get all the money that’s out there from the public, they throw bargain-basement deals on the newest toys, markdowns of near 75% on clothes, and open stories in the wee hours of mornings.

So, this seems like a great thing, right? I mean, stores gotta make money, people need gifts for the holiday, the economy needs a boost, right? Right??

Alas, once again, we’ve fallen prey to the philosophy of “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Camping out at a store to open at 3 AM on this Friday seems crazy enough, but people starting their camp-out on the Wednesday before, and effectively missing Thanksgiving itself for a few trinkets is selfish, to the point where it devalues the true meaning of the holiday season. Every year, stores open their doors on Black Friday to huddled masses of humanity who race to their favorite departs in frenzies, trampling anyone who isn’t quick enough to keep up; be they man, woman, boy, girl, fish or foul. Fights ensue over the last Tickle-Me Elmo doll or the last Rock band drum set. Troopers having to stop near riots over line-jumpers, parking disputes, and of course, shop-lifters and pick-pockets.

So, what is it about this season that makes normally rational people so……irrational?

Is it the satisfaction of watching someone’s face light up on Christmas, knowing you got their number one gift? Or the wonderous feeling that they absolutely would die if they didn’t get a new Blackberry this year? Look, I like Christmas as much as the next guy, but the true spirit of the holiday season has since taken a major backseat to whomever can get the best toy/car/diamond earring, and we once again have become slaves to retail at a time where you’d think the essence of family would be emphasised the most.

Santa knows this. The Santas of the world have brainwashed us with their ho-ho-hypnotism to get me to believe if my phone can’t buy me Jay-Z tickets or if my TV can’t show me the NFL playoffs in 1080 HD, then I’ve been a bad person.

It just makes me laugh – and frown – when people put more emphasis on things that will be obsolete by Valentine’s Day than the real reason for this time of the year. I just hope someone can remember this before they knock over a soccer mom for the last blue video iPod in Best Buy.

11/29/2009

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