• Jeff Fox: Another cherished tradition trashed

  • Some news is so stunning that it seems amazing to find it right there, in black and white, in the newspaper.

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  • Some news is so stunning that it seems amazing to find it right there, in black and white, in the newspaper.
    We have been led along, or so it seems, by the vast machinery of marketing and conventional wisdom, led to believe certain things.
    Drive a red car, and you’ll get more traffic tickets.
    Everything happens for a reason.
    Get up before dawn on the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ll save lots of money.
    Now the good folks at the Wall Street Journal have done the math on that last one, and – brace yourself – Black Friday might bring a few irresistible door-buster specials, but real bargain hunters will find the lowest prices at other times.
    This has to be jarring news – news probably best suppressed – for those who have spent a generation or so ginning up this cultural phenomenon of standing in line at irrational hours as if this were the Oklahoma land rush. Because if you subtract the part about saving money, what we have left is just the national pastime – shopping – at 3 a.m. Seems to kind of undercut the drama, doesn’t it?
    The Journal confirmed what savvy shoppers have figured out. Prices on some goods – jewelry and the hottest toys, for instance – tend to rise as the holidays near. Others, such as kitchen appliances, tend to fall.
    That means either buy that high-end watch in March and then, when December rolls around, try to remember where on Earth you put it for safekeeping, or just run out on Christmas Eve and buy your sweetie a nice mixer and matching bowls. It might help to have friends and relatives who are easy-going regarding these things.
    Of course, just about every parent has faced this scenario:
    1. Child has to, has to, has to have the latest XboxWiiDS-whatever. The rarer the better.
    2. Parents consult and for some reason judge this demand to be reasonable.
    3. Parents experience sticker shock.
    4. Parents foolishly leap to the conclusion that there has to be a better option, which involves one of them clicking through the entire Internet and the other burning half a tank of gas, trudging through store after store.
    5. “Guess who has you-know-what as a door-buster special? They open at 2 a.m.”
    I am not proud to say I have played variations of this game. I at least thought I was winning.
    Reach Jeff Fox at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_Fox.

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