Well, it's shopping season again. It started the day after Thanksgiving on "Black Friday," which is a lot like regular Friday except it gets pulled over more often by the cops. Some people wake up very early to fight for one of the five cheap copies of the newest electronic fad. Smash Brawl isn't just a popular Nintendo game, it's also what you have to do in order to get it on discount.
Black Friday has become a national tradition. But recently we've gotten "Cyber Monday," which sounds like something you really shouldn't do at work if you want to keep your job. (If you don't understand, ask your kids.) In fact, Cyber Monday is so people at work on Monday can buy all the things they failed to get on Friday by shopping online.
Personally, I did my Friday shopping online, because waking up early to go to a crowded store sounds like some sort of punishment that should only be handed out to turkey thieves. But the fact that we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday raises an important question about the constant pressure on American consumers to go out and spend more money.
Specifically: Don't we need more pressure during the rest of the week? Red Saturday could be a continuation of Black Friday, when people wake up even earlier, prices are cut even lower, and even fewer items are available. Perhaps every store should have three 90-percent-off items, but only to the first three customers, and people could start lining up outside the store the night before. Between the even lower
Hungry Sunday would encourage people to go out and buy food again. Everyone spends Friday and Saturday eating Thanksgiving leftovers, but by Sunday, the leftovers are generally all gone. And even if they aren't, after three days of Thanksgiving food, people want something else. Why not make it a national food retailers' day to promote specials on non-Thanksgiving foods? People will be sick of turkey and sweet potatoes, so why not offer discount roast beef and pomegranates? Restaurants should get in on the act, offering free appetizers to anyone who has eaten turkey for three days straight.
Cyber Monday already exists, so there's no real reason to change it for now. In the future, however, all cyborg and android bio-enhancement dealers should offer discounts on replacement body parts and any other mechanical augmentations. There's no better time than Cyber Monday to buy yourself that laser eyeball or giant metal claw hand you've always wanted.
Romance Tuesday would be a perfect follow-up to Cyber Monday for anyone who accidentally misunderstood what the cyber part referred to. Whether things just moved along, or whether people are in a long-standing relationship, it's important to reinforce the idea that love can only be expressed with the purchase of material goods. Valentine's Day does a good job of this, but for most of the year, people might think they can express their love in ways aside from shopping. This simply isn't true.
Wholesale Wednesday would offer big discounts to consumers who shop big. Nothing says "smart shopper" like getting 200 boxes of oreos for the price of 100.
Last Chance Thursday would be the last big sales day in the week of post-Thanksgiving shopping.
Some of you are no doubt asking, "Shouldn't we be pressuring the American consumer to go out and shop every day? Why stop at one week?" Well, you can't tell people to shop every day or they will ignore you. That would be like quietly selling things at good prices. It's much more effective to raise your prices really high and then have "Buy one, get two free" sales. Likewise, consumers need a few days when shopping isn't important, in order to convince them that certain days are "must-shop days."
I don't buy it.
Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "Rhode Island Curiosities," and shops so infrequently that some people consider it unpatriotic. His column appears weekly in the Transcript and weakly on his Web site, www.RisingPun.com.