On its own accord, my iPhone calendar made a point to remind me today is Black Friday. It did this by ringing an unusually jarring alarm that sounded like two tambourines in a fist fight. It then popped up as a reminder on my cell screen which I repeatedly ignored. Then, I think out of spite, it vibrated so hard it rattled my ovaries before I had to nearly dismantle my phone in a fit of public rage, moments before stepping into my zen meditation class.
Important to note, I have never in any way, shape or form made a point to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving and find the practice of waiting in line at four in the morning to get a 20% discount on any product of any kind, positively bonkers. But far be it from me to kill the joy of any deep discount shopper. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Scoring a good deal is an endorphin rush. Beating out some other poor slob for the newest automated gadget that can increase your social media presence and also wipe your bottom, feels like nothing less than a victory of the highest degree.
I guess there just aren’t that many things I crave these days. Perhaps I need to watch more commercials to be reminded of all the stuff I didn’t realize I needed so desperately.
For instance, a few minutes ago I Googled the top commercials of 2018, and “Doritos-Mountain Dew” was one of the first things to come up in my search. Apparently, I either need to eat more Doritos that taste like Mountain Dew or drink more Mountain Dew spicy nacho flavor.
Other items I’m wondering if I should get more excited about include:
A Hoverboard (which if I were to try to ride this, one of two things is likely to happen: 1. Lose a tooth. 2. Lose my lunch.)
Electric Scooter (see above.) I would be the only grown ass woman riding down the sidewalk on a motorized scooter wearing full body armour, a helmet, bubble wrap and a Hazmat suit. (I believe in safety folks). Also, I’ve wiped out on motorized vehicles more times than most of you have fingers.
Nella, The Transforming Princess Knight. This Brienne of Tarth- like doll goes from elite monarch to wolf-slaying swordsmith with the click of a button. And…um,…I’m kind of starting to get that, “gotta have it feeling”. Rut row.
Then I made the leap over to Amazon for a wee moment and the algorithms immediately started to calculate what they think I want to purchase. My eyes were assaulted with a barrage of gag gifts for your ex-boss, gifts for lazy toddlers and gifts for Dads who hate to fix things. Um, Amazon had me confused with every demographic but my own. But that’s fine by me, once they start showing me colorful yoga mats and home cotton candy machines, I’m done for. So I accepted their miscalculations happily.
But this is where I discovered the gift of “Nothing”. The paper and plastic packaging come with a list of witty explanations why you just paid seven dollars for an empty plastic package. “The gift of minimalism is yours” boldly printed across the front, reminds the consumer that “less is more” and reminds the sucker, er, I mean buyer, “nothing is sacred” and “nothing is precious”. (And of course, we all know who has the last laugh, as some jagweed entrepreneur is now ironically making a million dollars on Amazon selling, “Nothing”.)
One prospective buyer wrote in the comments section, “Can this stand in the way of my hopes and dreams?” To which the seller answered, “Only if you let it.” Well played Mr. Nothing. Well played.
Once I left Nothing behind, I went head first down the Amazon rabbit hole, discovering other gems I now realize would certainly make my life more complete.
First and foremost, The “Yodeling Pickel”. It sings, it’s tangy, and if properly placed, it can scare away potential muggers.
Instant Underpants (just add water)- for those questionable mornings when you can’t remember where you left them.
A Public Toilet Survival Kit– comes with a set of gloves and a pre-packaged tetanus shot.
Talking Toilet Paper Spindle– oh the stories it could tell.
A “Sleep Hood” which is clearly the best way to deal with narcolepsy, social anxiety or both.
Then I made the curious but unfortunate mistake of looking up, “great gifts for your single friends”. One of the first things to come up was, “Personalized M&M’s”. And then the algorithm had squarely caught me in its heartless web, suggesting “for me” a whole world of items marketed to single adults either to reinforce their hopelessness or remind them that they actually have it better than their married friends.
So for instance, giving this seventeen pound bag of M&M’s with your single BFF’s name on them might suggest, “No one is looking at your ass anymore. Just give up and eat your loneliness.”
A Deluxe Membership to the Bumble or Tinder Dating App – go on and help your single friend out! Give them three times the rejection for free!
Axe-Throwing Lessons – apparently it comes with a 30- minute life coaching session.
Award Ribbons – these retro gems properly capture how important tiny accomplishments are, such as, “I Put On Pants Today”, or “Best At Saying What We’re All Thinking”.
A Personal Butter Churner – because once you churn your own butter, you never leave the house again.
Or for the pal who has everything, you can give this thing:
Crystal Camel Paper Weight – and for a mere $180,000 your loved one will be able to finally keep track of all her Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.
I also found a $14,000 ping pong table for sale. It’s a steal since the balls are only $.99 a piece. But the cost of removing your drunk friends once they’ve lost at beer pong = priceless.
I must admit, as I scrolled through all of these valued gifts one after another, I started to rethink my judgy mindset around the Black Friday obsession. I mean, if today is the day when you stake claim on your discount Adidas dog hoodie or that one-of-a-kind wax reproduction of the severed head of Ned Stark, then go forth and find your deal.
After having spent the better part of the afternoon watching shoppers stroll by on this busy LA thoroughfare, hands already full of holiday packages and faces looking remarkably peaceful, I can only think that retail therapy is just as good a way to find your bliss, as meditating on other people’s questionable purchasing power.
Happy shopping all. May the sales force be with you.