Category Archives: shopping

Why Valentine’s Day is a pointless holiday

Valentine’s Day is stupid.

Out of all the silly holidays and pointless days of celebration we have in our society, this is probably the worst.

If you’re currently single and reading this, you are probably nodding your head in agreement and thanking whatever god you believe in that this isn’t another sappy love post about how Valentine’s Day is so great and I am so lucky to be with the love of my life (which I am, but that’s besides the point).

If you’re a fellow lovebird, you’re probably wondering why someone so head-over-heels in love is being so cynical on such a lovey-dovey holiday.

I like holidays and I like having a reason to get dressed up and feel especially giddy, but I don’t feel the need to participate in such a joke. First of all:

No one needs a reminder that they’re alone. If you don’t have a significant other to celebrate this cheesy holiday with, you certainly shouldn’t have to be reminded of just how lonely you are. Google suicide rates on Valentine’s Day and get back to me.

If you love someone, you shouldn’t need a holiday to express it. Love is love no matter what day of the year it is. I’m crazy about my boyfriend every day, I have been since the beginning. And that’s not me being overdramatic and annoying, it’s just the facts. I love my boyfriend, and I tell him frequently. I don’t love him and remind him of my feelings just because it’s Valentine’s Day and society tells me I should. Sure, I’d like to go out to dinner and have a nice night together just like the next girl, but I don’t need chocolates and jewelry and flowers today any more than I do on any other random day of the week- unless he’s proposing. Then it’s a completely different story.

There are no clear origins. Where did this silly holiday even come from? Sure, there was a Saint Valentine, but he had nothing to do with the holiday. It’s just a stupid excuse of a holiday that Hallmark created to sell greeting cards and chocolate.

I’m mostly turned off by how crazy people get over this holiday, both for and against it. It hardly ranks among even the lowest of the low (like Memorial Day and Flag Day), so it hardly seems deserving of such attention.

 

In reality, though, I’m just bitter because Hallmark insists on relocating any prospective employee to the Midwest (namely, Kansas). There go my dreams of designing greeting cards. Unless I can get my boyfriend to move to Kansas.

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Filed under community, Consumerism, Cynicism, Entertainment, Holidays, humanity, Humor, Lists, obsessions, Opinion, sex, shopping, Society, Valentine's Day

Why I need to stop buying things (and other reasons why I don’t want to end up like everyone else)

We are a nation of shopaholics. No matter how much we buy, no matter how much we spend, we always want more.

The problem is, we like things. It could be clothing. Or jewelry. Or media. Or designer handbags. Or electronics- including the latest phones and tablets and other techie gadgets. It doesn’t matter. As soon as we have something new, we want something else, something better. It’s a never-ending cycle that companies in retail love and I hate (to love).

Sure, I bought all this at one point or another. But this photo is staged- it took me a long time to acquire all these bags. 🙂

Now that the biggest consumerist holiday is finally over, you would assume sales would slow and people would reel in their credit and debit cards, at least until the next gift-buying holiday (which, since I don’t count Valentine’s Day as a holiday, shouldn’t be until Easter). But no. I don’t have any concrete facts, no statistics or polls or surveys to support my views, but anyone out shopping yesterday and today would certainly agree there are even more shoppers out now than there were before Christmas. Sure, a lot of people are making returns. But with all the sales stores are boasting already, it’s too tempting to avoid another purchase or two. Or ten. So in reality, yes, you are making your return-something stores hate. But with the appeal of any sort of sale or store clearance, you’re actually more likely to buy and spend more than you brought in to return. And more times than not, you think you’re getting a good deal, because after all, it’s a sale. But if you think about the outrageously high cost you would have (or did) pay before Christmas, when everything was in high demand, and you’d pay anything to get the last iPad or Xbox Kinect, (regardless of how much it was), you’re really not saving anything at all. You’re merely paying what you should have paid in the first place, without the inflation. Stores in general overprice merchandise; they can especially get away with this if they are a popular store with highly sought-after merchandise-I should know, I worked at one most notorious for doing this (oh, Victoria’s Secret, how I do not miss you). Unfortunately, there’s no way around this; if you truly want the label or brand, you’re going to have to pay for it. Unless you forgo the designer label, in which case you can just go to Walmart. Or the dump.

Overall, it makes me sad to think that shopping is one of our society’s favorite pastimes. We care more about material things than we do about anything else. Sure, I won’t deny I like to shop. But there’s a limit, and most people don’t seem to know they’ve already far exceeded it. It seems the more progressive our society becomes, the lazier and more consumed by superficial things we become. If this is what the rest of the world is envious of, if this is what the rest of the world strives to be like, I’m not looking forward to what’s coming next.

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Filed under community, Consumerism, Cynicism, Entertainment, Money, Opinion, shopping, Society

The perks of buying your own island

With its close proximity to other parts of the world, and the closeness of the islands to each other, the idea of owning your own piece of paradise could be just the ticket to a more laid-back lifestyle. It may cost a pretty penny, but buying your own island getaway has many perks that far outweigh the large price tag.

I'd buy that.

You can do whatever you want. I’m not exactly sure what rules apply as far as being controlled by any specific country or government- most islands for sale fall under one national jurisdiction or another. So you couldn’t go as far as committing criminal acts (though, if you killed someone, who would ever know?), but to some degree, you could get away with less-than-acceptable behavior, as so deemed by the PC rules set forth by society. For example, you could decide to live free and au natural, leaving the confines of clothing behind on the mainland. Either way, you’d be guaranteed secluded living, giving you the opportunity to do as you please on a day-to-day basis.

You have a guaranteed getaway when life gets overwhelming. Most people hit a snag in life when things start to build up too much and boil over. For most, the stress of life is something that has to be pushed to the side and ignored in hopes it will go away on its own. A vacation every now and then helps, but there’s usually stress or some hassle involved in planning and booking. Kind of like owning a second home in some remote part of the world- or simply the next state over- owning your own island gives you the leisure to come and go as you please.

It’s the ultimate bragging right. Who wouldn’t want to, during small talk with new acquaintances, casually rub in the fact that they own an island? No big deal.

It may sound completely ridiculous to own your own island. But if you have the funds, it’s almost silly not to; it’s only a credit-card-swipe away. And who knows, maybe you can even make it your permanent residence.

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Filed under Advice, Caribbean, Consumerism, Entertainment, family fun, Money, shopping, Society, Travel

Why I believe holidays are pointless (and other cynical thoughts to bring you down this Christmas)

The biggest consumerist holiday is officially underway.  Every year we as a society lose sight of the true purpose of the holidays, giving in to the greed and hunger of material things, all-consumed by excess. We have this constant need to show off and compete, and meet unrealistic expectations that society creates for us. As someone who has worked in retail and dealt with it first-hand, it’s really quite disgusting. Our society is driven by the need to please, and we live from one holiday to the next. And all holidays have become are another reason to give and receive material gifts.

First of all, I’m in no way a supporter of the “fake” holidays, more specifically the famous “Hallmark holiday,” Valentine’s Day. If I’m single, why do I need a blunt reminder that I am alone? And if, like me, you’re not alone and you do have a significant other, you shouldn’t need a specific day out of the year to remind them you care. I even tried looking up the origin of St. Valentine and it wasn’t even just one guy. The holiday was fairly non-existent then and it’s completely non-existent now.

This is great when you're a kid (and still believe in Santa) but it seems a bit much as you get older.

And as for the other holidays, namely Christmas, people have lost the real reason why we celebrate them in the first place. And frankly, I don’t need the pressure of remembering every acquaintance I’ve ever known, trying to figure out what they’d want as a gift and then having to endure the resulting pressure of whether or not I succeeded in producing something thoughtful and remarkable. The only thing I enjoy about these times are the pretty rad candies they come out with (but you can dye them any color, Peeps will taste the same regardless..) It just makes me long for certain aspects of lesser-developed societies, ones in which relationships are determined by emotional and intellectual connections, not by a bank account. I’m not saying I’d give up luxuries such as running water and electricity, as I do enjoy a hot shower every now and again, but to be so happy and carefree when you have none of these other things getting in the way must surely be relieving. Despite the convenience and comforts of civilized society, I have to say I’m strongly considering a deserted island with just some tasty coconuts and edible sea life and maybe a pretty awesome volleyball I can call Wilson..

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Filed under community, Consumerism, Cynicism, Holidays, humanity, shopping, Society

The pros and cons of Black Friday madness

We’re all guilty of it. Wanting to find that perfect holiday gift for friends and family. Or maybe just finding a great deal for ourselves. Either way, our society is one heavily built on the idea of gift-giving, and we consider shopping something that isn’t necessarily needed for survival, but one that is required to find some pleasure in life. We are a society that feeds off of the latest, greatest gadget or the newest wave of trendy clothes. Everyone has to be one step above their friends. Everyone has to have the best of the best, even if it means spending rent money on the newest iPhone when you already have the one that came out right before it. Most importantly, we like to find good deals. Most of us will feel a tiny pang of guilt when buying something we want, rather than need- except those few who don’t even know the balance of their checking account it’s so high. We contemplate putting it back on the shelf, and we even think about turning it over to the cashier once we get in the check-out line. But in the end, we always swallow our guilt and self-indulge anyway. When there are guaranteed good deals on a variety of material things, it’s hard to turn your back and say “no thanks.” But is the madness and chaos, and the staying up shopping until 8:30 a.m., really worth it in the end? Here are some pros and cons I’ve found over the years of Black Friday shopping.

Most of the insane deals are limited. Stores like Best Buy and Radio Shack usually offer incredible deals on TVs and gaming

"No way." The 12 a.m. insanity at Target was too much for me.

systems for those who arrive right when the store opens, and who are lucky enough to get one of the few available. All I could do was laugh at the line of people waiting to get into Target at midnight. I wanted a really good deal on Weeds season 6- a boxed TV on DVD set for $8? yes please- but there was no way I was stepping foot in that line. By the time I got in, they’d probably be gone anyway, and it just wasn’t worth it. ‘While supplies lasts’ is an issue to begin with, but when combined with the added insanity of shoppers camping out in line, there’s virtually no guarantee you will ever get your hands on those unheard of deals. Unless you commit to popping a tent and sleeping on the ground for a few nights, you won’t find a spot in line nearly close enough to the front door to promise any sort of doorbuster deal.

Found a 2-piece ottoman set for half-off. Score!

There’s a sense of satisfaction involved. Most stores only offer a low percentage off of their inventory, and more times than not it doesn’t help- Express had a measly seven-hour, 40% off deal that hardly reduced the prices of their expensive picks. But buying anything on sale, no matter what it is, leaves us with a “job well done” outlook, a sort of figurative pat on the back. Black Friday shopping may make us want to pull our hair out- or may make us actually pull our hair out- but the excitement and the rush of finding a good deal is enough to make all the chaos worth it.

It’s a lot of work. Especially for those who don’t nap before heading out for the late-night/early-morning shopping- my first mistake this year- forcing your body to function at such a weird hour has its consequences. Instead of giving our bodies the good night’s rest it so desperately craves, we force them to operate above normal levels. After all, plowing down little old ladies and clawing some guy’s face off to get that last, free Xbox is no easy feat. And don’t forget the standing in line part. Even if you make it through the store’s front doors without hassle, finding a register that doesn’t have a line out the door is impossible. Most likely, you’ll crowd together in one giant line with half the people in your town, all of you waiting to pay and get to the next store. With wait times up to, and over, an hour, be prepared for stiff knees and a sore back.

Black Friday may mean great deals, and could be the way you cross everyone off your Christmas list. But with all the chaos, and the notion that most sales will last through the weekend, it just doesn’t seem worth it. In the end, go to bed after Thanksgiving is over. Get a good night’s sleep and wake up at a reasonable hour and go out and spend your day shopping. If you don’t get there right at midnight, the world will not end. There will still be plenty of great sales when you show up the next day, at a normal hour, well-rested and ready for the long-haul.

Although I doubt I’ll follow my own advice come next year…

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Filed under bargains, Black Friday, community, Couponing, Entertainment, family fun, Money, Pro/con, Savings, shopping