The opening surge in holiday shopping has d/evolved into three distinct phases:
- Black Friday
- Small Business Saturday – my favorite
- Cyber Monday
Black Friday, in my opinion is a definite devolution. A good day went bad several years ago when stores started extending their hours and provided marketing deals to encourage shoppers to pack the stores, stand in long lines in the cold & dark, and other unnatural behavior. The stores enjoy a huge surge in needed revenue – US retail sales up at start of holiday season – while individual shoppers become hashtagged victims on Twitter – #WalmartFights.
Not to be outdone on the revenue side, while remaining classy on the civil side, Small Business Saturday has evolved into a celebration of shopping local while avoiding the marketing imposed emotional urgencies of the big box (small mind) stores. The Small Business Administration has weighed in with guidance for both shoppers and small business owners. For more interesting reading, see this Twitter hashtag – #SmallBizSat. From twitter, I learned that President Obama celebrates SmallBizSat by visiting a local bookstore. This year, as reported on Huffington Post, he visited Politics & Prose.
My SmallBizSat started with a haircut at Pure Hair in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Then I went down to my favorite Main Street in Freeport, Maine – a tourist destination shopping mecca full of LL Bean and associated chain outlet stores with local small businesses blended in between.
- First Stop: Freeport Wild Bird Supply for a new squirrel feeder and a bag of cardinal blend seed.
- Next: the First Parish Market Place for lunch – a two dollar grilled cheese sandwich on artisan bread
- After a walkabout up and down Main Street: a whoopee pie snack at Gourmet Whoopie Pies.
- Ending the day at the Maine Beer Company Tasting Room for a flight of their beers.
Shopping local is easy, fun and a great way to become a named smiling face with the store owners & clerks v just another nameless bland face in line.
Pause for shameless plug. I too am a State of Maine registered Small Business Owner – the Maine Photo Cafe. The website is currently under reconstruction and hope to have it live this week. Find me / like me on FaceBook.
An offshoot of Black Friday is Cyber Monday. This too represents a devolution in holiday shopping. The premise is that employees will be using their employers faster internet connection to shop online v quaint & unreliable home internet service. The blatantly sublime theme is to rip off your employer’s resources – time, internet connection and your job responsibilities & obligations – by shopping on line instead of DOING YOUR JOB. There are now excessive and adequate other internet connectivity channels – Free Wifi at Starbucks & McDonalds, cellular 3G/4G and your own at home resources et al – to use in lieu of being unethically paid to shop.
Shop responsibly and enjoy this Christmas Gifting & Giving season.