Monday, November 28, 2005

What Did You Buy On-Line Today?

They’re already calling it “Cyber Monday”. What the hell is this I wonder? I didn’t get the memo. I didn’t get the newsletter. I didn’t get any indication in the mail that Cyber Monday was upon us. Yet, here it is. And I knew, I just knew, I could feel a charge in the air when I woke up this morning. It wasn’t an ordinary Monday after all; my senses were correct. It was only later that this was affirmed by my reading that it was indeed a special Monday: Cyber Monday.

But…what is it? Well, turn on any major news channel or read any on-line news source, or pick up a goddamn newspaper you old curmudgeon! What am I going to do with you? Fine, I’ll tell you what it is.

Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving during which an apparent boom of on-line shopping that occurs. Not the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday after Thanksgiving. Not the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Apparently on-line shoppers wait until Monday and then log on en mass and cyber shop for Christmas.

This is the year, I believe, that Cyber Monday will gain mass acceptance and take it’s place proudly among other fabled shopping days like Black Friday or Green Friday or Red Wednesday or the ill-fated You Easily Manipulated Schlep Thursday.

After reading about Cyber Monday, I bounded into the kitchen to whip up some coffee. Well, if it’s Cyber Monday I’d better get on-board and start ordering crap off the internets. Everybody is doing it. I don’t want to show up at work on Grey Tuesday and have someone ask me “How was your Cyber Monday” and I’ll have no stories to tell. No. Better yet, I could be the guy introducing the term “Cyber Monday” to the office. Yes, me, casually getting my morning coffee and dropping wonderful bombs like, “How was your Cyber Monday? What? You haven’t heard?? You missed it, you ass?”

But my delight was quickly banished back where it belongs: my youth. For, as I read further I learned, like Santa Claus, that Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Green Friday, and Stupid Idiot Wednesday were all simply neologism invented by the popular media. You know what a neologism is, don’t you? Goddamn you, how could you live in a media saturated society and not know this term?

A neologism is a word, term, or phrase which has been recently coined to apply to new concepts or reshape older terms in a newer language form. They often become popular by way of mass media or the Internet.

Perhaps “Cyber Monday” will be accepted into the public pantheon of neologisms, taking its place in the sacred vernacular with terms like: “blog”, “tipping point”, “jumping the shark” and “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome”. Regardless, the media is already reporting record-breaking Cyber Monday sales, up 35% from typical Monday morning internet traffic on key sites according to the Akamai Net Usage Index. However, I have decided I will not become a statistic.
Personally, I’m tired of being herded around by the media telling me that the Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Or that now—just in case I forgot about Black Friday—I can make up for it on Cyber Monday. I’m starting to feel like a little child at the beckon call of the pied piper, or a lemming rushing off the side of a cliff. Madison Avenue, Corporate America, the mass media, they’re all the same person, you know. And that crusty old white guy wants your money any way he can fool you into spending it. He’s already got so much of your Monday that when he sneezes he sends gold dust flying into the air.

When I actually ventured out on Black Friday and found it no busier than any other day. I feared traffic jams, angry shoppers, packed parking lots, and weary clerks. But I’ve seen more shoppers out on an Ordinary Saturday than on a Black Friday. I told my friends that I went out and they gasped in horror. “Were you knocked to the ground by the mad rush of people?” they asked. “Could you find a parking spot?” “Were there any deals?”

But the only reason why people riot to get inside a Wal-Mart at 6:00 am is because the media has whipped them into an unreal frenzy. You probably saw the clips of shoppers, absolutely giddy for the cameras, as they rushed into a Wal-Mart during the pre-dawn hours. In fact, I saw the same clip over and over. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole event was staged, and shown thousands of times all-day long, burning an image of capitalism onto your soft, turkey stuffed brains. These are the truly sad, empty people who clamor for a day where their skills at purchasing will be pitted against others. They sit outside all night waiting for the doors to open, like Dead Heads, or Star Wars fanatics. They wait for their capitalistic messiah to usher meaning into their neglected and empty souls. Shopping is now the new opiate for the masses. Thank God for the neologism Black Friday! And riding high on its success, they will now give you Cyber Monday.

I suspect Cyber Monday is just like any other Monday, with a little help in sales because Christmas is around the corner. I’ll bet if I could pull the curtain back I’d find a weak old man pulling levers, urging everyone to shop. It’s a buzzword crafted by wizards looking to line their pockets with your money. Did you buy anything on-line today? Did it make you feel good to be a part of a huge cyber revolution of on-line shopping? I will wait until the day after Cyber Monday: Post Cyber Monday Tuesday get mine, if for any other reason, because today is the day I’m supposed to shop and I don’t want anyone telling me when to spend my money. And when that day gets taken over by Madison Avenue, I’ll hold out for Dark Wednesday or Procrastinating Thursday.

Stop the neologisms. Stop the monikers. Stop the madness.

No comments: