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I don't get it. Watching the news this morning featuring people camped out already at Best Buy... for Black Friday, I wondered aloud: WTF? Why would someone with a job to take vacation (or unpaid time off) to camp out on a patch of concrete for days and nights for the prospect of snagging an XBox of other mass-produced must-have gadget? Several of the people in line gushed that it was soooo worth it for the deals. One bubbly young woman explained that, far from detracting from her time with family, this Thanksgiving week suburban big-box-store campout was bringing her family together, as she'd invited the rest of them to join her... and they took her up on the offer.

While these well-heeled and well-fed shopper-campers hang out in their lawn chairs texting their friends, downloading music, chatting with fellow shoppers, and sipping their Starbucks coffee, millions of Americans spend night after night outdoors with no prospect of snagging a hot meal or a shower the following morning, much less a cool must-have gift.

Somewhere in a top-floor suite on Madison Avenue, marketing company executives must be laughing - all the way to the bank - at their ability to control the minds of witless consumers, convincing them that, if they miss this once-in-a-weekend lifetime chance to buy that special gift for their kid or spouse, it will be The End Of The World. Do you really want to be "that parent" who has to explain to their heartbroken kid that you couldn't be bothered to take a week off from work to get them their dream gift? Of course not! Now grab your gear and get your ass out to the comfy suburban shopping campout.

Manufacturers, who could easily churn out more gadgets (and more profits) by planning throughout the year, instead roll out their new models and create artificial holiday shortages and hype that lead - literally - to fatalities as shoppers trample one another to beat out their neighbors so that their days-long quest will not be in vain. Retailers, apoplectic at the thought of unspent dollars, are trying to wrench their customers away from the Thanksgiving table to begin spending a day sooner. Consumers have swapped their usual holiday eggnog and cocoa for this corporate Kool-Aid.

Meanwhile, as our homeless spend their November nights on sidewalks and under bridges wondering how they'll survive the winter or where they'll get their next meal, the suburban "faux homeless" who've made the Best Buy parking lot their tent city entertain one another with Tweets about their clever suburban shopping assault preparations, and the uber-cool electronic rewards that await them.

No, camping out on a lawn chair in a Snuggie with your friends watching videos on your iPad and having pizzas delivered to your little encampment is absolutely nothing like being homeless. But if anyone in that long line of craven consumers imagines for one nanosecond that it is like being homeless, and that being homeless isn't really all that bad, my head will explode.

Poll

What would be worth waiting in line for days to get?

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38%13 votes
2%1 votes
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17%6 votes

| 34 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:19:32 AM PST

  •  I'd wait in line to (6+ / 0-)

    Tip and rec this diary.

    God Made Man, Man Made Money, Money Made Man Mad

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:30:46 AM PST

    •  Ha! Thanks! (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, dsb, BOHICA, weck, MKinTN

      Fortunately, there's no need to wait in line for that.

      Thanks for the tip and rec. This topic made me uneasy, and writing the diary helped me figure out why. The disconnect during the election was between the 1% and the "47%", but this disconnect is within our own community, all the more distressing.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:35:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Last year was first and probably only ... (8+ / 0-)

    that we participated in Black Friday. The kiddo really wanted a Wii, and my mom had requested a television. And my mom needed a television if she was going to watch one at all. I'd given her the previous one, which was nearing 20 years old.

    But I sure as hell wouldn't have had anyone wait in line for days. Husband just got up really early. But seriously, camping out for an XBox? That's never going to happen.

    www.stacysmusings.wordpress.com

    by Magenta on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:44:42 AM PST

  •  Sometimes the early campers aren't shoppers (7+ / 0-)

    Two of my boys have camped out at Best Buy before, but they weren't there to buy anything.  They found that as broke college students they could make Christmas spending money by selling their places in line.

    Of course, once the economy fell apart, they quit.  

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:50:25 AM PST

  •  I've never done that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, weck

    and I really doubt I ever will . A few times here in Santa Cruz I have seen people camped out in lines to see a movie . I really don't get that .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:34:54 AM PST

  •  I Choose not to participate... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, weck, Noddy

    in merchandise scalping events.

    If it was meant that I would attend a concert or, buy an item at a store then it would be for sale with plentiful stock of the item. I'm not going out of my way to buy something that was brought to market with inadequate quantities manufactured or, a rationed distribution system.

    Any product that relies on marketing hype centered on inadequate production or, inadequate distribution, usually has other defects or, a lack of value, that is being glossed over with the aid of the hype.

    Just for the record, my children did not receive a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas at the height of their demand back in the 80's. They somehow managed to grow up just fine without one, although my daughter did seem to have an affinity towards playing with her brothers Tonka trucks. Today her 3 sons are playing with some of her brother's Tonka trucks that have been passed down. Quality will always pass the test of time...

    Just my $0.02...

    "Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House." ~John F. Kennedy~

    by Oldestsonofasailor on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:56:37 AM PST

    •  Very well stated, Oldestsonofasailor (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, NoMoreLies, Oldestsonofasailor
      I'm not going out of my way to buy something that was brought to market with inadequate quantities manufactured or, a rationed distribution system.
      This is a pervasive issue across all sorts of merchandise, from iPhones to electronic games and "collectibles", which confound me. Why would I want an item that other people also have, with the only thing making it "special" is that I and these other folks (1) waited in line, (2) subscribed to buy every newly issued item, (3) have more disposable income than brains.

      To me, something collectible is a cool fossil, shell, or piece of beach glass. There may be other ones like it, but not "exactly" like that. Oh... and it's free.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:04:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I can answer that question, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina

    but it's going to be far more fun if I outsource my answer:

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

    by Dauphin on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:34:43 AM PST

  •  It's Monday - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina

    and people are already camped out for Black Friday deals?  What the?

    Absolutely no retail deal is worth that.

    I've camped out for commodities, and I'd camp out for citizenship if it was a limited opportunity and a first-come basis, and I'd camp out for a coveted job, or dental or healthcare. But for toys? Never.

    All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

    by Noddy on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:49:16 AM PST

    •  Yeah, sickening... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Noddy

      I couldn't believe this, but while I was busy with other things, we've apparently become a country of people who are content to sit around for five days to save $50 on some overpriced must-have item.

      Don't get me started on what kind of message this sends to kids ("I love you sooo much that I gave up three days of vacation to sit in a lawn chair and wait for the sale to get you your XBox") or retailers ("Yes! I am a gullible chump with disposable income and I will surrender to your awesome mind control").  The fact that TV news stations show these people 24/7 as some sort of human interest phenomenon is problematic too.

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 10:00:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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