Here's the Scoop: December 5, 2012

The Big Picture of Christmas
Thank goodness we’ve hit a brief period where we’re not “naming names” of holiday-related shopping dates.

Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. Where will it all end? Not here. As far as I can tell, there are quite a few unnamed potential “holidays” leading up to Christmas. I’m here to help.

As a general rule, Sundays are tricky with lots of religious-type stuff attached. I have a few sins, so I’ll add another. I’m thinking the day prior to Cyber Monday should be dubbed: Pray That the Big Screen TVs Aren’t Sold Out By Tomorrow Day. It has a nice ring to it and, face it, everybody loves a Flat Screen TV.

Then we’ve got the day after Cyber Monday. Let’s call that one: Holy Crap, I Can’t Believe They Gave Me A Higher Limit on My Credit Card Tuesday. Yippee!

This, of course, leads us directly into: I Pity Those Dummies Who Went Shopping on Black Friday – There are NO Lines on Wednesday.

To complete the week in the pre-holiday shopping world, it seems appropriate to add: These Prices Easily Beat Black Friday Because Retailers are Panicking Thursday.

Clock is ticking
This still leaves us with lots of anonymous shopping days. Even if Thanksgiving falls late, there is a lot of prime shopping time left before Christmas. This is when things become like a game of chicken — or perhaps turkey is more appropriate.

Are you feeling the pressure yet? I know I am.
Let’s be honest, though, the burden of holiday shopping should fall squarely upon the shoulders of the companies trying to get items from their shelves under our trees. Personally, I love the waiting game.

Each morning, I wake up anxious to check my “in” box to see what types of special offers await. When the subject line announces: 10 percent off, I delete without even opening. Who are they kidding?

Even 20 percent off is not a huge incentive these days. Don’t they want to move stock?
An offer of a 40 percent price reduction piques my interest. Announcement of a half-off sale can substitute (almost) for caffeine to jolt me into an alert state, ready to help energize the economy.

Just a little longer
Still, I try to exercise patience. If a 50 percent reduction makes sense three weeks before Christmas, the sale limbo is on — How low can they go?

Of course, there’s a fine line between patience, greed and “Crap, I knew I should have bought at that price — they are sold out!”

On the bright side, I tend to look at missing out on sale items as a temporary reprieve. Manufacturers will make more, I figure. And they’ll be better quality. Cheaper, too.
In the meantime, I watch and wait. It’s a fun game…until The Day draws perilously near and someone reminds me of a special gift wish they made, seemingly long ago in a distant galaxy. Panic sets in.

It all comes rushing back to me, the words echoing in my head, “The only thing I’d like for Christmas this year is something that you think is special for me.”

Or, did she say, “The only thing I’d like for Christmas this year is a flat-screen TV”? At half-off. Plus free shipping. And no sales tax.
— Brian Sweeney