THE BORN LESAR
No Cyber Monday spending for this traditional dude
According to an online news source that I neither trust nor respect, but that I visited anyway because it has an eye-grabbing clickbait photo of a pretty girl -- Daddy likes pretty girls -- shoppers this week spent more than $9.4 billion in 24 hours on 'Cyber Monday' purchases. At one point toward the end of the day, I read, about $12 million per minute was being shoveled out of personal credit card accounts and into the maw of retail giants on everything from 70-inch flatscreen TVs at $539.95 to Frozen Elsa's Ice Castle Playsets for $35.50.
Ya gotta admit, that's a bargain, and that's coming from a guy who once paid three packs of Juicy Fruit gum and a live bullfrog for a used baseball bat. Well, yeah, the bat was cracked, but it had Reggie Jackson's name burned onto the barrel. I just simply had to have it, even if that bullfrog was one of the fattest ever plucked from the tepid waters of Furlon's Creek.
Oh, it was. Ten-year-old boys don't make stuff like that up.
OK, back to Dec. 2, 2019, a record-setting Cyber Monday that saw sales soar 19.4 percent over last year. Smartphones alone brought in $3 billion, and other top categories included electronics, gaming systems, and toys. I tried to find 'cracked wooden baseball bats' on the list, but no luck. Pity how times have changed.
For the record, I contributed not one red cent to the Cyber Monday spending avalanche. I did cough up $8.56 at Kwik Trip for a gallon of skim milk, a loaf of honey wheat bread, a dozen eggs and bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, but I'm not thinking that sales slip made its way into the $9.4 billion total. I think I saw that 'Cyber Monday' purchases are specifically defined as 'merchandise that no one needs but are bought anyway because people have less fiscal sense than sheep.' I mean, really, a 70-inch flatscreen TV? Don't Nancy Pelosi's facial wrinkles look deep enough on a 65-incher? Does anybody really have to have a smartphone with 5G network capability when all they're doing with it is calling Mommy and playing CandyCrush on work time? And don't parents know that their kids will blow out their inner ear organs just as quickly on AirPods that cost $39.95 for one day of the year as they will on those that sell at suggested manufacturer's retail price the rest of the time?
As reported on another website I visited just so I can offer some lame claim that I didn't entirely make all this stuff up, Cyber Monday is now the busiest shopping day of the year, even surpassing Black Friday, the day before Mother's Day, and the day Fleet Farm marks all of its doe urine stock at 10 percent off (well, I'm there, anyway). The peak of the rush came at approximately 11:25 in the morning, which was about the same time I was either working on an investigative piece on government corruption or on my hands and knees in front of the office refrigerator digging for that one last Diet Mountain Dew I knew was hiding in there somewhere. Yeah, I was gonna go home and do my online shopping in the evening, but then I remembered, no, wait, I have a life. Well, no, not much of one, but at least I didn't empty my bank account to buy a GoPro that I can mount to my head while I chase the cat around my house after he jumps up on the counter to stick his face in the peanut butter jar while I throw clothes in the dryer.
Dang furbag. I wonder how much I could have sold him for on Cyber Monday.
One interesting fact I did discover in my Cyber Monday research was that more people now shop online than go to an actual store. Approximately 41.4 million people reportedly shopped exclusively online between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday,
while 35 million visited a brick-and-mortar store. That's a sad commentary, in my mind, because I'm a traditionalist and have fond memories of strolling through shopping malls during holiday seasons past. Now, apparently, instead of going to Target or JC Penney to find a gift for a loved one, people just lounge around on their couches, flip through screens on their laptops, and hit 'Proceed to checkout' when they're ready to spend. I mean, I'm all for doing things the easy way (just one reason I didn't pursue a coal mining career), but what kind of society are we going to have someday if nobody comes out of their house to buy anything? We've already seen all kinds of retail stores close in recent years, and if things keep digressing as they are, we'll soon have whole sections of small towns that are nothing but old Shopko buildings converted into small spaces for Cash-n-Fly outlets and CBD oil shops with names like 'Not Pot Inc.,' and 'Hemp-R-Us'.
I don't know about you, but I'm the type of person who wants to put my grubby mitts on an item before I buy it. I don't care if it's a new TV or an air fryer or a pair of skivvies, I need to feel it before I spend on it. That's old school, I'm sure, but I'm just not comfortable looking at a photo of a product on an electronic screen and judging it to be worthy of my money. Toilet paper's a great example. In a real store, I can poke my finger through the plastic packaging to see for myself that it really is strong and soft, just like the big ol' bear on the package says it is. What am I supposed to do online, put the laptop screen up to my cheek to check for softness? Heck, for all I know, when the package arrives, I could be gettin' 40-grit sandpaper. I should admit that I did make one on-line buy in the last week. It wasn't a Cyber Monday special, just a routine purchase of a new cushion for the sleep apnea mask I wear at night so my windows don't shatter from my snoring. Now this is a product one can't find in a nearby store, so I have to search websites until I find the right liner, and I ordered one for like $31 and within a few days, there it was on my doorstep. Sure, it was handy, I got what I needed without having to change out of my ragged sweatshirt with the spaghetti sauce stains down the front, but I'm still not at ease with the whole concept. The rest of you, fine, go ahead, do your Cyber Monday thing, I don't care, that just means there'll be fewer of you in my way at the mall when I go to do my Christmas shopping sometime in the next few weeks.
One other thing about cyber-shopping. Online, if a product exists anywhere in the world, you can find it and buy it. When you go to the store, if it ain't there, you ain't gettin' it. It's probably why everybody on my shopping list can be expecting stale triple popcorn tins and 'Pretty Girls of the Bahamas' calendars this year.
That's right, Daddy likes pretty girls.