Today is what is now often dubbed as Black Friday because most retail outlets are "in the black" with sales. For those that work in retail, I give you a hand because I hope to never work in retail ever again because of a day like this.
If you've never worked retail before, imagine the job you have now but add random strangers walking around and asking a wide variety of questions (some good, some stupid and some just plain annoying). The job is a huge juggling act and on a day like today, it's a relief when the doors close for the night.
Slashed prices on items in the store are always a big incentive to come out. Some places are selling select DVDs for $3.99 a pop. You know, that would even make me go out and weather the crowds, but I'm in no rush to own stuff like The Cat in the Hat (the Mike Myers version), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) or A Beautiful Mind. I'd go out if they had a sale on stuff like the new Beavis and Butthead DVD collection, Tom Waits CDs or spindles of Memorex CD-Rs. Alas, this is not the case today so I can hold off.
I love how parents say their child "needs" something for Christmas. This year, it's XBox 360 for a lot of them. It comes as no shock to me that there is a shortage of them and there are reports that a lot of the ones that have been bought have bad glitches in them. If I remember correctly, this is very much like what happened to Playstation 2 when it first came out. Parents were apparently furious and their children were majorly let down. One person even paid full price on eBay thinking he was getting a Playstation 2 but all he ended up with was an empty cardboard box.
Do kids really "need" something like XBox 360? I understand if they really want one, but will their bones fall off, their hearts stop beating or their heads fall off if an XBox 360 isn't under the Christmas tree? No, but there will be plenty of frustration with the parents and their children.
I'm not a parent and I don't understand how I could "do everything" for a child. I hear it's just a natural feeling you have when you are a parent, but does that mean meeting up with every one of your child's material desires? I don't think so, but whenever I see some yahoo going crazy that his or her's kid "has" to have something for Christmas, I wonder. I'm thankful for whatever I get and I'd like to think that I can teach that to a child of my own someday (if that day ever comes).
Bill Cosby joked that he and his wife were intellectuals before they had their children. While I think that line is funny, it also frightens me that I would have to "start over" with someone after I've come so far. I know things like basic communication are tough to convey between a parent and a child. A parent knows so much more and is accustomed to a way of communicating while his/her child has almost no points of reference at a young age.
The task of raising a child is a long and hard one, but I hear it's a rewarding one too. Teaching children morals like honesty and forgiveness is incredibly important. Going way out of one's way to appease every material impulse they have isn't one of them.