Thursday, 25 November 2010

Are we lemmings?

A comment by Faith sparked this blog post. I was going to post an old article I'd written some years ago as the blog today, but my response to that comment struck a match. (I don't do light bulbs. They are too tame, especially the energy saving ones. grin)

The airways, and Internet, are littered with Black Friday ads. Stores are opening earlier and earlier Friday morning to try and tempt shoppers to come and spend their hard-earned cash on things. Lots and lots of things that we most likely do not need, but heck, our garage isn't quite full of enough sh** yet, right?

But I digress.

Lemmings. Back to lemmings.

One of the ads for a major department store is advertising a $99 Kindle. I had told Charlie, my husband, that I wanted a Kindle. I have a Target gift certificate with $70 left on it. I was contemplating on using the remainder to buy a Kindle. Why? This all stemmed from my latest foray into Target. And that all started with the gift card given to me by Charlie's aunt (whose intent was for me to buy something nice for myself. True to being a mother, I spent nearly $30 of it on my daughter.) The reason for that is another story best told at another time, but you'll follow my reasoning better if I tell the Target story. Okay, you won't, but I am in a verbose mood, so you will have to suffer the tale. (g)

This past weekend, my mother-in-law offered to have a sleepover with the daughter. Her intention was to pick up our daughter around a quarter to ten, take her to church, and we'd pick her up sometime the next day. (Life is rough.) However, our daughter didn't want to go to church (a child after my own heart--grin), so Grandma picked her up after church. Regardless, part of our downtime included a foray to Target with the intent of purchasing a toaster oven. They had several, but we hadn't done our homework and decided against purchasing a toaster oven, especially after seeing more than one review on an oven that several purchasers reported as a fire hazard. :-O

As is typical, we didn't buy what we'd originally went out for. Instead, I picked up three pairs of really cute tights for the daughter, a book for me (not the kind I was looking for either), and something else, which eludes me now. (It's been all of a few days. Obviously, it wasn't that memorable.)

So, what does this have to do with lemmings? I'm getting there. Taking my sweet time, but I'll get there...eventually. (g)

I was browsing the books when I realized that the books all lacked...something. Oh, yeah, they were all NYC published. And most of the books I want to read are published by independents in eBook format. It's not often I have time to read anymore (beyond editing), and holding a solid book in my hand has its appeal, but I looked at the book in my hand and thought, "What am I doing? I don't see Faith's, Sarah's, or Tess's books here. Why am I buying this book that I don't really want?" The answer: I had a gift card to Target, and I was desperate. Desperate for a little R&R reading, but I didn't want to read on my iPhone or my laptop. I can do both, but, you know, I don't care to lug my laptop around all of the time, and my iPhone is convenient, but I want something a little bigger to read on. So, I looked at the Kindle. The Kindle is okay. I've seen one operating before and that e-ink technology bothers my eyes. LOL Yeah, I know. I'm weird. Maybe it's all of my years staring at computer screens. Still, I can justify buying a Kindle for my business. How? I can check out how our eBooks look on the Kindle and demonstrate how eBooks work on it.

But you know what I really want? An iPad. Charlie has one. It's the bomb. Will I play games on it? Probably. (The games for the iPhone are too addictive and suck me in when my brain is too tired to do anything else, although the ability to read and respond easily to email is a wonderful thing. I am sure it will be the same with the iPad.) However, I can use it to see how our ePub eBooks look on Apple's format. (g) Also, I can "check out the competition." You know, you have to read other indy pubbed books to see what they are doing, right? (g) So, yeah, I've been slowly talking myself into one of those too. The only challenge? The price.

And I have to say that as I read the book I bought from Target, it seemed so passé, as if I lived, say, in the 1900's. (g) I told Charlie this, and he rolled his eyes at me. When I told my mother this, she'd thought I'd lost my mind. HAHAHAHA Perhaps I have. (g)

So, fast forward to yesterday, we are sitting in the living room watching TV. A Black Friday TV commercial comes on. Charlie turned to me and said, "You know, I feel like I should be going out there too. If I don't, I might miss something."

"Like what?" I asked him. Most of these Black Friday deals aren't really deals. We discovered that last year.

"I don't know," he said.

So, he doesn't know what he wants or why he should go, but he thinks he should go. Hm...

We did this last year. We were looking for another flat screen TV and talked about the Black Friday deals. Another big chain store had a 40" advertised for $250-300. Two days before, we drove down to the store to take a look at the TV as we were seriously considering going on Friday to buy it. Boy, am I glad we did that! Charlie is a bit of a techno geek (It's one of the many reasons I love him, even as it drives me crazy at times. (g)), and that TV was crap. Well, what do you expect from a 40" flat screen TV priced at $250-300? Grainy, poor picture, poor construction, and more than likely to die on us within a year. A waste of $250-300, but someone will buy it. Just not us. We would have had serious buyer's remorse.

After that, he did a search online for TVs and discovered that there were better deals on the Internet even with the shipping than a number of these Black Friday deals.

Yet, despite last year's experience, he's still thinking about braving the subzero temps to check out these deals. Truly, it boggles my mind. But then it makes me think about the whole lemming effect of social pressure. Do these commercials create social pressure to shop on Black Friday? How many people go because they are afraid they'll miss the best deals? Will they bond and become a lemming clan before rushing into the stores and risking death by stampede? (g)

Yeah, I don't know and probably will never know as I am not usually a lemming. If he wants to throw himself off that Black Friday shopping cliff, he can do it alone. (g) I'm going to stay in my nice warm bed and sleep through it. (g)


Faith said...

I sooooooooooo WANT an iPad!

Can I throw a temper tantrum and get an iPad? Hmm? Can I?

I've been shopping for the perfect ereader for months and months, but when the iPad came out I knew it was perfect. It's an awesome ereader and it does so many other things that will be so handy. However, I have a house full of kids, so need I say more? I'll pass up the iPad unless I can find one for a steal and I have the funds. Otherwise, the kids get shoes, diapers, and so on. The fun part of being a mommy, eh? LOL

Black Friday? I'm might be crazy, but I'm not insane! This chickiepoo doesn't step outside the door on Black Friday!

Sarah Masters said...

I like this blog because I can be myself, so...

Fuck being a lemming. I'm with you. Stay indoors.

We went out Saturday just gone, and I HATED it. Rude people barging me, queue-hopping, all manner of shit going on. I wished I'd stayed at home.


Faith said...

People say I'm about the most laid back person they know...however, going out at this time of year gets on my last nerve. Stupidity of drivers, the nastiness of people over parking spots and the last IT item...

No. I don't want to end up in the pokey for slapping some nit wit into aisle five.

Kathryn said...

No lemmings here. I did the stand in line the Friday after Thanksgiving once, about 10 years ago. I got a sweet deal on a laptop that gave me several good years of service. But times have changed.

It used to be the good deals were 50 or a 100 per store. Now they're 5 or 10. Please. How stupid do you have to be to think you might have a shot at actually getting something if there are only 5? Stay home and buy a lottery ticket. You're more likely to be successful, and then you won't care if you pay full price.

As an aside, you might want to look at tablets that run the Android OS. They're fairly similar to the ipad in function, but *much* cheaper. I looked seriously at them, but I think I'm happier with my netbook. It's a little bigger, but I can write on it too.

Anthology Authors said...

Too bad we don't live closer. We could get together and have a Black Friday unshopping day at home. Maybe hot chocolate, tea or coffee (your choice of poison), some pumpkin pie, and a video camera on all the stores while we sit and laugh at them. (g)

Okay, that's just unkind, but I'm glad to stay home.

Anthology Authors said...

Absolutely, Faith. You are entitled to a temper tantrum. Because of the publishing houses, I can justify it. Look what I did with that gift certificate, though. I spent $25 on my daughter and $5 on me.

Charlie was letting me look at the iPad with one of our eBooks on it. It sure looks purty. I surely want! (g)

Anthology Authors said...

I would, Katherine, but we are a Mac family. Every computing device I own is made by Apple. I get hand-me-downs, but they last for 3-4 years, so I don't mind.

The Droid devices might be good, but we'll have our eBooks up on the iTunes Store soon, and, you know, I've got to try them out before putting them up, right? (g)

C. Zampa said...

All these years, I thought lemmings were birds! Oh, they're such cute little creatures! LOL.

In my part of the country, I'll be right there along with you, NOT venturing into the Black Friday world.

Anthology Authors said...

I didn't know what they were either, CZ, although rodents does make sense. LOL

Apparently, people are shopping today as well. Goodness! Who has the time? I've been either cooking or stacking wood most of the day. LOL

Faith said...

Marci, my mother read one of my manuscripts on my old laptop and when I showed her what an ebook reader is she wants one now, lol. The woman doesn't own a computer or a cell phone, but she defo wants an ereader!

Anthology Authors said...

They are nice. On the EPIC loop, someone was talking about how at her mother's convalescent home they have three Kindles in the library. They are the most popular thing in the library. :) I was showing my mom one of our Wild Child eBooks, The Macgregor's Daughter by Dee Julian, on the iPad and showed her how I could increase the font size. She really liked it. The ability to increase font size makes it easier for them to read. What's not to like? (g) Again, I want one. LOL

Anthology Authors said...

BTW, Faith, the iPads are on sale today. You can get one for $458 instead of $499. (g) You save $41. (g)

Fiona said...

My daughter had to work yesterday, on Thanksgiving day, at a retail clothing store from 5-9pm, because they were open last year and made money! Puh-leeze, people! Can't you take ONE day off from shopping? We had to eat our dinner at 3 in the afternoon, so she could go to work! What ever happened to sitting home enjoying being with family? Sheesh! On the news last night they showed people camping out in 15 degree weather, to shop at the local malls. I guess getting the best deal is worth losing a digit or two to frostbite? I'll be making most of my presents this year: baking, sewing and crocheting.

Anthology Authors said...

You know, Fiona, I agree. We don't need to shop every single day. It's ridiculous! I think it adds stress to our lives because we never have downtime to just relax and enjoy, or not, family or alone time. As you can see, I was even blogging on Thanksgiving, although I refused to go out and be a part of the shopping madness.

RuthZ said...

My oldest and I have a tradition of going out on Black Friday! I think I started it thinking she'd never get up that early! SHE IS NOT a morning person and hates getting up early! But, three years ago at the age of 12 she did it! She got up at 6 a.m. and we went out to brave the cold, crowds and traffic-at that hour! Since then the time has gotten earlier. This past year we left the house at 4:30 a.m. I told both my girls that when they take their kids shopping on black friday it will be while I'm cleaning up after serving Thanksgiving dinner! HA!

Are there better deals-that I'm uncertain of, but just coming home with a few bargains and knowing I put a dent in my Xmas shopping is worth the predawn wake up call!

And, I agree that I find better reading of late on my kindle than I do at the bookstore because the stories are better. :)

Thanks for the interesting and fun take on shopping this time of year!

Anthology Authors said...

My SIL used to work in retail for years. She said she never goes to Black Friday sales as the sales get better the closer you get to Christmas. LOL