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Op-Ed: Why I won't be shopping on Cyber Monday

By Paula Kirman     Dec 2, 2013 in Lifestyle
Today is Cyber Monday, another industry-created day of hot deals. However, I have no plans to point my browser to retailers and let my mouse do the shopping.
Black Friday is enough of an enigma for me. It took me a while to even understand what "Black Friday" is supposed to mean. "Black" can be a reference to being flush with cash (being "in the black" so to speak), which I am definitely not. It can also refer to the stress and possible physical hazards of mobs descending upon stores and malls.
As someone who lives in Canada, I was really surprised at how widely Black Friday caught on up here, since it is directly related to the American Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving is back in October, which is traditionally a harvest time in parts of this country and is not connected with shopping at all (other than buying food for the feast). Still, there were Black Friday sales all over the place, with special deals abounding. I viewed it as companies following a corporate trend of our neighbours to the south.
This is the first year I am aware of "Cyber Monday." At first, I thought this was a reference specifically to deals on electronic devices. Then, with the plethora of e-flyers making their way into my inbox, I realized this actually has to do with online sales of pretty much anything.
I don't really think that shopping online is any longer revolutionary or cutting edge. Most people who have an Internet connection do it, at least sometimes. There are always special online deals with most retailers. As a result, I don't think I am going to be going out of my way to purchase anything associated with Cyber Monday. It comes down to this question: Is this something I really need, or am I spending my money and further cluttering my living space, just because something is on sale?
Sometimes I wonder just how far this consumerist trend is going to go. After all, there are other days of the week. What about "Two for One Tuesday"? Plus, there's irony in engaging in consumer culture behaviour in the days following a time when one is supposed to give thanks for all they have.
Gimmicks like Cyber Monday are techniques to trap those who are into impulse buying, who can't resist a deal, or who are just totally caught up in our consumer culture. Notice that it is mostly big box stores who are riding the wave.
Here is a suggestion: on days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, buy only from small businesses, mom and pop shops, or better yet, buy nothing at all. Buy only what you need, when you need it. Make your own gifts for loved ones.
Today, on Cyber Monday, I will be spending time on the computer doing a variety of things. Shopping won't be one of them.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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