This black Friday/cyber Monday cycle has been brutal on my psyche this year. I don’t know if it’s because I read more blogs than I used to or I have my email notifications set up badly or what, but black Friday marketing this year feels insanely aggressive and unrelenting. I get that the internet pretty much only exists to sell us stuff, but everywhere I’ve gone on the internet since early last week has basically been screaming at me. BUY THIS GARBAGE! DO IT NOW! YOU’RE AN IDIOT IF YOU DON’T! YOUR LIFE WILL BE TERRIBLE IF YOU DON’T BUY THIS MARBLE CHEESE PLATE RIGHT THIS FUCKING SECOND!
Don’t get me wrong, I love buying garbage. I have a whole drawer full of miniature teacups and saucers that are too tiny to actually use and until last week, I owned a $90 robotic garbage can. I have a collection of decorative pencils and a designer tape dispenser that doesn’t even work. Garbage and I are BFFs.
This “shopping season” (is that what we call it?), however, is seriously messing with that relationship. All of those “LIMITED TIME!!!!!” emails are meant to cause anxiety, and holy crap is it ever working. I actually cried for a minute after Thanksgiving dinner because I realized I hadn’t bought the sewing machine I’d planned to and now it was sold out. That’s so insane! Then there are the endless blog posts with pretty pictures of the presents that you must buy IMMEDIATELY for your mom/husband/best friend/dog walker/office buddy/neighbor whose name you don’t even remember. EVERYBODY needs a present because only awful people don’t give presents, and you’re not an awful person, are you? And don’t even get me started on those lists of gifts “for the person who has everything.” Here’s an idea: if a person has everything, maybe just don’t buy them something. I’m sure they can do without a novelty pizza cutter or a wifi toilet seat or whatever weird nonsense Amazon is trying to bully you into buying. Donate some money (or if you’re broke, lie about donating money! it’s not honest, but neither is the emotionally manipulative fuckery we tolerate from retailers every season!) or bake a pie or write a super nice letter.
BUT OH MY GOD! WHAT IF ANN TAYLOR NEVER HAS ANOTHER 50% OFF SALE?!?
Dude, Ann Taylor has sales all the time. Everyone has sales all the time. Everything that’s on sale right now is going to be on sale again in a month, and anywhere that tells you it’s not is a liar. Check out this historical price data for a knife set on Amazon:
If you need a knife set right now, awesome, go buy it! But if you’re not sure if you need a knife set, don’t stress about waiting to buy one, because it will definitely be this cheap again.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is,
it’s okay if you don’t buy anything.
You probably already have everything you need. I know I probably do. And if you don’t, this isn’t your last chance to get it. Oh, and if you’re stressing about buying the right presents, stop it right now. Everyone is bad at giving presents, so get a bunch of used copies of books you love and stop stressing out about it. Your emotional health is worth more than the social value of giving just the right gift to your dog walker. (Also, in this day and age, not having an updated Amazon wish list is basically telling potential gift-givers “I do not value your time or sanity, so feel free to get me a $5 Starbucks gift card.”)
Final note: yes, I’m aware my last post straight up commanded everyone to buy a $200 plastic chair. It was made during my period of peak consumer hysteria. Today I feel like a jerk about it.