A young professional's take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
I am still getting Black Thursday/Black Friday/Gray Saturday/Brown Sunday/Cyber Monday/Cyber extendingintoTuesdayandnowyWednesday! emails.
Lots of them.
Some are from companies I've never heard of who somehow managed to get a whole of my information. Some are from retailers who feel the need to email me three, four times a day to two of my email addresses. Some are even from businesses I thought went down the tubes years ago. Linens-n-Things, wasn't it just a couple of years ago that you were advertising massive liquidation "going out of business, everything (we mean everything) must go" sales?
To be honest, and perhaps this is un-American in some way, but I steeled myself for the Cyber Bonzanza and decided well in advance that I would be deleting nearly every single e-mail automatically and without mercy. I just can't get on board with the frenzy. As it is, on a good day, I get no fewer than thirty to forty retailer e-blasts. And in the last three days (because we obviously need three days around a one-day promotion), I estimate that that number has roughly tripled.
Evidently, my online shopping habit is not without its negatives, and I am a known quantity to every purveyor of clothing, cookware, books, movies, music, magazines, newspapers, toys, games, pet supplies, novelty lighting, artisanal charcuteries, home furnishings, wine and spirits, Christmas ornaments, real estate, footwear, airfare, homemade jams, discount wall art, stationary, and sports paraphernalia. I am on every single list a person can be on.
Some I signed up for. Some, I maintain I did not.
I know I am supposed to be doing my part to help stimulate the economy, but I can't help but feel like a sucker when I have to spend days sifting through and deleting emails from advertisers. I get it. You're selling stuff. It's cheaper now than it will be in a few days. But just as I can't bear the thought of entering a store on Black Friday (without a can of mace, that is), I can't really stand the idea of buckling under the (immense) pressure being put on me to buy buy buy BUY RIGHT NOW DO IT DO IT RIGHT NOW DO IT! Not that I'm some sort of ultra-classy dame who is above a bit of commercialism, but it kind of grosses me out. It certainly stresses me out.
But bidness is bidness, and these stores have to do what they must in order to drum up enough sales to live through another year. It's not like I won't ultimately purchase gifts and other items from many of their websites at some point between now and Christmas/Hannukah. In fact, due to my aversion to the post-Thanksgiving discounting bonanza, I'll probably wind up paying slightly more for everything.
Now that I write it out, I'm detecting a bit of strategy hidden beneath all the muck and mess of Cyber Monday. And I'm back to feeling like a sucker. Thanks a lot, Internet.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I'm always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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