Does Black Friday Make Sense?

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Today is the day.  People are out shopping for bargains to celebrate the holiday season kickoff.  These days, corporations lean one way or the other when it comes to being open at the crack of dawn on the day after Thanksgiving, and even on Thanksgiving Day.

We are a capitalistic society, driven by consumerism.  We do live in a material world.  We have pushed the holiday gift giving frenzy to the limits. How many other catch phrases can I use to rationalize what is going on these days?  What happened to our supposed holiday of love and peace?

As I said, some corporations are bold and unashamed.  They will be open all day on turkey day, sometimes through the night, and super early the next day.  Other corporations state that their policy is to stay closed and maintain reasonable hours.  They do this out of respect for their employees.  Both stances have an impact on marketing and public relations for a company.  Both strategies also affect employees, both directly and indirectly.

Supply and demand, along with diminishing returns on brick and mortar businesses, both factor in.  Retailers are desperate to cash in during the fourth quarter.  It’s the Super Bowl of retail.

Shoppers seem to set up camp on one side or another as well.   Some people, myself included, will not shop on Black Friday or the day before.  Others have built this as a new part of the family tradition.  These shoppers are on a mission.  For me, the last thing I want to do after eating a huge feast with my family is go tromping around stores, fighting for my place, and the bargains that I deserve.  I’m just not interested, to be truthful.

Shoppers love a deal, it’s true.  I think that the funniest places to shop are Kohl’s, or Bath and Body Works.  The last time I came out of Kohl’s I paid $58 for my purchases.  My receipt says I saved $103 that day, with my coupons, my Kohl’s Cash, sale prices.  That says to me that the original prices are way too high.  Bath and Body Works.  Oh my goodness.  Buy 3, get 3 free.  20% off your entire purchase.  Free item with the purchase of something else.  On sale, today only!  And, when you’re done trying to do the math to maximize your savings, you get more coupons.  It’s a part-time job.

A few years ago, JC Penney decided they were going to stop all the coupons, special sales, and incentives.  They went to everyday low prices instead.  It was a marketing disaster that they’re still trying to recover from.  The point is, we are shopping monsters that demand 24 hour access to our sport.  Yes, it’s a sport.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  Sometimes you get trampled to death by someone trying to get to a big screen TV at Walmart before you do.  But when you get that trophy…. YES!

I have to ask this ludicrous questions about holiday shopping.  What would Jesus do?

– Cat

Is There a Pill Yet … Or is it Still Diet and Exercise?

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Good news!  Over the past 10 years, I’ve lost 150 pounds!  Bad news…  I’ve lost, on average, 15 pounds a year.  I think that I’m the original yo-yo dieter.  Sometimes I feel bad about it, other days it doesn’t cross my mind.  Right now, I’m going through my “not focusing on that” phase, as opposed to my “freaking out about my health” phase.

Tomorrow, I cook with my Mom, and my daughter Catie, as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  No matter how hectic things get, I always cook with my Mom the day before our annual feast.  We are so happy to have Catie join us in the family tradition as we share recipes and laughs.

This time of year, so much of the celebrating involves eating.  Most of what you eat is not salad.  If you are eating light this year, more power to you.  It’s not human nature, though.  I know how to control my diet and eating habits, I just don’t do a great job at it.

Think for a moment about how many people you know in the medical profession that you see out on a smoke break.  I’d be willing to bet that they’ve heard that smoking isn’t healthy.  The point here is that knowing what to do doesn’t necessarily mean that you do it.

With all the medical advancements, why can’t they just develop a pill for this problem?  Why does it have to be the long, tedious process of diet and exercise?  I know that several companies acknowledge the problem.   They offer appetite suppressants, fat blockers, shakes, bars, shots, and other magic tricks.  You can get surgery.  You can buy a fad diet book… and you may even follow it for a while.  You might try a multi level marketing solution for weight loss.  Maybe joining Weight Watchers, or one of the other diet plans, will work for you.  I’m of the opinion that trying anything is better than trying nothing.

I know people with the opposite problem, who are trying to gain weight and can’t.  They know what they have to do.  It’s just hard work to do it.  I can’t imagine the heartbreak involved with having an eating disorder.

I admire you if you have a sensible diet and stay fit and on top of your health at all times.  Are you in the minority, or am I just biased towards the “pretty plus” mindset?  I’m not sure that I’m not viewing it all through the lens of my experience.

So, here’s to a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.  I hope you feel the love of family and friends.  I hope you have a grateful heart.  I hope you get to taste two kinds of pie… and enjoy it!

-Cat

Let’s Talk Turkey

It’s getting to be that time of year again.  We’ll all be getting out our “fat pants”.  Don’t roll your eyes and pretend that I’m the only one that has two sizes of pants on hand, just for this season.  Now is when we start to ramp up and get ourselves in perfect position for a strong New Year’s resolution.

Here in America, we kick it all off with Thanksgiving.  According to tradition, most of us have a nice turkey, with all the trimmings.  The other day at work, my friend Ryan asked me if I’d ever heard of turducken.  I have heard of it, but it seems like quite an oddity to me.  Ryan said he was thinking about getting one for Thanksgiving this year.

I’m not that adventurous when it comes to food choices.  As it turns out, turducken is not that unusual.  It’s quite common in other parts of the world.  In case you don’t know, turducken is a turkey that’s stuffed with a duck that’s stuffed with a chicken. In some places they call it a “three bird roast”.   When doing a bit of research before writing this post, I came across many variations.  What do you think about a turbaconducken?  Would you like to have turporken this year?

I guess that some people aren’t crazy about plain old turkey.  Okay.  I am in the group that thinks that you shouldn’t fix stuff that’s not broken.  How far do we have to go to make things more interesting?  I saw one example of turducken that has a quail’s egg cooked inside.  I guess that the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

My daughter-in-law, Amy, is a vegetarian, and so are her sons.  They are not having turducken at their Thanksgiving feast.  They are having tofurkey.  I’ve never tried it, but I haven’t had much tofu, the animal that tofurkey comes from, either.  I can’t say that I don’t like it.  It’s in that same unknown territory as turducken.

So, this Thanksgiving, I’m giving thanks for all the simple joys in life. I know each of us has so much to be thankful for.  There’s one thing in particular that I feel blessed with.  My son-in-law, Richard, is passionate about cooking a big turkey for us all!

– Cat