nielsenmug

Dan Nielsen

I’m a penny pincher, a cheapskate, a tightwad, a scrooge. That’s to say that I appreciate a bargain.

So you’d think I would love Black Friday and all its wonderous deals. But no.

I’ve never enjoyed shopping as recreation. I don’t like wandering aisles filled with elevator music and merchandise for which I have no clearly defined need. For me, a shopping trip is a chore to be endured.

Add to that the typical holiday-season crowds — which always have made me uncomfortable — and the current fear of viral infection (COVID-19, flu, common cold), and shopping falls far down my list of desirable activities.

Online shopping can get boring, what with the endless scroll of similar products and endless number of online stores.

I don’t want come off as some dour hermit, or define myself as a bad consumer. I do contribute to the economy — maybe just not as enthusiastically as some. I buy things, but my pace has dropped off in recent years.

Memories of pre-holiday toy-store dreaming prove that in some situations I can enjoy shopping. The price of my toys has changed over the decades. When I was a kid, games and noisemakers were priced reasonably — though I do recall some expensive whining was required to convince my parents to spring for certain items. When I was a teen, used cars required a larger investment of time, effort and personal cash. In middle age, camera shops and book stores became my favorite shopping experiences.

Each of those consumer fervors faded with time.

Nowadays, a deck of cards is all the game equipment I desire. Our family cars are chosen mostly for their utility, not swoop of fender or amount of chrome. My decade-old camera can produce the images I want, so there’s no reason to look at a newer model. I have so many books that I’ll never be able to read them all.

My wife just bought me a pair of puffy slippers to warm my cold feet. Now I don’t know what she might get me for Christmas, because that was the last thing on my wish list.

Experience has turned me into a retail rebel. I’ve run out of things to buy. Sure, I still need food, clothing and shelter. But Black Friday doesn’t excite me.

The deals being advertised this year make me yawn: Video doorbells. Super-strength skin lotion. Hoverboards with built-in Bluetooth speakers. Cooking pots. Folding drones. Pillows. Meat thermometers. Televisions. Fifteen-day colon detox laxatives.

I don’t need that stuff. Perhaps that’s a side effect of middle age — I’ve acquired enough things that it’s time to say, “Enough is enough. I’m done.”

That’s not realistic, though. Humans need stuff. Black Friday is all about buying merchandise to keep us smiling and content. And aside from food, clothing and shelter, it’s kind of nice to be entertained and comforted.

So maybe a hoverboard with Bluetooth speakers is in my future — and a new pillow to cushion the spot that hurts after I fall off.

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