Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday's Music Moment: I Should Get Up by Teddy Thompson

Even before the lead story of  "here's actual film footage of people being trampled in the pre-dawn hours at an overlit Wal-mart on Long Island in their rush to buy $25 Black Friday Xboxes" became a fixture on the evening news, the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn to shop on the day after Thanksgiving intimidated me. I'm an early riser by nature so it's not the time; it's the addition of a layer of competition on top of the tedium of shopping that holds me back.

I know there are people, and by "people" I mean women, and by "know" I mean I'm related to them, who enjoy entering a store just to see what grabs their eye. They come home with beautiful things to adorn themselves, their homes, and their family, serendipitous finds at great prices. 

Not me. I shop like a man. I have a list, and I only want what's on it, and I want to spend the minimum time necessary to find it. It appeals both to my sense of organization and latent frugality, and by "frugality" I mean cheapness. I find that if I'm in a store, I discover entire new categories of things to want, like embellished t-shirts and seasonal placemats and shiny candlesticks. These are things I wouldn't even had considered pining for if I'd just had the good sense to stay home, and now I'm taking on extra work to pay for them.

Still, there's something about sitting out Black Friday that makes me feel un-American. Especially now when the economy still just crawling along, it's practically an act of patriotism to go out and make an impulse buy. The song for today, a live version of "I Should Get Up," by Teddy Thompson (at what looks to be a very hot and steamy 2006 Cambridge Folk festival - sorry about the shirtless guy at 2:58)  pretty neatly summarizes my ambivalence towards Black Friday: "I should get up, I should get out, I’m sure there's something I can't do without," he sings. But then he just stays on the stage, singing some more. At no point does he open his wallet.

It might be different for me if I lived closer to my brother and his wife. My sister-in-law is an inveterate Black Friday shopper who, along with her sisters, has a holiday tradition of hitting the stores and getting home again before the families even wake up, with time for a coffee in between. With Shelley as the wise-cracking tour guide and elbow thrower, I could probably hack it.

Ah. But I do have a saving grace. I am the poster child for online shopping. Not only is it a convenient way to avoid using my keyboard for actually writing, but if I gaze only at the center of the screen and not at the "you might also like" panes flanking it, I can have my shopping done in no time.

I should get up, I should get out, I should google "youth fleece slippers size 7." Hope your weekend is full of great value, friends…


  1. A little bit more malarkey than normalarkey, perhaps? Remember how you bought that expensive Betsy Johnson dress on a whim and I helped you rationalize the cost...just like two women might do!?

  2. Black Friday...what about this CyberMonday? Driving home last night Tom tells me to check the iPad for CyberMonday deals. What is this? I've never heard of it before in my life?

    And now, instead of doing the gigantic pile of laundry, I'm glued to the 'pooter (as Eva calls it) searching ether for CyberMonday deals.

    I can feel my legs becoming vestigial as I type...

  3. For my readers, Anonymous #1 is a very dangerous person to shop with. She introduced me to the concept of margin shopping, as in, "What WOULD you consider a fair price for that item? Well, if you subtract that from the actual price, you're really only paying the margin, which isn't much." And you're right, that Betsy Johnson dress has paid for itself 5 times over. Still, the idea of going to a mall just to browse has really lost its luster for me, I stand by that.


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