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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Ravaged by retail.
Ravaged by retail.

There are no shopping "quickies" this time of year

I woke up last Saturday morning disheveled. Exhausted. Abused.

Black Friday was over – and what did I really have to show for it?

I ruminated in the rumpled sheets. As if it weren’t enough that retailers went into Christmas mode while most of us were still trick or treating, I was also still really reeling from the notion that Thanksgiving Eve has now been christened "Brown Thursday."  

It seems the hours following Thanksgiving dinner are no longer the lazy, family-filled, "I feel fat" fest they used to be. No more are we are left to revel in the stoned state of food coma. Now, we are urged to pry ourselves from the grip of relatives and haul our full bellies out that very evening, to spend what should be kin time - in line. 

I lay beneath my sheets questioning my personal purchasing actions, the reckless abandon with which I wielded my plastic, wooed into the fervent passion of a spree by tantalizing commercials and seductive email blasts. There were even mobile texts that pulled me through the doors of alluring establishments to take advantage of their tawdry and totally enticing deals.

The post-Black Friday walk of shame weighed heavily on me. I slunk out of bed and poured my morning coffee, getting a chill from the memory of the momentary thrill I had gleefully partaken in when suddenly, my phone started to scream at me. It continuously shouted alerts in the following hours, signaling more discount codes and special offers.  

"Black Friday Extended!" 

What? No! I thought there would be some reprieve until Cyber Monday! (Which in actuality has slithered into Cyber Week.) The assault continued. I gathered my willpower and refused the overt gestures, as I had already booked a date with "Small Business Saturday." I tend to prefer my ‘tail local.  

The weekend continued, filled with invitations to slut out my credit card to earnest economic sirens, to participate in the pillage of door buster deals. I gave myself over once again on Cyber Monday, having withheld a smidgen of my shameless shopping in anticipation of online retail fornication.  

I was stunned to discover there were some market studs that had the shameless stamina to continue to go at it through Tuesday, even while in competition with the knight in shining amour of this whole marathon shopping event – #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday is the kindest of these seasonal trysts, urging those spent from spending to put out a little to those in need. While a sexy idea and just what the doctor ordered to relieve the guilt laying heavily on top of many well-satiated shoppers, perhaps it’s just a little too late? 

#GivingTuesday should pop the cherry of the holiday retail orgy while we’re all still fresh and our pocketbooks still plump with excitement.  Or make it the replacement for the repugnant "Brown Thursday," so that this charitable embrace becomes a family affair. 

The fervent moans of retailers to shop NOW have taken a toll on my wallet and my psyche. I was preoccupied for a month gearing up to save all this money at my favorite retailers – both big and small, but somehow I’ve ended up feeling empty inside and taken advantage of – especially with 12 Days of Christmas Deals shaking their bits in my inbox.  

Next year, I’m going to be hesitant to crawl into bed with this seductive lover. I will commit to sale celibacy. I will withhold my wallet. I will resist the holiday retail rendezvous.

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