It was the feast of times, it was the holiday of times, it was the age of shopping, it was the age of layaway, it was the epoch of credit cards, it was the epoch of festivities, it was the season of greetings, it was the season of cookies — in short, the holidays were so far better than the previous (election) season that some of its tackiest authorities insist upon its being received, for gift or for eggnog, in the superlative hallows of major corporations only.
We have now upon us the most treasured of all American experiences: the holiday shopping free-for-all death match over the last copy of Final Fantasy XV. Yea, how the shelves will rumble as the natives, high on processed sugars, fluorescent lighting and so, so much gluten, clamor for Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck Craft Kits, Shopkins ‘Tall Mall’ Playsets and Learning Resources Pretend & Play School Sets! (OK, not that last one — but if you want to get bumped off the “cool aunt” list, Pretend & Play away. If not, buy the kiddos a game eerily similar to what we in the adult world will forever and ever, amen, refer to as the year of 2016: The Pie Face Game.)
As ye fair retail warriors map out your holiday shopping strategy, whether ye be solitary soldiers, warring tribes or a entire battalion of spendthrifts, consider, if ye will, the following (probably true) tale of three twenties:
The first 20, whom we shall call Dubya Dubya Dubya Dot, or simply Dubya Dot, was sent to a corporation in China that manufactures, markets and ships petroleum that has been processed and molded until it closely resembles a turd. There Dubya Dot was given whole to the president of the company, who shared enough with the workers so they could survive another day toiling 15 or 16 hours in the factory, cooking, molding and painting fake turds. The leftover scraps of Dubya Dot were given to the shipping company who provided transport for the shiny brown blobs of childish delight. From these scraps, a small portion of Dubya Dot was handed to he who bore the box of plastic poo to the door.
The second 20, Big Box Martin, who prefers to be called Marty ever since he got that blue-green-and-peach tattoo on his face, was offered as tribute in exchange for a bright package that contained a sweater spun entirely from twine by Amish women in Pennsylvania (actually atheists in Ohio). Marty was first carved in unequally-sized portions consisting of one piece that was 43 percent of Marty and one that was 57 percent of Marty. The 57-percent-sized piece of Marty was sent far away and apportioned among the atheists, marketers, accountants, printers, suppliers, designers and shippers. The 43-percent-sized piece of Marty remained in town and was divided among employees who stocked, tracked and sold the industrial-strength exfoliating sweater, the city and county government, utilities and charitable organizations.
The third and final 20, Roundthecorner McHometown-Neighborton, Benson for short, was bartered for Dip’n Tots, a full-body mud mask made of “primordial soup,” a concoction comprising seagull droppings, sea snake placenta and, mostly, mud. Benson was then divided into two unequal parts: one portion was 68 percent of Benson’s whole, the other 32 percent. The 32-percent-sized portion was sent to sea snake afterbirth suppliers in — where else? — Washington, D.C., the adopted hometown of all that is bizarre and somewhat unsettling; the 68-percent-sized piece remained in town to be divided among employees who mixed, packaged and sold Dip’n Tots, local seagull dropping collection technicians (inmates on work release), the key ingredient specialist (landscaper) who harvested the mud, the city and county government, charities and, of course, the shop owner/marketing genius who convinced people to rub bird poop, afterbirth and mud all over their naked bodies.
If ye be confused, the foregoing is intended to communicate that Small Business Saturday, that stroke of genius dreamt up by American Express, the most civilized of all credit card companies, in the year of our overlord 2010, affords us weaponized warriors of commerce the opportunity to put our twenties where our hearts are: right here in our community, at the small businesses that provide us with locally-sourced, locally-inspired goods and goodies to amuse, clothe, feed and delight.
And who among the community at the season’s reception in this two-thousand-and-sixteenth year of our overlord could possibly doubt that a shopping system rooted in a festive merchant, localized and street-facing, pumped, holiday sweater-peddling, would see the satiated retail warrior out with a smile and a “y’all come on back and see us real soon”!