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Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Did you survive the most dangerous day of all? That’s right, the day after Thanksgiving may go down in history as the day of huge indigestion, big spending, crowded parking lots, fender benders, purse-snatchers, and trampled shoppers. Yikes, trampled shoppers? This is exactly the reason that I resist going near a mall on that terrible Friday. Who needs a stampede of people running over you like you’re a doormat?

What were the frantic shoppers in Florida thinking when they stormed the Wal-Mart and stomped over the fallen forty-year old woman who was on the ground gasping for breath? Hey, this is no soccer game with a bunch of drunk and rowdy fans! Instead, we’re talking about a few thousand hard-working folks that have gotten up in the middle of the night so that they can buy DVD players for a mere $19. Not exactly a cause worth dying for.

There are all sorts of weird and scary stories that seem to emerge after the “Big Day.” One woman in Cave Creek emailed to say that she broke her own record by spending four thousand dollars in one hour at one of the “seductive, outdoor shopping centers.” She claimed that she was “induced” to spend so much because she had been “holding back” for most of the year. She added that “spending becomes easy when you’re doing it with a large crowd of shoppers…it’s as though we are egging each other on.” Hmm, could be that that piped in Christmas music has subliminal messages that say “Spend, spend, spend.” Better yet, maybe we should pipe in our favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey screaming, “Run, run, run!”

A man from Desert Hills emailed to say that his wife “forces” him to go with her when she does the “day after” shopping. He said it’s a “dreadful experience” and he usually tries to find a bar so he can have a beer in between juggling bags, making trips out to the car to stash them, and “giving opinions that my wife never listens to on various gifts.” He said it’s a “ridiculous tradition that has dragged on for twenty years.” Ouch, sounds like this couple might need to forget the shopping and go to a counselor!

Aren’t the Holidays grand? I secretly admire the brave souls that can wake up at four o’clock in the morning, with the steely fortitude of a Marine, armed with a compulsively detailed list, set on a gallant mission to buy gifts for loved-ones (at really good prices), and stand in line for the heavenly gates of “Bargain Paradise” to open. A noble crusade, but not worth being air-evacuated away, because a mob walked all over you. How generous that the store where the poor woman was trampled kindly put one of the DVD players on “hold” for the bruised and battered victim. Whoopee!

I don’t like crowds much and I like shopping less. I get too easily distracted. What good is a list when there are a zillion items out there – all with incredible potential to be the “best buy.” My sister-in-law in Ohio spent an entire day looking for the “perfect” vase for her sister. Oh, ye of little faith, has no illusions about finding anything “perfect” for anyone. A day looking for a glass vessel to hold flowers? Why? I like that Desert Hills man’s idea about finding a bar. Clearly, alcohol has a proper place during this season.

Oh, I hate to mention it…but aren’t we focusing too much on shopping? Well, of course, and that is why so many stores are open on Thanksgiving. But who can possibly cook or eat a huge meal, nap, and then get up to go shopping? It’s a frightful thought!

What “good deals” are you looking for this season? Can you live with the thought that trying to buy a “perfect” gift is almost impossible? The Shopping Season has begun! Will you stay safe when you brave the malls and other dangerous places? Maybe we should all forget the lists and let go on striving for “perfection.” Let Santa do more of the work and let’s spike the eggnog. Be very careful and avoid anything that looks like a stampede. Cheers until next week…and remember you can stay at home in your pajamas while you order “perfection” online.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at