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Am I the only person in North America who had never, ever heard of “Cyber Monday”? When did this come about? Most likely, it has bumped into my reality at some time or the other but I had, thankfully, avoided acknowledging it — just tucked it somewhere in my subconscious to ignore for as long as I chose. However, this year, there was no getting away from it. Every time I went into the Internet there it was, shouting its message at me with an urgency that even I was tempted by: “It’s Cyber Monday! BuyBuyBuy. Don’t Be A Fool, Woman! You Can’t Afford to Pass These Bargains Up! BuyBuyBuy.” I wanted to get the Visa out immediately and get all the things on my Birthday Wish List — an iPad (sigh), a toaster oven (more practical), a trip to a tropical island to get AWAY from winter (dreamland). Luckily, I was saved by that little practical voice in my head that whispered, “Are you kidding, Missy? I don’t think so! Whoa, Annie!” — and, also, by the reality that I couldn’t remember where I had hidden my Visa card.

Those retailers are very, very tricky. They found a way to wheedle their wares into my cyber consciousness so that even a non-shopper like me was thinking about buying something, anything. I really hate to shop and avoid it until absolutely necessary like when I’m invited to a wedding and have only jeans in my closet. So, it was easy for me to avoid Black Friday. I just stayed home — kept out of anything that resembled a store. Period. Anyway, it was also a matter of principle — or at least my principle. How could it be Black Friday in Oh Canada when the whole timing of the day is centered on American Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving Day in Canada is in October — and on a Monday, thank you very much. For a country that prides itself on being different in all things good and true from its big-bad-neighboUr to the South, they sure do hurry up to grab hold of one of what I consider the worse characteristic of my homeland — Greed. But, I’m not sure even some Americans remember the significance of the day. I heard someone refer to Thanksgiving as the Day Before Black Friday! Sad.

I certainly have nothing against getting a good bargain. I was raised on it. My mother was a pro at bargain hunting. She had no choice. You try to feed, clothe, shoe and entertain 12 kids on a pretty-slim budget and see how you like it. She took on the challenge and perfected her eye. Eileen Eyerman knew what would last and what wouldn’t. Yeah, I hated those red Oxford shoes I had to wear — but I was able to wear them … and wear them … and wear them before they disintegrated. Every January, she’d head to Lazarus basement for Remnant Days — got there early to beat some of the crowds. Perhaps that sale for her was a precursor to Black Friday? She could elbow her way through the mightiest of crowds and burrow into piles of pants and shirts until she had the best of the pick. It’s too bad that I didn’t inherit her shopping eye and patience. If I walk into any kind of a thrift store or discount house or house of fashion, for that matter, I see only chaos and start to break out in a sweat and run — not-walk — out of that place. My usual attire attests to this ineptitude of my shopping ability.

But I do want — yes, I said that word, want — to do some shopping this month. I like to give gifts (and, if I’m really honest here, I especially like to receive them). I even like to get all wrapped up in that fuzzy feeling of being out among the masses busily finding the best fleece sweater for someone who really doesn’t want it. I even like hearing Silver Bells playing for the first time on the store speaker — until I realize, it’s only October and get all depressed by it. But, I don’t want someone telling me when to buy and what to buy and how much to buy — just so that they can make more and more and more money.

Oh, by the way, I did buy something on Cyber Monday — the shipping and tax cost more than the gift. FaLaLaLaLa