Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cyber Monday, 2014: Not Shopping on Line (1 Dec. 2014)

            All things considered, I much prefer to be bribed than to be coerced, but, all things considered more, I really don't like either. I really don't like to act as merely a consumer, infected with "The Midas Plague"; I do not like to be manipulated.
            I'm thinking these thoughts while Tantor Audio,, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust Store,, and the Art Institute of Chicago — to say nothing of the Genie Zip Bra Company, MaskCraft, Water Filters Fast et al. — are filling my e-mail IN-basket and Junk folder with invitations to Save, Save, Save! buying from them today, "Cyber Monday," 2014.
            Especially with the audio-book companies, the temptation is pretty strong: I like audio books, and I'll probably be buying some more downloads shortly. But not today.
            My declining to buy might do some good if it ends up in statistics on reduced sales protesting the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, MO, shooting, but I wouldn't be buying anyway.
            You buy on sale —I buy on sale, one buys on sale — in large part to save money. Okay, and what do I want with money?
            Most of the money I have will go to my "heirs and assigns," and they're doing well. They'll like what they inherit from me, but they can do without. (None, certainly, has ever sucked around, legacy hunting.)
            What I'd really like money for is clout and freedom. Which means a lot of money: I'd like to have a staff, and a butler to manage the staff, and a money manager to hire my money and a personal accountant to audit the money manager. I'd like to have enough money to be so genteel I wouldn't have to concern myself with money, enough money to indulge myself in the traditional genteel disdain those who work or are "in trade." That is what real gentlefolk were, after all: those who had other people do their work for them.
            Oh, a gentleman could expend a lot of energy in warfare and hunting and even scholarship — "An officer and a gentleman," or "a gentleman scholar" — or even in the Church, if a younger son without much talent for the military. And a lady could hunt and sew and manage the castle — including leading the family army if that castle was attacked. But a gentleman didn't plant crops or make horseshoes or do other manual or work in a factory (as in productive) labor; and a lady sewed fancy things, not the practical, heavy-duty stuff a mere woman would make.
            The rules have changed a good deal today (for one thing, there's no longer blatant, legal slavery most places), but the old idea is there: really rich people have cooks and secretaries and personal assistants and money managers and are free to do what they want to do, and free to order around a fair number of others.
            That's what I'd like money for, but on that sort of ideal scale — ideal looking from the top down — it didn't happen, and it ain't gonna happen. I don't have that kind of money, and I never will. (And knowing that is a reason I can be a social democrat without being a softhearted altruist.)
            Indeed, I didn't even have enough money, or didn't feel that I had enough money, to Just Say No when the Kroger company started charging penalties on purchases I declined to have them track. My resistance broke when I wanted to buy a pound of table-ready shrimp: $4.00 with a Kroger Card, $7.00 without. Kroger, and nowadays West-Coast Ralph's, made me an offer I didn't refuse.
            What I do have enough money for is to be able to buy when I want and can say as I do above that the bribes are preferable to coercion, but I'm annoyed by the 273 daily e-mails in my well-filtered Junk Folder and the seven pounds of junk mail that awaited me when I got back from a fairly short vacation. I'm annoyed by the website pop-ups and U2 on my iPhone and firms wanting to stay in Constant Contact so they can show their concern for me by offering me deals of a lifetime. What I can do is tell the people annoying me to bugger off — and then ignore them.
            Sorry, Huck(sters); if it'd really save me money, I don't think you'd do it, whatever "it" is. But even if I did SAVE MONEY ON TREMENDOUS BARGAINS TODAY ONLY!!!, what would I do with it, with the money I saved? I want money primarily to limit constraints on my will: I want money so I can do what I want to do — and not what strangers want me to do.
            So I'm kind of cutting out the middleman.
            I wanted to spend some time today writing a blog post before getting on to some editing drudgework I want to do for complicated reasons.
            So, free of immediate charge, I'm going to retain some freedom from manipulations by trashing all those announcements of Cyber Monday.
            I may buy the some items at higher prices tomorrow, but I can afford that; and I've purchased one itty-bitty bit of freedom from manipulation today, and I've had the small satisfaction of saying, figuratively, to the hucksters — even if they will never hear me — "No, you manipulative pendejo pig-porkers: not with me, not today." 

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