I have never been a fan of the bloodsport of competitive shopping. In my mind there is something unseemly about camping for days in front of a Walmart in order to bargain hunt. I haven't got the stomach for the "every woman/man for themselves" mentality, and I certainly wouldn't go to the mattresses for a discount. (Is anybody else impressed with my "Godfather"reference?) I tried it once. This menace of zombie shopping. Not on Black Friday mind you, but on Boxing Day the day after Christmas. I was at the Southern Home as I usually am for the Christmas vacation. It was six weeks prior to Younger Son's Bar Mitzvah and I still had nothing to wear. I was seriously entertaining the idea of attending in my torn jeans and a turtleneck, when I cajoled my Other Mother (my mother was still in Toronto due to circumstances unforeseen) to trek to the stores with me in the desperate hope of finding something more suitable for the occasion. We left our homes at 6:00am so that we could a) Find a parking spot that wasn't in Tallahassee and b) enter Bloomingdales with the other crazies at 6:30. After pulling every possible item that wasn't jeans and a turtleneck off of the racks and shelves, (size matters not a whit when shopping with animals) I staked out my claim to the last available fitting room. I tried on clothes while Other Mother acted as runner. Competitive shopping is a two-person game, lest the inmates attempt to usurp your hard-won territory. After several hours of playing survival of the fittest, we left the department store with a silk skirt, a lovely top and a shrug all for a deeply discounted price. We never left Bloomies, our mission completed with one-stop shopping and neither of us having the stomach to venture deeper into the belly of the beast. Let the next morons have their shot. We both swore a blood oath "Never again".
But far be it from me to keep others from that which they love or find important. I freely acknowledge that the Jew in me doesn't fully understand the Christmas shopping mentality, so if Black Friday is your thing-have at it. I do however, want to put in a personal plug for the shopping season. Tomorrow has been labelled Small Business Saturday in the United States. I kind of love this idea. After you have muscled and bullied your way through the big box and chain megastores, try and send some of those shopping dollars to a small business in your area. How about frequenting the local pet store instead of Petsmart to find that perfect gift for Fido or Fifi? Or how about a visit to that funky bohemian clothing shop downtown, rather than Macy's? Maybe that local gourmet shop has some nifty kitchen gadgets that can't be seen at William's Sonoma? In these difficult economic times, it has been the locally owned and operated businesses that have taken huge hits. How about sending them some love and capital this holiday season? If Saturday shopping is not your thing, take Small Business Saturday and transfer it to Sunday or Monday. The sentiment is still the same.
In that vein, I would like to tell all of my Toronto-based friends about an exciting new local business finally opening for retail. The Husband and Twin Son have been making their artisan spirits for several years now and have been trying to shoehorn their way into a tightly government controlled market here in Ontario. They have finally, finally, finally been given permission to open a retail store on the site of their distillery and hope to have it up and running by December 1st, (Please note the date. They aren't ready just yet to receive the hoards that we know will be pounding on the door!!) just in time for all of those holiday parties. Please come and visit Still Waters Distillery at their new onsite retail outlet at 150 Bradwick Drive #26 in Concord. Details can be found at the website. The boys will happily set you up with their award winning vodka and some special single malts unavailable at your local LCBO. Sincere apologies to my out of town readers but e-commerce is not yet available. Hopefully soon.
Enjoy the day of bargain busting friends. Me? I will spend my time getting ready for Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom to all who observe.