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Be wary: It’s Cyber Monday.

November 29, 2010 2 comments

If you woke up with a burning desire to buy something online today, you are not alone.

My friend was explaining to me today that this day of the year is dubbed Cyber Monday, since it is perhaps the busiest online shopping day of the year.

She learned about this phenomenon after telling her husband she planned to order their online purchases for Christmas today.  As soon as she had finished telling me this, I looked at my Blackberry to find a message from Shutterfly boldly announcing Cyber Monday deals in capital letters.

Both news and new terms travel fast in this day and age.

In November 2005, the New York Times reported that “The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked,” according to Wikipedia, who is, after all, much more up to date than my trusted Webster’s dictionary, where of course there is no entry under Cyber Monday.

Not surprisingly Cyber Monday is positioned perfectly on the calendar so that you can expect your purchases to arrive in time for the Christmas holiday.  Those retailers are not stupid.

In fact, the term Cyber Monday was coined by Shop.org in 2005, which is part of the U.S. trade association’s National Retail Federation.  So it all starts making sense.  This conglomerate of retailers gets together, and noticing a blip in sales on this particular day one year, issues a press release dubbing this day, Cyber Monday, as the day to shop online.  Low and behold, they throw some deals the way of the consumer, and voila!, a new term is created and another reason for a feeding frenzy ensues, piggy-backing on Black Friday.

There is barely time for some holiday cheer and inappropriate office parties before the consumers are hit up again; they drag themselves out of bed early on Boxing Day to find everything they never wanted on sale for ridiculously low prices.  Who can resist buying next year’s Christmas wrapping paper for a tenth of what you bought it only a week ago?  Ignore the fact that you have no place to store it, so you haul it up to the attic where you are sure to forget it come next season –  a deal’s a deal!

Sadly, for our consumptive society, they are on to something, for if you build it they will come.  By creating yet another day to get the “best” deals, they have the consumers eating out of their hands.

We are led online today like lambs to the slaughter, and can be mildly comforted that we will at least avoid being trampled to death.