The marathon shopping event is coming

It seems as though November is racing through its 30 days, perhaps rushing to December before any of us know what is going on. Some years are like that.

Thanksgiving will be upon us during the final week of the month. With Thanksgiving so late this year, there is less time to shop for the holidays — just in case you had not checked your calendar to make note of that information. As usual when things are a bit out of whack, I figure it is my job to help you navigate through the tough stuff, like trying to help you select a day for shopping. I am all about it once again.

The day after Thanksgiving has for decades been one of the biggest buying days of the year. This day can make or break it for malls and big box stores. It also has become known as a day of marathon shopping, with some customers camping overnight on mall or store property just to get the hot item of the season. And it now is called “Black Friday.”

In retaliation, small businesses across the country (and even here in Marion County) have begun to promote themselves as a part of “Small Business Saturday,” the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This is a day to enjoy shopping at a leisurely pace with plenty of parking and personal service available at small area businesses offering unique and one of a kind items. The intent of the participating small businesses is to remind you to keep as many of your shopping and sales tax dollars at home as is possible. That money stays in your county and community and helps pay for roads, water systems, parks, schools, hospitals, and libraries.

This year a new entry claims an after-Thanksgiving shopping day — “Cyber Monday” deals with sales from online merchants and offers gift items and services from around the world. That is quite an array of spending opportunities, right?

I seldom go to malls or discount stores. With no children in the family, there is little cause to search for toys, fashion items, or the latest techno-whiz item. I do purchase gift cards now and then from some of the major merchandisers, but I am not a Black Friday shopper. Nor do I shop online.

That leaves me with Small Business Saturday, and I expect it will cover all of my shopping needs. My best gift item for the Married Daughter for Christmas 2012 was a 3-foot cube-shaped locking container with the words “Caution: Human Blood” printed on each side in large red letters. It was a shipping container for the aforementioned product. She was thrilled and today uses it for an end table. How could I have found such a product in any mall or big box store? Yes, perhaps it would have appeared online, but I would have needed to know that such an item existed to search the Internet for it.

Small Business Saturday is when and where I shop — and I actually enjoy doing it. I could keep going clear to Indiana if only the day would last that long! I hope you too will spend some time shopping in our rural communities on Small Business Saturday. The money you spend will help keep towns afloat in rural Kansas and mid-America.

That is a pretty nice gift for your community and the merchants who provide you with goods and services all year long, donate to your children’s fund raisers, and support your local churches, clubs, and organizations.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

 

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