On the news this morning, I was reminded of the fact that today is Cyber Monday. A news reporter, live from one of the Phoenix, Arizona distribution centers of well-known Amazon.com, was reporting from a massive warehouse. Behind her ran an endless conveyor, zigzagging through the massive warehouse in which an army of workers toiled to keep a seemingly endless stream of various shaped boxes and parcels on course, rolling down the endless conveyer.
The conveyor ends, presumably, at some equally cavernous room in which the endless packages are fork-lifted onto an endless fleet of tractor-trailer trucks and step vans and eventually into the bellies of endless turbo-props and 757s and 767s and two dozen or so other types of short hop to long-haul aircraft. If we could see a bit past landing, we would find an endless number of welcome consumers, from Kalamazoo to Amsterdam, all receiving packages exactly as they ordered them from the comfort of their home/office/coffee shop.
Note the intentional over-use of the word ‘endless’ in the preceding paragraphs.
Some of you who know me are saying right now:
“I know where this is going. Poor old Trop, bless his heart. He’s probably pining for the days when kids got electric train sets and hand knitted sweaters for Christmas. Wonder what he’s getting his wife this year – a bolt of gingham cloth and a pearl hatpin?”
To this I say, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a loyal customer of the aforementioned online distributor for many years. I embrace online buying for three basic reasons. First, it saves me time – time that I can use to make money; second, the products are often cheaper thus saving me money; third, I don’t have to drive anywhere which saves me more money. So you can see that I am far from being a baret-wearing, latte-sipping, pseudo-intellectual, Ivy League-educated, limousine-liberal, anti-capitalist. Far from it!!!
What I don’t like, however, are marketing ploys and thus my discomfort with ‘Cyber Monday’ (I have the same issue with ‘Black Friday’, but since it’s gone by I won’t bother to talk about it).
Cyber Monday was started back in 2005 by the U.S. National Retail Association to drive traffic to their website Shop.org. It didn’t catch on right away. By 2009, things changed. In that year 52.7% of the money spent on Cyber Monday came from employees making online purchases from their workplace. In a 2010 study conducted by Purdue University, an estimated 1 billion dollars was lost in worker productivity due to internet bargain-surfing workers. By 2010 Cyber Monday had officially won the title of the biggest online sales day of the year with a whopping $1.02 billion in sales. 2011 sales increased that figure by 22%. I won’t venture a guess as to what this year’s sales will amount to but I am thinking ‘record breaker’.
So I love online buying, but I am more than a little bit resentful of Cyber Monday. But, I am never one to force my beliefs on the masses. The rest of you can have at it…pound away on those keyboards…enter those credit card numbers with glee and await the arrival of your books and CDs and electric coffee makers and cocktail shakers and Thomas Kinkade holiday collectables. I shall not bear any ill will toward you, o’ Cyber Monday enthusiasts. But for me, my keyboard shall remain idle – until tomorrow.