Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quiz: What Will You Get for the 12 Days of Christmas?

You Will Get Three French Tourists
Twelve babies drumming
Eleven marshmallows a-puffing
Ten reindeer a-leaping
Nine ladies waltzing
Eight llamas a-milking
Seven fruitcakes a-festering
Six iPods a-playing
Five golden necklaces
Four calling bill collectors
Three French tourists
Two Jesus action figures
And a owl in a pine tree

Is it already that time of year?

Well, of course all the holiday stuff in stores points to that, but it still seems like it happened so quickly.  And I'm still not ready.  No shopping done yet, but I usually don't do that while the calendar still says November.  And then it'll be time for the new year.  It's all just too fast!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Overload and it's Still November

I'd hoped the Christmas Music would just be intermittent over the store intercom as it 


was in the week before Thanksgiving.  No such luck.  It was like that the Friday before turkey day, then (supposedly the day after Thanksgiving, since I did not work that day) switched to Christmas all day long. I should have known.  It's been like that every year since I've worked at that store and every year I get tired of the day-long Christmas music rotation.

Just how many versions exist of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" or "Winter Wonderland"?  By the end of the week I will have heard at least five different versions of each or so it will seem.  It won't matter exactly how many.  It's not even December yet and the Christmas music and merchandise have already been on overload.  The merchandise has been coming since September and its displays overtook the Halloween ones before the calendar even switched to October., something that happens every year. The two holidays were even placed side-by-side.  

Strangely, the music system never plays "Do You Hear What I Hear?" or "Little Drummer Boy" and I imagine that those two have been covered by numerous artists.  One person I know wasn't aware of this version of "Drummer Boy".  

Friday, November 26, 2010

No Black Friday Madness for Me

I indicated earlier this week  that I would not be up at 4AM or whenever different stores planned to open this morning.  I was still in bed then, not having to go to work today.  Sometime today after 11AM, though, I did go into Kmart. There still seemed to be a lot of people and it was almost impossible to find any empty space in the parking lot.  I then went to Target which was similarly busy.  I did not buy a thing at either store.   I shudder to think how many people were in the stores earlier in the morning.  is the day after after Thanksgiving generally like in the photo below? I've wondered about that, but just can't get myself  to find out.  I would never wait out in the freezing air so early in the morning and I'm glad I work somewhere that does not have to open at 3AM or sometime like that.   And if you think 3 or 4 AM is early, some stores actually opened at midnight which seems even worse.  I definitely could not go that early. 
A crowd of shoppers last Black Friday.
Incidentally, the store I work is is across the way from a Walmart Superstore, which stays open 24 hours. And Best Buy is across the street from my work.  We are next to Old Navy and Famous Footwear.  I did not work today, but knew we were opening at 7AM.  I don't know what time Old Navy or Famous Footwear or Mattress Discounters (also in the same strip) opened to day, but I'm sure they weren't too busy--who would be buying clothes, shoes or mattresses today?

I had decided in advance to take advantage of today to go to the grocery store, since I rarely get to do so on a Friday. I also decided to see "Love and Other Drugs" since I wanted to see since I heard about it. I thought it was an all right movie.  I now plan to see "Tangled" on Sunday afternoon.  After the movie today, I headed to Safeway for  groceries.  It was unbusy today, but probably because most people are eating leftovers from last night.  This was the only shopping I did today.  

Here is the origin of the term Black Friday":

Black Friday as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869 in the United States. The earliest known reference to "Black Friday" to refer to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication on the day's significance in Philadelphia:

JANUARY 1966 -- "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.[13]

The term Black Friday began to get wider exposure around 1975, as shown by two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, both datelined Philadelphia. The first reference is in an article entitled "Army vs. Navy: A Dimming Splendor," in The New York Times:

Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it "Black Friday" - that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army–Navy Game. It is the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year in the Bicentennial City as the Christmas list is checked off and the Eastern college football season nears conclusion.

The derivation is also clear in an Associated Press article entitled "Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy," which ran in the Titusville Herald on the same day:

Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. ... "That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,'" a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. "They think in terms of headaches it gives them."

The term's spread was gradual, however, and in 1985 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that retailers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles were still unaware of the term.[14]

"Black Friday" is also the title of a song by the group Steely Dan.

My Thanksgiving Day

As I indicated earlier, I made plans to go to a  movie and then dinner with some family.  We went to see "Burlesque."  It was a very good movie and I suggest you all go see it.   Then we went to Casa de Fruta, a popular restaurant and gift place on Pacheco Pass halfway between Hollister and Gilroy, CA.  If you're ever in this area, stop at this place.  It's very popular among tourists.

This was about all.  It was very exhausting day and I could not stay awake to watch "The Simpsons Movie" on Fox last night.   I haven't seen it since it came out in 2007 and was looking forward to seeing it again!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Went into a grocery store tonight

I know how busy grocery stores can get on the eve of Thanksgiving, and I don't know why I bothered because I was not sure if I really needed anything.  I guess I just wanted to see.  

Earlier today after getting off work, I went over to Walmart to get face wash and found myself in a long line and noticed other long lines as well.  I then wondered what it would be like at Safeway.  Well, later in the day, hours after doing laundry, I drove to Safeway and could not even find a parking space.  It was silly of me to even think of trying to get into Safeway tonight. Everyone seems to go to Safeway.  Behind Safeway is Nob Hill, But I hardly ever go to that store. I wasn't going to bother with them, as I was sure they'd be busy and the parking lot would be crowded.  Savemart, across town, is hardly ever busy, even on the day before a major holiday.  I went over to that store and it was as unbusy as usual.  I took a cart  and went in, but ended up not buying anything. Since I won't be making a big dinner I really didn't need anything as far as I knew and guess I just wanted  to see how many people were actually at this store.  One year, I needed groceries during Memorial Day weekend and had passed by Safeway, noticing that the parking lot was full. So, I said "I'm going to Albertson's" (as Savemart was known then).  No  crowds there.    Tonight, despite not may customers, the parking lot at Savemart was a little full, as part of it was sectioned off with fences, supposedly for displaying an upcoming Christmas tree sale.

Another option is a local independent grocery store, two of which exist in my town. One of those two stores is across the street from where I live, making  it easy to walk to. I tend to only use this option when I need only a few things such as milk or ground beef. Otherwise it's across town to Safeway or Savemart.  I used this store across the street to get milk on Sunday, so I won't be running out tomorrow.  This is one of those things I worry might happen on the eve of a major holiday thus needing to get to the store.  I plan to make sure I have all my necessary stuff by Christmas Eve so I won't be in a grocery store madhouse that day. 

It seems that people who are at grocery stores on the eve of a major holiday are one of the following:
  1. Slackers: Those who put off getting important stuff until the night before the holiday.
  2. Unfortunates: Those who either forgot something important on their last trip to the store, or who unfortunately run out of milk or toilet paper or something on that morning. 
I always try not to be one of the slackers, but am always afraid of being one of the unfortunates.  But seeing that I have plenty of milk for a few days, I managed to avoid it on this holiday and plan to do the same of the next big holiday.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lucky Day

No, I didn't win the lotto nor did I even try, but something just as good--at least that's how I see it-- happened.  Today our boss passed out out store's scratcher card,which when scratched will either have a tip for avoiding shrink in store merchandise or will be an instant winner for a $10 gift card for the store.  Well, we each got two today and both of mine were instant winners. Getting one Instant Win card is hard (I've only gotten one other one before), but two at once is rather unusual. I could not believe it!  Now I can something.  If I only knew what I wanted to get...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quiz: What Fairy Tale Are You?

You Are Cinderella
You believe it's important to do the right thing, even if you aren't rewarded for it.
Not everyone treats you with respect, but good people see your goodness.

You've had a lot of bad luck, but these days it feels like you luck is about to change.
Even though times are tough, hang in there. You'll eventually get the life you justly deserve.

Thoughts on November and Thanksgiving

I'd have to say this is one of my least favorite months. Taking down my jack-o-lantern bags on the first day of this month, and waiting for Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving to pass, while seeing Christmas stuff all over stores. November is the dreary month in between October and its Halloween madness and December, with its frenzied holiday shopping that actually begins one day after Thanksgiving.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Thanksgiving, but in recent my family hasn't done much, and when they did, all anyone ever did was sit around watching football while waiting for dinner to be ready. For this year, my mom and I and a friend (with nothing to do herself) of the family are making plans to go out to dinner and then to a movie. We don't know which one yet, but I already having in mind three Thanksgiving Day premiers, "Tangled," "Burlesque," or "Love and Other Drugs." Then I'll be off on Friday, but have no plans to go shopping. I tend to avoid the Black Friday madness. Even though we have Target and Kmart in my town, I don't see myself awakening at 2AM on Friday to get ready and then rush down to either store. I always have to get up at 4AM for work and this one of the rare Fridays I don't have to that. If I must get out, I'll wait till later in the day since i have no intention of trying to buy something the stores predict will be sold out in the first few minutes of the early-morning shopping frenzy.

Many seem bothered by the fact that Thanksgiving is mostly ignored by stores and such. Very few decorations are sold, but then does anyone actually put stuff for Thanksgiving on their lawns and porches? For Halloween someone will hang a paper ghost from the edge of the roof or place a carved pumpkin on the lawn or porch, and for Christmas, they will hang colored lights on the side of the house and maybe place a statuette of Santa in the yard. And of there are the Christmas trees. But has anyone ever seen any comparable decorations on lawns and porches for Thanksgiving? None that I have ever seen. The most Thanksgiving gets is displays of turkey-roasting pans, bags of flour and boxes of stuffing. Both the Dollar Tree and Safeway in my town have displays like these right now. The last time I was at Safeway I saw Stove Top stuffing on sale "Buy One, Get One Free." I took advantage of this offer, even though I have no big plans for this Thursday. I figured stuffing is good for dinner any time. That night, I also got some chicken and made the chicken and stuffing for dinner that night. OK, back on track. Is this all Thanksgiving gets in stores? But I think this blogger said it best when he said we can't sell thankfulness:
I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact you can’t really “sell” Thanksgiving. On Halloween you sell costumes and candy. On Christmas you sell everything else and candy. Honestly though, on Thanksgiving it’s hard to sell anything other than turkey. Maybe that’s the reason. We live in America, you can’t sell thankfulness.

Zachary Indian Corn
I have to agree. Turkey and other food served for Thanksgiving dinners is about all stores and such seem to emphasize. And maybe a few tablecloths, paper plates, cups and napkins with turkey motifs. You don't see too many Thanksgiving-themed candies, unlike seasonal candies made for most other holidays. No Turkey Peeps, for instance. The Indian Corn version of Candy Corn comes close, but even that flavor is more commonly sold at Halloween, along with the regular orange, yellow and white Candy Corn. Candy Corn of course, comes in other holiday colors, such as the Reindeer Corn (red, green and white) for Christmas; the pink, white and red Valentines version, and the pastel-colored Easter variation.

And it seems that people sit around all Thanksgiving morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and then the football games. If the holiday is supposed to be a bout families being together, then how does watching all this stuff constitute that? Not everyone in the family likes football. Maybe you should consider the movie option?

Do I use November to start Christmas shopping? Not always, I can't remember when I last did so. Not sure about this year, since the month will be over in nine days.

Since I don't plan on trying to beat the early-morning crowds on Friday morning, I will likely still be in bed then, since this will be a rare Friday that I don't have to be up early for work. Unfortunately, even though I don't normally work such a shift or on such a night, I have to work next Saturday at 7PM. No clue as to why or what....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas stuff today...

Today Christmas songs started playing on the store intercom, but something different happened this year.  Apparently Christmas tunes won't be taking over the music system all day long till the day after Christmas as in previous years. Today several Christmas songs appeared intermittently between the usual stuff that plays over the intercom.  I don't know for sure if this is how it will be for the next month, but I'll be so glad if that is how it turns out.   This will be much better than having to hear Christmas music all day long. I believe this was how it was on the Kmart intercom the other day when I was visiting that store. 

After work I went across the street to the See's Candy Holiday store.  Like the Spirit stores for Halloween, the See's Candy Holiday stores are temporary, seasonal stores.  They open beginning in November and remain open until Christmas Eve.  And like the Spirit stores, the See's stores temporarily take over some abandoned retail space,  with a banner hanging over the storefront, as seen in the photo above.  This one is in a building abandoned by a carpet store called MMM Carpets.  The sign remains on the storefront, and is covered by black plastic.  Upon entering the candy store, I was greeted by a worker and treated to free candy samples, including some pieces of peppermint candy and some almond candy covered with chocolate.  I loved the almond ones, but can't remember what they are called!  How weird is that?  The store had several displays of boxed candies, including a few with Christmas designs.  

I've seen these stores in previous years, but don't recall ever going into one until now.   I've gone past regular See's candy store sin mall, but have never really gone into one of those.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas music at Kmart

It was weird enough seeing the racks of discounted leftover Halloween costumes and other Halloween items on the sidewalk at Kmart today. Is anyone actually buying that stuff nearly three weeks after the fact? I, for one, am not gonna decide on a Halloween identity for next year till August at the earliest, though I might do so earlier than that. But I'm still not ready to think about Christmas and have only minimal plans for Thanksgiving next week. Some family and I are planning to go out to dinner and to a movie that will open that day. And of course, I knew once I got into the store the Christmas stuff would be everywhere.

But I was a bit shocked to hear Christmas music over the store intercom. A Christmas tune by Elvis came on the intercom as I was exploring the display of 2011 calendars, one of the things I need to get over the next two months. I don't know when Kmart started playing the Christmas music as I can't remember exactly when I last entered the store, other than on Halloween eve.

My work's intercom hasn't started their day-long stream of Christmas music yet and I'm hoping when I go back tomorrow that it won't start then as it did last year, exactly one week before Thanksgiving last year. If that happens, then I feel that I have free rein to listen to my own Christmas CDs at home before turkey day is over. It is only one week from tomorrow.

So far Kmart is the only store at which I have heard any Christmas music over the intercom as of today. I also made runs to Target and to Safeway today and heard no Christmas music on the intercoms, just the displays of Christmas merchandise that have likely been coming in since September. A listening kiosk of Christmas music CDs has been at Target and I passed by it, hearing a sample. I didn't press any of the buttons and did not see any other customer do it, so I do not know how this happened. And I know I was not imagining it either. I'll admit I did try this display on a previous trip to Target earlier this month, however.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Already tired of seeing Christmas stuff

And it's not even Thanksgiving yet.  Of course, Christmas stuff seems to come as early as September and it's always up during November.  But seeing it already in October has always seemed to early for me, especially when it gets placed near the Halloween stuff.  It was like this at my local Kmart, prompting a fellow  customer to comment on the large artificial Christmas trees placed on the floor near the aisles of Halloween costumes and accessories.   At my work, Christmas displays start to overtake halloween displays before the calendar even switches over to October.  

I always vow not to put up any Christmas until Thanksgiving is over, with hopes of having Christmas decorations up by December 1, though I don;t always make it by that date.  Last year I started listening to my Christmas music CDs a week before Thanksgiving, since the music system at work switched over to its all-Christmas music then, rather than the day after turkey day as in previous years.  If you've ever worked anywhere that plays Christmas music all during winter, then you know what I have to endure all of December, not to mention the last few days of November.  By the first week that the holiday music run starts, I will have heard a at least five versions of the same Christmas songs by everyone including Bon Jovi, George Michael, Mariah Carey, Harry Connick Jr., Macy Gray,  the Jacksons---and that's not even the half of it!  December 26 can't come fast enough for me as far as this month-long music cycle goes.   I do like Elton's John's "Step Into Christmas" and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," and I have DCs that contain these songs that I got years ago.   And another person at work has been not looking forward to the upcoming Christmas songs over the store intercom for the next month or so.  

I cannot imagine how much more Christmas merchandise we can receive over the next month or so.  Last year, around December 5, Valentine stuff began arriving. yeah, can you believe that? before it was even Christmas.  I think that one could alt least wait until January, as I don't mind the idea of  Valentines stuff in January, since so little else happens that month after the first day.  August, to me, seems to early for Halloween (although I work in a store that doesn't carry school merchandise so there isn't much else to display that month) and September seems to early for Christmas.   

I'm not sure how soon I plan to start Christmas shopping.  But I'm not against the idea of doing so in November.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quiz: The Chocolate chip Cookie Oracle

You Are Easygoing and Forgiving
Your sense of humor is goofy and silly. You try to never hurt people with your jokes.

You are the type of person who is more life smart than book smart. You are creative and intuitive.

You have fun when you're doing something new. You crave novelty and different experiences.

You are the type of person who completes projects easily. You like to do one thing at a time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quiz: WHat Wizard of Oz character are you?

You Are Dorothy
You are a little lost right now, but you are slowly finding your way home.
You are a kind and loyal person. You are the truest friend anyone could ever have.

You have an active imagination, and you are intrigued by far away places. You make friends easily.
But at the end of the day, there is no place like home. You value your family and roots.

How weird is this since this was who I was on Halloween this year?