The recession hit most American business hard, in particular the real estate industry, but perhaps the second hardest hit was Big Retail. Retail sales growth was achingly slow over the past few years and this year is expected to be no different, in spite of a not terrible Black Friday that showed the corpse is only MOSTLY dead. This holiday season, in a push to improve sales numbers retailers won’t be pointlessly staffing up on retail sales staff. Instead, they are buying extra soldiers and the latest in weapons technology to guarantee shoppers will buy more this year.
Big Retail has always held a gun to our head to buy the latest Elmo doll, fluffy pink robe, or tool set every Christmas, but this year the stakes are higher as bankruptcies loom. Retailers aren’t willing to rely on the usual tactics of isolated violence and intimidation, emotional manipulation, and predatory pricing. They are bringing out the literal “big guns.” Several of the major national retail chains met at a Starbucks in Colorado over the summer to agree on and flesh out the details for the offensive. They passed a resolution to increase spending for “boots on the ground.” Recruitment offices were opened from coast to coast. One insider says Wal-Mart hired enough solders that every household in America could be paid one visit between now and December 25th. But no one thinks that will be necessary.
“It just simplifies things,” said James Bass, CEO of big box toy retailer Kids Korner. “It never made sense to make a product people wanted, or to lure them in with promotions or even with Santa Claus. All that was window dressing over the gun we held anyway. We tried giving people choices and look at the mess the economy is in!”
To pay for this mercenary buildup, stores have cut costs by dispensing with the usual glossy, Christmas catalogs replete with enticing goodies; Christmas decorations and extra customer service; and cinnamon-laced apple cider, gift wrapping, and other typical freebies. This year retailers acknowledge it was never about convincing people anyway since capitalism, i.e., free trade, is a vicious use of corporatist force inflicted on the poor and middle class. Instead, shoppers will receive simple invitations, randomly generated, telling each and every American what they must buy from the store by December 24th.
“Those goddamn capitalists are at it again!” whined Congressman Weasel (D-MA). “Forcing the people to buy their products…it’s an outrage! Besides, they are trampling on our rights! By that I mean the government’s rights. Only we should be allowed to force people to buy stuff, like health care. Big Retail has finally overstepped its bounds. ”
Consumers, long used to the numbing, chronic fear that accompanies Christmas shopping, are understandably concerned by this latest Big Retail strategy to steal their money. Jeff Lacey of the Portland Oregon Consumer Advocacy Group represented consumers when he said in an interview with MSNBC yesterday, “I would call for a boycott…if I didn’t think I’d be lined up and shot for that kind of display of disobedience. I just hope we can avoid violence. We have been living under the yoke of capitalist greed for centuries now and I think we are all wondering, where will it end?”
Excellent question. I posed it to Big Retail spokesman Jeff Slagameyer, who responded, “Just for that insolence I’m going to put you on the list to buy an iPad.”
“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.” –Henry Hazlitt
Sunny is a political satirist whose videos have been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere. Find out more about Sunny by checking out her blog, House of Sunny. Enjoy her most recent Youtube hit here, and don’t miss her earlier videos on her YouTube page: