Monthly Archives: November 2009

Black Friday 2009

Wal Mart is jumping the gun and having a “black friday” sale Saturday Nov 7.

Now I don’t shop at Wal mart, I feel they screw their employees, and compete unfairly using Chinese factories overseas to undercut American manufacturers and retailers, hurting, sometimes destroying local businesses.

But Wal Mart jumping the gun like this, not even waiting for Turkey Day before doing holiday sales, it reveals something serious. For all the good Stocks are doing, the fact of massive unemployment and worse underemployment means people have less money to spend, have to spend with care – and this is likely to be a dismally poor sales season for retailers.

There is no recovery without economic recovery on “mainstreet”, American businesses require consumers, and consumers require good paychecks. The ‘McJobs’ in retail don’t generally pay well enough for spending beyond necessities, and retail is the #1 employer in America right now. We don’t manufacture – we sell.

In a recession, the Wal Mart formula of a lower price with low wages for their employees and factory labour overseas, is a winning formula. Which is sad because their business formula is what’s wrong with America in a nutshell. And that Wal Mart is jumping the gun on “Black Friday”, it clearly suggests the cheapest retailer around believe it has to expand the holiday season as much as possible to break even.

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, businesses create jobs, people with jobs have money and become consumers that give business money. So start a business, and support local business. This blog has been about e-commerce, but all of us live somewhere, use your profits to help your local economy!

RIP Patrick B. Cooke

My father died the Saturday before last, his funeral was last week, Saturday.

Something of a surprise mourning for him, tho he seemed lost for the last few years from alzheimers. He was a brilliant guy, ghost wrote doctoral thesis and worked as a database programmer and writer of technical manuals.

As a child Patrick had been something of a monster Father to me. The backstory of Patrick’s neurosis involved his being a child prodigy and becoming insecure as a teen, as the very smart teenager just doesn’t rate the same quality of attention a very smart kindergärtner rates. As an adult Patrick couldn’t have enough attention, be too smart or allow himself to ever be without an answer. As his child I was in a no win situation, one one hand I must be as much a child prodigy as he’d been, on the other hand the most threatening thing I could possibly be would be a child prodigy, a threat to the child prodigy my father never stopped being emotionally.

Generally my childhood to adolescence consisted of my Dad affirming that I’m stupid and incompetent, with occasional episodes of cathartic violence I ‘deserved’ for being stupid and/or incompetent.

It was when my Mother tragically died, that I saw my father break down, feeling responsible. On seeing this I immediately understood that my father wasn’t malicious or cruel, but weak and insecure. I was 17, I never lived with my Father again.

In my adulthood I never interacted with my father much. I did confront him and tell him the pain that was my experience of his parenting. He explained that telling me I’m stupid, incompetent and worthless was his way of encouraging me. I didn’t exactly feel heard. But I did forgive him – really I forgave him when I realized his fundamental insecurity years before.

My father remarried, a Black woman that fawned over him and his intellect. That relationship resolved in divorce and her being hospitalized for psychological issues. She became paranoid about Patrick and the Cook(e) family. Then father started getting dementia.

The problem with my meeting my father , especially with being with him, is that he’d fall into familiar patterns with me and find reasons to fault me for stupidity and/or incompetence. I don’t need that, I’m actually pretty smart and competent when someone isn’t cheerleading for my shortcomings.

I visit my Dad in this time he’s having episodes of dementia, and he ‘snaps out of his dementia’ enough to become his ‘old self’ with me. My Aunt Robbie, who also lived in Buffalo and helped Patrick when she could – would lay in the guilt trip with me ever after, after all, it was me that got him to be his old self again! The problem is that it’s exactly that old self that operates in patterns of abuse and has me relive that abuse. I do feel guilty. But what’s so is so.

For the past year, Patrick has been in a nursing home, his alzheimers advanced and really he never registered recognition for me at all. He was happy enough, always he appreciated being taken care of so in that aspect the nursing home could be appreciated by him.

I should note, that if you weren’t family, Patrick could be one of the nicest most generous and compassionate people you could meet. If he was driving and came by a motorist with car trouble, he’d stop and offer what assistance he was able. When he had money he’d lend it freely. And he backed up his claim of encyclopaedic knowledge regularly with sound information.

Now my father has died, of pneumonia, I find myself missing him, mourning his life and the fact the great books he meant to write couldn’t be written in his dementia. Just before he died, my Father did register recognition of who I was non-verbally, I do get that he loved me. I do love my father despite not being able to be with him. From him I get my own gifts of intellect, from him I’ve learned to confess that I do not know when I don’t, from him I’ve learned to not take tomorrow for granted. Should I meet him again in an afterlife, I hope he’s learned as well, that his company is something I can enjoy.

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