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STELLPFLUG COLUMN: Black Friday started a month ago and Christmas is not at-risk

STELLPFLUG COLUMN: Black Friday started a month ago and Christmas is not at-risk

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Who are they trying to fool? Long before Thanksgiving, even before Halloween, we were getting notices one way or another of “Early Bird Specials” and “Black Friday Pre-sales.” “Black Friday Deals Start Now” was in a circular on Nov. 5 from Kohl’s. Not to be outdone, Costco leaked “Holiday Savings,” their Black Friday sales opening, on Oct. 11.

This was all playing into the shortages created by delays in shipping items. Yes, there are some blips in supply and demand right now. Parts and people are in short supply, but fear not. Christmas is not ruined already, because items in aluminum cans may be delayed.

To think some of us were worried about cargo sitting on docks and not getting our goods here in time for the great American Gift Extravaganza. No worries, just buy early and multiples of everything in case there might be a shortage created by those who are buying multiples.

Is anybody else wondering how merchants can take one 24-hour day and turn it into not just a weekend but four, six or eight weeks? It’s nothing short of a miracle and we are witnesses to great abundance at rock bottom prices.

We’ve all seen the container ships lined up in California and have heard the supply chain woes. Some of us have experienced not being able to buy a widget or receive something in a timely way. But is the chaos in the shipping industry choking the economy? Are we so immobilized we need 30 or 40 Black Fridays in a row just to stock up on everything we didn’t know we needed?

This new crack in the cosmic egg of commerce might just be one more in a series of dupings that cause us to lose sleep at night. I’ve not heard from any local artisans, restauranteurs or shop owners that their merchandise is in holding tanks in China. Buying locally can ease fears and support your community. Gift cards to all local businesses can offer recipients of your generosity an opportunity to chose meals, items and activities they will enjoy.

Now what does that have to do with all the shortages? I am not dismissing the real impaired flow of goods and a diminished workforce, but I am saying we can work through this without panicking and without feeling deprived of our favorite brand of toilet paper.

The threatened shortages of pumpkin and pet food have started a run on things, but know that there is not a nationwide shortage of food. The problem could be defined more as a food waste problem. But that’s another topic.

Bottlenecks may inconvenience us a bit, but demanding everything now is not the answer. If we can’t be flexible, we are doomed anyway. If we can’t be patient, we have learned nothing these past 20 months. If we can’t purchase a different brand of diapers without swearing, yelling at a store employee and blaming the politician of your choice, resilience is not something to put on your job application.

This all started before we get into December. It started before the Black Friday sales. Before we all get our underwear in a bundle, let me gently remind everyone, Christmas is not at risk. That’s what this all was leading to, you know. To say Christmas is at risk because of the supply chain is like saying your birthday is at risk because your hairdresser had to cancel your appointment.

Do I have to channel the Grinch one more time and say, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more”? Seriously, the ribbons and tags and boxes and bags have little to do with the real meaning of Christmas. Time to remain calm and rejoice, instead of panic and purchase.

Celebrate Christmas however you choose, but be comforted in knowing that, if the answer was Christmas, even Matt Amodeo would answer, “What is not in jeopardy?”

Kay Stellpflug is an educator and trainer in interpersonal and professional communications. She works and lives in Beaver Dam and can be reached at


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