I’m sitting here on Sunday, watching it snow, trying to follow the Steelers football game against the Browns and corresponding with former coworkers who are wondering who replaced me in the “do we close the office” decision making role. I hated to tell them, but it’s the CEO, the guy who grew up in Buffalo, owns a Jeep and loves to drive in snow. I find myself paying a little closer attention to the Internet, my blog comments and your blogs, but my inbox is driving me crazy,
First off, my unscientific averaging – because if I gave you data-driven-statistics on a Monday I’d be in trouble – tells me that my inbox includes an equal amount of “Last day of Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday starts today” ads and offers. Two allegedly one-day events that have been littering my inbox for weeks are ramping up the sense of urgency today.
Perhaps that’s due to the second absurd thing that’s making my head spin. Are you aware that there are fewer shopping days before Christmas because Thanksgiving was on November 28th? Despite the fact that Target was putting up Christmas decorations in October, and Black Friday sales have been running since Veterans Day, retailers are complaining that the lateness of the fourth Thursday is costing them millions. As if anyone has been waiting until this weekend to start shopping – it’s not NASCAR, you can shop at any speed before the Thanksgiving Day pace car pulls into pit row. Heaven help us in 2023 when Thanksgiving will fall on November 30th.
The third absurd thing today is the weather. Not the actual weather, but the forecasting/reporting of same. The National Weather Service has predicted that we will get between 4″ and 11″ of snow (10 – 25.4cm). I’m sorry, but that’s hedging your bets a little too much if you call yourself a weather service. That’s the difference between “I can push most of this around with a shovel” and “fire up the snow blower.” The most absurd part of this is this is New England! Last time I checked, we have winter every year. Winters have actually been getting milder in recent years, but weather people act like every snowstorm is a potential apocalypse.
The fourth absurd thing, clearly related to the third, or at least the underlying cause – to make news seem relevant – is the offering of travel tips. These include: “drive carefully” – I understand, most New Englanders normally drive with reckless abandon, but to offer this as if it’s sage advice is a bit much. Coming in at a close second to that bit of wisdom is: “start your journey early” – let’s all say it together… duh! The most absurd travel tip is: “consider changing your plans to an earlier flight” – like that’s even possible. For a family of four, on most airlines, that’s an $800 effort that will leave all four people sitting in a center seat rows apart from each other.
As I close this post, let me offer you my forecast. I have no doubt the storm will be blamed for tragically dismal retail sales, even though Monday is a day dedicated to shopping online. People will spend valuable time clearing their driveways and slogging their way to work. Once there, they will collectively grouse about having to come to work on such an awful day before returning to their desks and beginning their Internet shopping. Shopping will likely be interrupted, often, by checking the weather and the list of cancelled events (which will include everything). Making matters worse for those poor retailers, the storm is supposed to return late Monday afternoon, which may prompt employers to let people get stuck in the evening commute earlier.
At least the Steelers won!
Today’s gallery are some photos from around the neighborhood on a cold weekend.