Commentary: Influencing Retail Madness

Thanksgiving 2007 Downtown Minneapolis 7
Photo by Randy Stern

Seriously, this whole inducement of consumerism after the (USA) Thanksgiving is getting out of hand.

The latest ploy began hours after the last piece of dessert was consumed with 9:00PM starts for two discount big box retailers. Not to be outdone are consumers camping out in front of other big box retailers just to grab the biggest discounts of what was stocked on the shelves.

This is why I am not much of a consumer. In practical terms, I stay away from the big retailers as much as possible during the Post-Thanksgiving cycle.

Yet, I am somewhat of a hypocrite.

A month ago, my editor at Lavender Magazine asked me to contribute to their pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Gift Guide edition. She cited that I represent a unique perspective through my subcultural identity and my position as a member of the automotive media corps. I accepted her proposal and went to work.

If you read last week's edition of Lavender, you may have found my gift guide amongst my fellow scribes. I am not one to compare, but I have to admit being the true odd duck amongst what others offered up from their lists.

I had no shame in taking that mantle.

Why? Look at the items I proposed on my list. It is an exact mix of what my editor had in mind. It also reflects my path during my eight-plus years in the Twin Cities. Let me explain…

First, the automotive stuff reflects recent conversations amongst fellow enthusiasts and scribes in the business. We love GoPro cameras. We have seen the amazing video coming from these small devices. This is why auto journalists who work in video utilize them. This is also why motorsports enthusiasts use them to record their efforts.

Of course, talking to some of my friends outside of the auto business sometimes would come up with other uses for the GoPro cameras. Since this is a family-friendly website, I will refrain from explaining what we came up with.

Throwing in the Simpson racing shoes was intended to weed out the real enthusiasts from the poseurs. The reason for picking Simpsons came from conversations as to which shoes work in most situations. Heat protection is important to a motorsport enthusiast, especially when doing serious track work. These shoes represent an intention of being prepared when called upon driving on a track.

This leads into my offering up of taking track lessons at Brainerd International Raceway. BIR is the closest track for enthusiasts to the readership of Lavender and provides a serious arena to learn on. The purpose of tying in the Performance Driving School at BIR with the driving shoes is to not make my readers into motorsports enthusiasts. It is to help us become better drivers. We could use a few more on our streets.

A reader did ask about the suit listed on the gift guide. If you have been to a media event, some of us need to truly suit up. Admittedly, I do not have a proper suit, as I am not a "business professional dress" person to begin with. However, if one wants to succeed in this business and would be ready to take this career – or any career – to the next level, a well-appointed business suit must be in your wardrobe. It should be properly packed in your case when you travel.

The other items may or may not be of direct interest to you, but I am compelled to explain a couple of my choices.

There is an emphasis on "local" literary and visual artists towards the bottom of my list. If you have watched my path over these past eight years, you will see why. The idea is to drive the Lavender readership towards shopping locally – from the artists and writers themselves. Rather, from local galleries and bookstores featuring these artists.

Before this site began its current path, I was involved in the LGBT literary arts community in the Twin Cities. Their guidance and influence helped shape what you read on here. I still have my foot in this community and do what I can to help promote these scribes – especially my friends – any way I can. This is why I picked the cover of John Medeiros' newest collection of poems as my representative book for local literary artists. Medeiros is actually an influential part of the work you see here. It is my way of thanking him.

This is not to single out a specific artist. Through the lens of my former graduate school work in Arts and Cultural Management, featuring the work of Mike Welton was also intentioned to use as an example of this deep LGBT visual arts community here in the Twin Cities and Upper Midwest. Welton happens to be a friend of mine and, yes, I have a print of one of his pieces at home.

Even automotive people would appreciate the fact that we have diverse pursuits outside of this arena. You might be a participant in these pursuits. Creative people have a way to gravitate to each other in some way or another. Hence my point in including the idea of supporting the local arts scene in my gift guide contribution.

If you are one who dare venture out shopping today, I salute you. Your bank salutes you. Your credit card company salutes you. Even your fellow shoppers might consider saluting you. Just do not get into trouble when you are after the big discounted item today at the store of your choice.

Patience, dear shopper…patience.

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