Quick! We must name the other shopping days of Thanksgiving weekend

The creation of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27 has made it painfully aware to me that America must name the remaining days of Thanksgiving weekend. It’s no longer enough that we have Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or the granddaddy Black Friday — all seven days starting this Wednesday must have names.
Although I’m still working on my front-of-the-napkin notes, here’s my initial proposal.
(By the way, why do people always use the back of the napkin? The front works perfectly well.)
Why Not Wednesday? – You’re on the road, trying to get to grandma’s house while avoiding suffering a flat tire or being felt up by security agents. The stress is starting to mount. Some retail therapy is just the palliative. One little cookie, McRib or small appliance won’t hurt much (in the short term). Why not?
Try-to-Forget Thursday – OK, so Wednesday shopping didn’t help that much. You’re now at grandma’s house and remember why you only visit once a year. The blaring volume from the game on the HDTV in the family room rivals that of the screaming kids in the living room trying to re-enact the “Clash of the Titans” in a blanket fort. Shopping to the rescue once more as you sequester yourself in the guest room, hunched over a laptop perched precariously on a toy chest, trying to get good-sounding deals.
Apparently, this is actually becoming a strong online shopping day as many retailers start their Friday sales early on their websites, according to The Record in New Jersey.
Black Friday
Small Business Saturday
Still Shopping Sunday – You’re a marathoner and the race isn’t done. Get your second wind and get back out there. There’s got to be a second cousin out there that needs a knick-knack or commemorative candle that smells like crushed glass.
Cyber Monday
Tired Tuesday – You’ve been shopping non-stop for seven days. Perhaps it’s time to give you and your credit card a break? If you can’t resist, maybe you could buy some organizers or storage units to manage all of the things you bought on your week-long orgy of consumerism.
Of course, all of these named days are gimmicks. Black Friday was popularized by retailers as the busiest shopping day of the year (although it’s usually the days around Christmas). Cyber Monday was conjured up by online retailers to juice their Web sales.
Small Business Saturday is no different. As far as I can tell, it was devised by American Express as a promotion for its OPEN small business services.
Perhaps there is enough room for three big shopping days during the Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe if we work hard enough, we can push it to seven glorious celebrations of shopping.
So those are my ideas for the shopping days of Thanksgiving. What would you call them?

As Christmas shopping days tick away, check this tip list twice

With Christmas just days away, I’m offering some holiday shopping advice. Thinking of gifts can be pretty stressful, so my list is a slightly humorous take on the tradition. Here’s a sample:

shopping tip #001–while there is _huge_ difference between “The
Clapper” and the clap, neither is a welcome holiday gift.

It started with that one and I was inspired to keep going. I’m dishing these tips every day on my Twitter account, but you can also view all of them on this page.

I hope to have a tip every day up until Christmas, but coming up with them can be tough (especially if I was trying to be funny). If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments.

The curry test

The curry test

I was camping last weekend when my group decided to duck into a local market for some ice. While they went to make their purchase, I walked around and decided to look for some curry sauce mix.

I wasn’t planning on mixing up some Asian food during the camping trip — it’s part of an ongoing test I have to determine the quality of grocery store.

I call it, the curry test.

It’s a simple test — I just check to see if the store carries my brand of curry sauce mix (S&B) in the Asian food section.

The test is simple and straightforward for my needs. It allows me to make some snap judgment on the quality of the grocery and the town it resides in.

If a store has the curry, I generally tend to think that the store is well stocked in more cosmopolitan fare and perhaps serves a more diverse group of shoppers.

Stores that don’t stock it seem incomplete in my eye and to some extent the community also seems to be missing something.

There may not be any rhyme or reason for why a store would stock curry. Population may be a factor with larger cities being more likely to have it. When I lived in Hancock, Mich., the smaller markets near my house didn’t have it, but the larger supermarket across the canal in Houghton did.

The Thriftway market in tiny Dunsmuir, Calif. had it on the top shelf of a rather small ethnic food section. However, it wasn’t at the Graeagle Store in the even tinier Graeagle, Calif.

College town Chico has the sauce mix at most stores, but I almost wrote the town off because it wasn’t at the first store I checked (the college neighborhood Safeway on West Sacramento Avenue).

Geography may play a factor too. While curry can be found in small rural communities, it can also be missing in larger cities, like Saginaw, Mich.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the large chain supermarket in left-leaning Middletown, Conn. This is a town with a lot of diverse eateries, but I had to ship relief packages to my New England friends because their local store didn’t stock it.

Here’s are some of the towns and stories where I have sought curry (by population):

Graeagle, Calif. (pop. 831): No.
Dunsmuir, Calif. (pop. 1,801): Check.
Hancock, Mich. (pop. 4,158): Nope
Houghton, Mich. (pop. 6,878): Definitely at EconoFoods.
Middletown, Conn. (pop. 48,030): Not at the Stop & Shop.
Saginaw, Mich. (pop. 55,620): We tried the Kroger and settled for Thai curry mix.
Chico, Calif. (pop. 83,791): Many stores do, but not the student neighborhood Safeway.

Of course, this test is purely subjective. You may have some essential comfort food that you just can’t live without. For me, you’ve gone a long way to gaining a new customer if you’ve curry boxes on your store shelves.

Image: Several boxes of curry sauce mix were for sale at the Thriftway store in downtown Dunsmuir, Calif. in Feb. 2009.