Cyber Monday Is For Wimps

Real bargain hunters know that Black Friday is the most badass way to shop and save

Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday, can’t trust that day.

My inbox was flooded yesterday with one-day-only deals from DSW (up to $50 off!), Modells (25 percent off a single item!), New York Times (50 percent off a digital subscription!), Petco (25 percent off site-wide!), and LivingSocial Deals (15 online holiday deals!), among many others.

I don’t know about you, but all those exclamation marks made me suddenly crave decaf.

When did Cyber Monday become such a big whup, anyway? Created in 2005 as a virtual alternative to Black Friday, it doesn’t hold an e-candle to the real thing, which has been around since the ’60s.

For those in a media vacuum, Black Friday is the post-Thanksgiving orgy in which shoppers stampede each other to death in order to grab the hot bargains. I have no problem with that.

With Black Friday, you can experience the thrill of outwitting, outplaying and outlasting your competitors in a real–not cyber–battle for survival. It’s better than sex, almost. And let’s not forget the bliss of bringing home your hard-won spoils and regaling your friends with victory stories.

Black Friday is a balls-out battle. Cyber Monday is a tiptoe through the tulips. Where’s the honor? Where’s the glory? Where’s the hospital receipt?

My most embarrassing Black Friday episode took place several years ago, in Filene’s Basement in Washington. As serious bargain hunters know, every day is Black Friday at Filene’s. On this particular Black Friday, it looked like the fall of Saigon in ’75. We’re talking Apocalypse Now madness.

I was on patrol with my older sister, a world-class shopper whom I was visiting for the holiday. I had scored a pair of dynamite flannel pajamas for practically nothing. I put them down for a nanosecond to grab another set from a different pile. You know the rest.

Funny thing is, I wasn’t angry. Except at myself, for being so stupid in a war zone. I learned an important lesson that day. You might want to write it down: On Black Friday, anything less than hyper-vigilance means immediate, unconditional surrender.

For a wimpy, multi-tasking Cyber Monday shopper, Black Friday would be a death wish. Maybe it’s better they stay away. Me, I’ll continue to imagine myself as Maximus–fighting my way through the aisles, searching for the bargain that will set me free.

Those of us who are about to shop salute you.