Have you heard of this thing called Cyber Monday? It's all about being Cyber, on a Monday. Or it's about doing online shopping today, the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is the Monday following Small Business Saturday, which is the Saturday following Black Friday. These are days in which your duty as an American is to shop. So shop to it, get shopping, shoppa loppa ding dong! Except, no, sit down. On Cyber Monday you are supposed to shop without going anywhere. You are supposed to shop using only your fingers and the payment information that has been saved by, or you are currently delivering to, your favorite online retailers who are giving you such awesome bargains on this Cyber Monday that you'll brag about those bargains attained all through Tarmac Tuesday and Workaday Wednesday and Topsoil Thursday, into Franchise Friendly Friday and up to Credit Card Christmas/Hanukkah and Buying Easter Stuff Easter and Visa Veterans Day, and so on. There are so many days in which one can purchase wildly in this here America, land of gold American Express cards, presuming one has such cards and ideally the money with which to pay them off. Debt, while American, is not very Cyber Monday-friendly.
It seems like it gets worse every year, or maybe it's just that we complain about it in louder decibels, this increasingly slippery slope from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in which stores are pushing the next holiday's inventory faster than we can breathe. Always we are being enthusiastically prodded to buy, and for those of us who spend our days on the Internet rather than in bricks and mortar stores or walking down streets to suddenly, mysteriously piped-in holiday music, Cyber Monday is the worst offender in the battle of the Mondays. As our Rebecca Greenfield points out, as much as it's been called a farce, a marketing ruse, and a brutish coercion to buy, Cyber Monday has a hold on us, and it takes only a quick search of Google or Twitter to confirm that sad truth. For a fake thing, it's awfully real. And it's bigger and badder than a simple day: Cyber Monday is now not enough. The powers that want to sell us things desire a Cyber Week. From that we can only assume a Cyber Month, a Cyber Year, a Cyber Decade, a Cyber Century to come. Rather ironically, as linguist Ben Zimmer points out, cyber is a word that we started using in the '60s—and it's not getting any younger, yet the Cyberists are still trying to make Cyber happen. And in as much as they've succeeded, here is your Cyber-antidote.
If you have a case of the Cyber Mondays, you're probably asking yourself, "How do we stop the Cyber Train?" It is simple. Refuse to partake! Reclaim your Monday! Here are a few suggested Cyber Monday Alternatives.
Regular Monday. You've overslept after finally falling asleep after waking up throughout the night with nightmares about work-related mishaps like you always do on Sleepless Sunday. Crap. You throw on some clothes and are halfway down the street when you realize you put on two different shoes and have your pants on inside out. You go to work anyway and spill coffee down the front of your brand new white shirt. You pop online because there are so many irresistible sales going on right now and your inbox is simply clogged with discount offers; it would be a mistake not to take advantage, and it's only 15 minutes out of your day, right? Plus you know the stain's not going to come out; you've been here before. So you point and click and suddenly your boss is peering over your shoulder and grinning and shrugging. "Cyber Monday, huh?" Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Sometimes you really hate yourself, and sometimes you get free shipping. Back to work, quick, the boss is still looking.
Cider Monday. This is a day in which you only drink cider, preferably cider you purchased online for the particular day from that great online retailer that was offering great cider at a significant discount on the Monday after Thanksgiving, yum. It's a movement. Deal.
Today is going to be Cider Monday because that's what I'll drink today, preferably warmed.— Level 60 Wizandrist (@verylemonade) November 26, 2012
Old-School Monday. Go in some stores and buy some stuff, maybe for the holidays, maybe not. Whatever you do, it's effortlessly retro.
Freaky Monday. You and your Mom, you know she loves you and you love her, but you're always butting heads. She won't loan you her clothes. She wonders why you, a 30-something-year-old woman, are still living at home. You think she grounds you way too much, and wonder how she manages to be so epically unhip [eye roll; sigh]. On a Monday morning as you reach for the coffee and she reaches for the Cheerios you bump heads, and suddenly you're eating Cheerios with Lactaid and she's taking her coffee with two Splendas and a dash of skim milk. For the rest of the day you have to figure out how to change places again, lest you be stuck in your mom's body, online, buying Mary Higgins Clark mysteries online from Barnes and Noble and sweaters from L.L. Bean while she's mucking up your Etsy shoppe and selling off all the best stuff for way too cheaply this Cyber Monday. But, you know, it's good to put things into perspective now and again.
Luddite Monday. You don't even turn on your computer and instead go on a technology-bashing rampage, shouting at every computer, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android, Kindle, and/or other Internet-connected and/or tech device you see. Things get a little crazy; you're not exactly sure what happened, it's all a blur, but there was smashing and high-pitched beeps and later you awoke with a terrible headache and a carpal-tunnely sort of feeling in your wrists, surrounded by a pile of wires and rubble. Still later, in jail, when they ask if you want to make a phone call, tell them to "ping" your best friend and have her PayPal some money over for your release. For best ironic effect, tweet the entire experience.
Bieber Monday. This is a Monday in which you think only of Justin Bieber. Moving on.
Cipher Monday. You are a spy and must infiltrate enemy lines under the name "John Smith" or "Angelica Hufflepumpkins." Neither is your real name, of course—you don't remember your real name, only that you woke up in a laboratory and were told by a man in a white coat to "complete mission." You have no idea what he means, but are pretty sure from what you do know that your story would make a good movie. You fit in everywhere and make no impact; you have no footprint, you don't even wear noticeable shoes, and you're definitely not going to use your credit card to purchase some J.Crew sweaters even if they are on a really, really, really awesome sale.
Cyborg Monday. You are a cyborg, and it is Monday.
Tuesday. Tomorrow, thank God.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.