Today is Alexa’s Christmas and Easter, all in one…


I just asked Alexa about the weather, and she told me what my glances out the window had caused me to suspect: Those little sunshine icons I saw on my phone yesterday were misleading. Today, it will be damp and cloudy, at least until mid-afternoon.

No big deal.

But then she added, unbidden:

By the way, it’s Cyber Monday. To shop Amazon deals, just ask.

For me, today is the day after the first Sunday of Advent. For Alexa, the universe is shaped differently.

From a first-week-of-Advent perspective, we might ask ourselves, “Why did God make you?” turn to the Baltimore Catechism and be told that “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”

But Alexa was created by Amazon, and Jeff Bezos made her to sell stuff.

It gives her a whole different perspective on existence.

All of that said, we might ask what meaning “Cyber Monday” has in the universe of 2020. I mean, isn’t every day kind of Cyber Monday? Or Tuesday, or whatever?

As I recall, the idea — as ecommerce first came into its own — was that after the execrable “Black Friday,” the first day that people were back at “work” and sitting at their computers, they spent a scandalous (from the perspective of their employers) amount of time ordering stuff online.

This seemed to fit with what I saw after I started blogging in 2005: People read blogs and commented during what we generally thought of as office hours. Nights and weekends? Forget it — no point in posting anything then.

But we’ve just spent a whole year in which millions worked from home. And in which people avoided stores and bought more and more stuff online every day.

So… what’s special about Cyber Monday now?

Maybe nothing. I went to Amazon on my browser, expecting to see a huge display showing how exciting Cyber Monday allegedly was… and was greeted by the rather boring display of administrative functions you see below. No mention of a special day of any kind.

I had to click again on the Amazon logo in the upper-left corner to see the deals you see above. And I had to scroll down the page to see those. The top of the page was a promo for some made-for-Prime movie called “Uncle Frank.” (I saw a preview for that, and couldn’t tell what it was about, so I’m kind of doubting I’ll watch it.)

So maybe it’s not such a special day after all. But no one told Alexa. Perhaps they didn’t want to spoil her childlike wonder. She’s young, so she’s like a kid this time of year. You say good morning to her, and she’s all “Santa Claus is coming!”

Which would be adorable, were she actually, you know, a child


3 thoughts on “Today is Alexa’s Christmas and Easter, all in one…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    You know, I thought SOMEBODY would be interested in discussing “Cyber Monday” and whether it’s still a thing, or how we are actually shopping these days, and how that is affected by the pandemic, etc.

    But I’ve discovered in my 15 years of blogging that there is one constant: I never know for sure what’s going to interest my readers. It’s hit and miss.

    Especially when I’ve grown weary of talking about the election that ended (well) a month ago (and went on for far too long before that). Or other things politics-related. Which means I’m going to try variety of topics — and sometimes y’all will find them interesting, and sometimes you want.

    I’ve had what I think is a good idea kicking around in my head the last few days, but it would take a bunch of time to write, and dang it, I’ve got a lot of work to do. But I’ll get to it eventually. It has to do with stuff I’ve been watching and listening to about how the internet has, for all its virtues, rewired our brains, and not in a good way.

    Anybody listen to the NYT podcast series “Rabbit Hole?” Or watch the documentary “The Great Hack?” They’re about different things, but it’s the commonality I want to talk about…

  2. James Edward Cross

    Not really much to say. Remember when “Black Friday” was a big deal? Now we have them throughout the year. Cyber Monday has gone through the same process, maybe a little faster. Some folks will continue to follow because they’ve made it into a Thanksgiving holiday tradition but otherwise it’s just another attempt to get you to buy stuff.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s hard to imagine something so tawdry and stressful being a Thanksgiving “tradition.” But I know what you mean.

      Back on Black Friday 2007, I went to Macy’s in New York, just so I’d be able to say I’d done it. Thought about going to see Santa, but he was several floors up and the mobs waiting to use the elevators convinced me it wouldn’t be worth it…

      Anyway, I did it, and that was enough for me. I posted video (much lower-res than we’re used to now) at the time…


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