Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

It’s nothing personal.

Friday morning before packing out of the flat, it’s just after midnight in the Midwest, and thousands of people are already going crazy for deals. I hope they’re not stampeding anyone to death.

Not that I’d be out at just after midnight after a full Thanksgiving Day meal. I hate shopping. The addition of crowds of rabid, manic deal addicts just makes the whole thing that much worse, I don’t care what kind of deal you’re offering. There’s nothing like a bunch of sales between midnight and 6am to really get you into the spirit of Christmas – seeing as the Christmas season officially begins at midnight of Thanksgiving. Unofficially, of course, it begins right around Halloween, when all the retailers break out their seasonal reminders – hey everyone! In case you’ve forgotten, we’ve got Christmas this year!

I don’t know about you, but my memory of Dutch history is pretty sketchy. The British East India company comes to mind before the Dutch East India company does, even though the Dutch one might have come first. When you walk around the city, there are the stereotypical stores – for tulips, ceramics, for bike rentals. But there are also a surprising number of antiquary shops filled with curios from around the world, and then I remember, yeah, the Dutch, they plundered good.

This is a country of business people. They’re not selling us hash and sex because they’re immoral vice-pushers in the employ of Satan. They’re selling us hash and sex because it’s good business.

There’s some moral high ground I could climb up to here, but I’ve got to do some online research first for a TV I just remembered I wanted to pick up on the way back from the airport. I hear that today is a good day for sales in the States.

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