America the depressing
But while heartless greed comes naturally to the super-Scrooges of the modern world, I don't see what's in it for the hordes of shoppers who make it all possible. Are a few bucks in discounts really worth all that stress? Is it really worth lowering yourself to the level of a pack of starving dogs fighting over a bone so you can save a grubby few bucks on some mass-produced consumer product? You do realize that the oligarchs who own these chain stores, who make more money (off you) in a day than you do in a year, are laughing at you? Almost anything can be ordered over the internet these days. Even if it costs a bit more, isn't your dignity worth something?
Finally, this time of year makes me more glad than ever that I'm not a Christian. To anyone who takes Christmas seriously as a Christian holiday (which it actually isn't, of course), the commercialism, one-upmanship, mania for material possessions, and sheer vulgarity that have developed around it must make the most depressing time of year even more so.
I'll leave you with a new patriotic song for the age of quashed hopes and lowered expectations:
Not even all of this really bears close examination any more -- I don't know about the Italian cheese reference, but you might want to compare actual food-safety standards in Europe (or Japan) nowadays with those here, and I'm sure readers could think of many other examples.
But there are people working to change things. Maybe someday the people squabbling over the latest i-whatever will look up, rise up, and join them.