Friday, November 26, 2010
"When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole. Gonna lay down in it ‘til I satisfy my soul". – Steely Dan
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. The family and I were heading home from my wife’s aunt’s house. It was 10:00 PM. On our way back home we decided to see if there was anyone in line yet for Black Friday, the official ‘first shopping day of the holiday season’ when stores are supposed to go from being ‘in the red’ to being ‘in the black’. This is the BIG day for merchants & holiday shoppers, advertising agencies & stockholders. This is the day that the general public has been programmed to respond to the endless barrage of sales pitches & ‘door buster sales’. It’s like we have been personally invited to SHOP and come skipped heating bills or bankruptcy THAT’S just what we’re gonna do!
Folks have been know to erect single file tent cities with sleeping bags & cots or to sit on foldable stadium chairs sipping on thermoses full of coffee just waiting for that magic moment for the doors to open at 4, 5, or 6 AM and for the carnage, that the holiday season has become, to begin. Now don’t get me wrong here, Gentle Reader; I’m not throwing stones. I can remember being in such lines waiting to get a ticket that guarantees my purchase for one of the limited number of ________ (insert item here) that the store had. I stood in line for a Nintendo Wii when they first came out and I remember one year when my wife and I were in line for an unbelievable deal on laptop computers that we actually did camp out for. This year – not so much; this is due to two clear and present factors. Factor 1, there is nothing this year that we deemed worth camping out for. Factor 2, even if Factor 1 was valid we don’t have the extra cash sitting aside to blow.
Where was I?
Oh right! It’s 10:00, we are heading home and we wanted to see if the lines were forming. Were the shoppers there? Yes they were. At Target – yes (to the corner of the sidewalk), at Wal-Mart – yes (with a police presence & barricades), at Best Buy – yes (to the corner of their sidewalk as well) but what really knocked my socks off was the magnitude and scope of the line at Toys-R-Us.
In the generic shopping-scape of America there was a time when the ‘mall’ was the biggest fish in the ocean. Online shopping and the clustering of ‘shopping districts’ have taken a lot of the wind out of the sails of the malls across the country; still, however, they are large players. That being said, the Toys-R-Us that we past by is located in a mall and it happens to be, from the left of the hulk of the mall-complex, the second store in. From its position the line stretched to the left passed one, two department stores, the shopping mall entrance, around a corner and passed the J.C. Penny.
It was 10:30 PM.
By the time that I am posting this blog many of the ‘door buster’ sales will have come and gone leaving behind them a wake of chaos and destruction (you’ll have to trust me on this if you have never seen a crowd of angry holiday shoppers all competing for a ‘Tickle me Elmo’ or a laptop computer). It is scary out there. Our quest for material goods can compel little old ladies to become axe murderers. …Hey, if you play your cards right you could easily push down that group of orphans who have been pooling their money to buy that last X-box Kinect or trip that guy with the cane who wants a chance at buying his grand-daughter a netbook. They are not the uber-shopper that you are, stud.
Don’t be that guy. It’s just stuff. Really.
Please be careful out there, Gentle Reader – a holiday shopper is dangerous creature that, once provoked, can be treacherous. There are precious few souls I know who love a stampeding crowd.
So Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays. Grab your wallet & helmet and good luck soldier.