Surviving Black Friday

Every year on the night after thanksgiving, I anticipate the same news story: “woman or man get trampled by a stampede of shoppers.” This year, one woman got it waiting in line waiting for Wal-Mart to open up so that she could be one of the folks to obtain the few available the advertised $400 computers. Another woman was walked on, kicked and pushed to the ground after Burlington Coat Factory opened. The truth is . . . retailers love this. They love the fact that such frenzy can be produced among the masses . . . the shoppers.

Buy, buy, buy . . . yes my crazed induced walking wallets, bring your credit cards, your first born child, and I shall offer you this prized sweater with Rudolf on the front.

And the shoppers? You would think that they were vying for something mythical like the last 50 injections of a magical fountain of youth serum – not a crappy $400 computer (I mean they can’t be good!) or an all important sweatshirt. People started lining up at retailer stores as early at 3 o’clock in the morning and you have got to wonder . . . why? Only once did I line up overnight to buy something and that was for David Bowie Tickets when I was in high school. However, the real reason I did this was not for the tickets, my friends and all agreed on this point, but for the fun . . . for the social aspect. This was the same rational I heard on the news, that black Friday craziness was not because of the shopping but because of tradition . . . for the social aspect. Well, if frenzied trampling of other human beings is for the “social,” call me a sex deprived baboon and put me in a cage!

I have never experienced the “black Friday” “tradition” myself, and normally go for the Christmas Eve sales where only we procrastinators are out – – “we” are a “civilized” bunch. But, for you dear reader, I decided to go and see what it was all about. At first, I was scared and so I stayed in safe places. I hit the Pearl’s tent sale. As I often make gifts for Christmas, I was looking forward to the sales on paint and beads and wire and ended up being disappointed. Apparently, the sale is only for unloading old inventory or hurricane damaged paper (that was still selling for over $11 dollars a sheet!) There were tacky lime green purses (wow!) and picture frames and Star Wars Episode One Watches for $26.00. Star Wars Episode One! Please, give me a break—how yesterday! Next, still trying to stay safe, I hit a computer store because I needed some CD’s.

After getting my toes wet, it was time and down to the Sawgrass Mall my husband and I went. Oh the horror, the absolute horror if it all. First, I needed to find a bathroom. Ladies, please, take my warnings seriously! Do not use a public bathroom in a mall during Black Friday . . . just don’t do it! After having my sensibilities totally challenged and, indeed, trampled on in the bathroom, I headed for Burlington Coat Factory. Even at 3pm in the afternoon, it was almost impossible to navigate into the store, let alone get to any of the items. Clothes were thrown everywhere and shoppers were absolutely nuts: one woman had a cart filled with purses . . . yes, that is right, what looked like 50 purses in her cart and she was not a store worker returning items to the rightful places—who the hell buys 50, I must say ugly, purses??? I had to fight my way into the clothing rack area to find a potential work shirt for my sister . . . forget it. Just forget it! This little maneuver would have forced me to push masses of flesh out of my way just so I could look at potential, yet picked over, shirts . . . not worth it. You want a miracle? Forget the parting of the red sea, that was so yesterday, what I needed was a parting of the flesh.

I would detail our effort to get to Target but I am sure it would make you cry, as it almost did my husband and me. We went back to our safe home and our sick cat who needed us more than the retailers did. Needless to say, the shopping crazy which is Black Friday is a discussing and highly overrated “tradition.” It is enough to make a person want to become a hermit. As my mom used to say, and I concur, I love my species . . . but I do not love them all crammed up together in a mall looking for that “hot” deal. Retailers, you can kiss my lily white ass. I am making gifts this year and although I need you for my supplies . . . I am hitting the mom and pop stores and the small internet business.

Yours, Rebecca

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