BY way of looking something up while responding to David’s Scramble this morning, I found a little gem about Black Friday, which explains why I don’t tend to go out to the stores on that day.
Friday was my older son’s birthday. He got himself a couple train cars for his layout. The collection of cars and motive power’s getting big enough that I’m going to need to build him a new table for the layout. This winter, perhaps.
Going out to dinner for my Son’s birthday took on a new dimension, though, given it falls, this year, on the fabled first day of the Christmas shopping season. As such the simple act of going out for a bite takes on a dimension that’s utterly unheard of at any other time of the year.
Can YOU say ‘traffic’? Trust me, my friends, I’ve driven in a lot of major markets…Boston, LA, SanDiego, SanFran, Philly, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Baltimore/ Washington, Chicago… and I can think of one thing that beats ’em all, hands down, for sheer idiocy on wheels… Outside the local mall on the day after Thanksgiving.
Well dear reader, I went right past the mouth of Hell itself… otherwise known as Longridge Mall… in order to go to the nearest KFC, a favorite of my older son, who got to pick the resturant since it was his birthday. What amazes me more is I actually lived to relate the tale to you. Just be glad we didn’t have a half inch of snowfall Friday night like we did Thursday. The result might have been the mall being nuked in a fit of pique.
I watched in utter disbelief, Thanksgiving evening, as store after store ran ad after ad on the tube, announcing they were opening at 5:30 am.. and even 5:00am, and running loss leaders to get people to come in at that hour. The ads apparently worked… I gather from the local cops that they had people hereabouts lining up four deep, hours before the places opened… waiting in the cold and snow… just to get a jump on everyone else. As if to one-up them all, the local WalMart super center just went 24*7 until 12/25. They did the same last year, and apparently WalMart beat up on a lot of the other retailers last year as a result, both locally and nationally. the resulting mob was one that would shake the bearish forecasts from the lips of nearly any Wall Street Wonk.
At what point did we reach this level of insanity? It must be all the coffee we Americans drink. Gotta be. I can just see it, can’t you?
“It’s 2:15 in the mornin’ Ma… you’re going SHOPPING?”
(talking very fast) “Well… they’re open and I just need a few more things for my list….”
So, let’s see if I’ve got this right. I mean, there’s a lot to go over, here, and I must have missed some of it.
We have fresh snow, and drivers who can’t drive in it… so I’m endangering my new truck… the parking lots are all jammed, meaning I’ve got door-ding city going on here… or else I have to park in the next area code and walk from there… and by the way… It’s colder than my freezer out there and windy, plus I’m already under the weather, all of which makes that walk that much MORE special for me… Every single person in every place I could go wants large amounts of my money… and to boot, I have to get up at about 03:00 to get ready and there in time to take part in this festival of idiocy, all so I can fight with a few thousand other screaming malcontents for $50 off the latest whatsit my kids won’t play with after the first 15 minutes go by, preferring to play with the box instead???
Have I missed anything?
Man, when you put it that way, it all sounds so attractive!. How in the world could I think of doing anything else?
Like, sleeping for example?
You’ll excuse me, but I have a note from my doctor… I’m too well to attend. Sorry.
I dunno, maybe I should be going for the laugh, given the death out on Long Island. Then again, perhaps a laugh is the best way to describe the whole scene.
Addendum: (David L)
I have had little desire to comments on the event related to Black Friday, because I see so llittle news value in it. As I see it, civilization is an on-going and still incomplete process. That we humans have a dark side, not yet civilizied, is hardly news. Shopping is still a safer activity than attending a soccer march in Europe.