Black Friday: One Big Holiday Cluster F@#K

In almost every way, this past Thanksgiving was exactly like the last, and for that matter, pretty much every other Thanksgiving I’ve been a part of.  Every year, I eat the same food, with the same people, at the same place, at about the same time.  Dinner will usually commence around 3 p.m. and end a couple hours later. At this point, I’ll usually head back to the couch for some more football, pass-out, wake-up, have a little coffee and shortly there after, I will head home.  Once home, I’ll typically sit down with the family and some left-overs, and enjoy a nice holiday movie.

Minus a few tweaks and alterations, this routine is, and always has been, my Thanksgiving tradition.  It’s not much, and it may be somewhat ordinary, but I like it.  It’s simple, manageable, and it serves its purpose.  No one in the house is obnoxiously drunk, screaming at the kids, or looking for critters to shoot out back, though that last part could be coming to fruition for my family real soon. 

Black Friday has many thankful for huge sales, and others thankful they stayed home. Photo courtesy of Zak Hornung.

I decided to get a little adventurous this year, though, and, perhaps, a little foolish.  As Thursday’s end drew nearer, I recharged my batteries, dressed back up, and set out with a couple friends to experience all that is Black Friday.

Now, I have forever been immune to the callings of early holiday specials and long, trying nights out in the cold in front of a Wal-Mart, and I have never once given thought to trying to shop during normal business hours on the Friday after Thanksgiving, let alone at 2 a.m.  I’m still not quite sure what came over me.

Still, you really can’t dog something until you’ve tried it, and even though it doesn’t take much to see how carried away our society has gotten when it comes to Black Friday (there were people setting up camp at my local Best Buy the Monday before Thanksgiving), I guess I can say that I’ve become more credible for actually getting my hands dirty in the deep trenches of Macy’s before dusk.  Plus, it is fairly satisfying to have your long-held personal beliefs and opinions about something reaffirmed.

I never thought a Black Friday discounted TV was worth being trampled to death over, and… I still don’t.

In all fairness, though, I did not ‘attend’ Black Friday with the intent to a make a purchase.  I merely went to observe, and what I saw, did in no way make me scream, “How have I never done this before?!”

What I did see, however, was what I imagine townspeople trying to stock up at the local grocery store before the end of the world would look like: just a mass of mouth-breathing weirdoes in winter coats and pajama pants, rummaging through boxes, and flocking from store to store in a ‘no tomorrow,’ ‘do or die’ fashion.  I was expecting to see store windows being bashed in, and people walking out with boxes of preservable Panda Express.  To say the least, I was not enticed.

So, as I suspected, it wasn’t for me. I guess I’m just not cut out to score big holiday deals in prime-time.  My morning did help me to realize, though, that regardless of how stupid Black Friday may seem to me, it still remains a rich Holiday tradition for many, and, I suppose, I should respect that. Who knows, my traditions may seem just as stupid and pointless to all those dedicated men and women who take off work to sleep on gravel for a few nights to obtain an otherwise easily obtainable item.

Except for that middle-aged man in the middle of the department store who kept trying to rally all of us into some sort of Black Friday musical number.

… I would have paid full price to see him get trampled over on his way in.