I avoid Black Friday like the plague. Usually I’m working, so it’s not an issue, but even so the notion of camping out for two days in front of the Colma Best Buy in the hopes of scoring a 42-inch TV for $199.99 causes my limbs to shake like I’m going into hypothermia.
But every couple of years, I make the mistake of forgetting what the date is and wander into my local grocery store on Thanksgiving Eve for a quart of milk. One look at the lines that snaked down past the frozen foods and finally ended in the dairy section is enough to send me backpedaling out the door -- that’s what God made gas station mini-marts for. I do a lot of shopping for my job, so lines are nothing new, and I often use that time to catch up on my much-needed tabloid gossip. It’s a good way of staying informed on who’s breaking up, who’s in rehab, and who has the best beach bod.
I will admit that my willpower was tested upon opening my email and seeing the Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michaels’ 6:00 a.m., 6-hour, 30% off coupons... But I stood firm in my tradition: no Black Friday shopping! (Except maybe on the internet...)
Now I know for some, Black Friday itself is an adventure, a family gathering, and a tradition. And to those folks -- more power to ya! If you get a kick out of setting up a tent on the sidewalk and tailgating your Thanksgiving meal, then by all means, do so! I know folks who actually plan their calendars around Black Friday, forgoing invitations to Aspen and the Caribbean for a shot at the new Xbox 360/730/whatever it’s called. My own grandmother stood in line at Boscov’s to make sure that she got my sister not one, not two, but three Cabbage Patch dolls for Christmas one year. The story of how she elbowed out a Pennsylvania soccer mom for the last blonde doll will live on in infamy. And to my grandma’s credit, my sister did love those dolls.
But what disturbs me is something I read in the news: some woman in Porter Ranch, CA used pepper spray on other shoppers to clear her pathway to “door buster” sales items at Wal-Mart. And here’s the kicker: she didn’t just do it once -- she did it in several areas of the store! Twenty customers, including children, were effected and had to be treated by trained experts. Where does someone get off pepper spraying a kid for an Angry Bird stuffie or an Elmo Rocks? What is wrong with you?!
Unbelievable as it might seem, police have been unable to apprehend the perp due to the lack of a clear description... probably because anyone who saw her was either blinded or gagged by the pepper spray...
I don’t know. It just makes me shake my head in disbelief. That anyone would sink to the depths of harming other individuals just to get a cheaper price is beyond me. However, it does give me an idea for a new reality series: “Shoppers Gone Wild.” I wonder if A&E might be interested...
Edit: I must note that I heard that the woman who used the pepper spray on the masses has turned herself in. I do have to give her a little credit and sympathy; perhaps she was possessed by a shopping demon. I’m sure it won’t be long before there is some syndrome that will account for bad shopping behavior, followed by treatment centers and rehabilitation programs. I can see it now: The Wal-Mart Center for markdown-induced insanity.