Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Last night I joined millions of others in America to travel out to participate in Black Friday shopping. My nephews, their Dad, and I have established our own yearly ritual on the day after Thanksgiving. We look at it as a “guy thing," somewhat similar to hunting without the guns. We had gone through the ads sharing the big box specials, knew our route, had a sense of the prey for which we were looking, got a late night nap, and left the house in the dark.

I completely support the workers who have protested the earlier start of Black Friday. I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving because it’s a day to enjoy family, food, and some football. I love Thanksgiving partly because the culture hasn’t taken the holiday to provoke our consumerist urges. The people who have to work on Thanksgiving have no choice, but to leave their families to go to work. I was stunned that the Star Tribune actually wrote an editorial criticizing the workers who protested the earlier start of Black Friday.
Their logic that the workers should just be happy to have a job, so thus shouldn’t protest having to work hours on a national holiday makes no sense. Principles of justice and fairness don’t depend on the unemployment rate.

We left the house at about eleven and found the Wal Mart in Woodbury. The parking lot was almost full. I found a parking spot that probably is used once or twice a year. When I walked a quarter of a mile to the entrance I got in line. The number of people in the store had obviously exceeded the fire marshal’s limit. I waited in line for ten minutes before my daughter, Hannah, and I walked through the doors.

I never could have imagined a store being so packed. We heard that the store was offering waffle makers for $2, but so had many, many others. Many people had televisions in their carts, but Hannah and I were just happy to find an item on our list. The hardest thing for us was to find the check-out line. There were lines everywhere.

We finally found the checkout line. It weaved through the store looking like a caterpillar. After a half hour we purchased our stuff and looked for our next conquest.

Which was Best Buy. It was now after one in the morning. We don’t make it to Woodbury often, so took some wrong turns before we found the parking lot. I drove to the entrance of the store and saw a line at least two hundred yards long. I could do the line once, but not twice.

So on we went to the Target in Hudson. The store was crowded, but not overrun. I wanted to buy a camera that had been advertised for $60. I made it to the electronic desk and shared the serial number of the camera. No such camera. I was offered a camera that was $450. I asked if they had the Target circular that I had seen earlier. They found the circular, but I didn’t find the camera for which I was prowling. The attendant again asked if I wanted to buy a camera that was four bills. I’d come back another time.

I found some stuff and got in another caterpillar line. When our group had made our purchases we celebrated over a warm Target pretzel smothered in butter. It was 2:00 a.m. I don’t know if I could describe the snack as an early breakfast or the celebration of finding our prey.

We stumbled into the house at 3 a.m. I don’t like the rampant consumerism of our country, but I’m not going to be a hermit either. I didn’t purchase any items that I couldn’t have bought at any other time in December. But I do have some stories to share.

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