Black Friday

‘Tis the season, and time for the first “Bah, humbug!” of the season. That’s Black Friday.

Every year at midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving, millions of people gather outside Target, Walmart, Best Buy, or wherever to recreate the 1979 Cincinnati Who concert in an attempt to grab one of six $25 big screen TV’s. The rest of the day is spent fighting over whatever is on the store shelves, ramming other people’s cars in the parking lot, and generally screaming at one’s fellow man because “that’s my Billy the Big Mouth Bass,” dammit!

And the people who participate in this orgy of the worst of capitalism are fanatics about it! As soon as the tryptophan coma subsides, they bundle up, grab a pup tent, and head down to the store to wait for the doors to open. Retail companies rub their hands with glee as they stand to make a significant portion of their annual revenue during this 24-hour frenzy. Retail employees look upon this day with dread. The rest of us?


It’s Friday. We have the day off. We don’t have to get up early. Those of us in IT may have to work, but we get to go in while no one’s around. Do you know how valuable that is to those of us who keep your computer from turning into a smoking mess everyday? Our commute is easy because all the other commuters are either sleeping in or killing each other in the aisles at Wal-Mart.

I never understood the appeal of Black Friday. Yes, there are deals to be had, but even the most fanatical bargain hunters I know usually spend the day combing the Internet for upcoming sales when the holiday crowds are more manageable, bidding on eBay, and shopping on Amazon.

Yes, before the doors open, it’s a party atmosphere, not unlike before a football game. However, once the doors open, the only resemblance to football remaining is that to soccer hooligans when it’s Guiness night at a Man United match or the Dawg Pound at a Cleveland Browns game: rude, drunken, and violent. The only thing is I think it’d be more fun to get into a brawl in Manchester or sit in the bleachers in Cleveland. There’s beer there, and we’re all watching football of one form or another. I’m sorry, but it’s not worth a cheap DVD player to sustain damage to my purchase, my car, or my body.

Actually, most of our shopping is done. I usually do it in the month or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, we did it early. But if you want to cram yourself into a store that’s already exceeding the legal capacity allowed by fire marshal just to get your mits on a $20 iPod, knock yourself out.