Monday, November 25, 2013

1257 Black Friday

1257 Black Friday

Hey, let’s go camping?  Okay, where to this year, Best Buy or Sears?

Pick Sears.  They have a bigger parking lot, are more desperate and there’s less chance you’ll be overrun by competing sale-day freaks.

Yes, Black Friday is upon us again.

And bargain hunting tenters and RV owners are again planning their all-nighters in the parking lots of the stores and malls so they can be the first or the tenth or the 250th on line to snap up those half-price Ninja blenders, big screen TV sets, pre-lit Christmas trees and contractor quality fruit cakes.

Black Friday is when many retailers cap off a dismal season in the red by raising enough cash to pay the electric bill, their employees and the rent... and turn a profit.

It’s a down home block party that can end in down home fisticuffs and maulings.

For some, a new Playstation, XBox or Samsung Galaxy III can be as necessary as a roof over their heads.  So, they temporarily forego the roof.

In warmer climates, the early birds on line are entertained by strolling musicians who pass the hat.  

In extreme locales, like southern California and south Florida, you’ll spot an occasional hot tub.  Seniors will often arrive in motorized recliner wheelchairs.

In colder climes, they build campfires in 55-gallon drums and guard their places on the line with hunting rifles powerful enough to fell a carnivorous dinosaur in two shots or fire fast enough to pick an entire flight of ducks from the sky in under ten seconds.

It’s an old fashioned family fun fest filled with all the joys and comradery of an old fashioned gang war.

It’s been some years now that door buster sales haven’t resulted in any actual busted doors.  But one can only hope.  Police in many locations have been put on extended shifts and increased patrols near anything retail.

Black Friday traditionalists will be out in force Thursday, holding demonstrations and trying to block doors.  They want the event concentrated on one day and one day only. “Keep Friday in Black Friday.”  It’s the same group that will spend Thanksgiving Day with their families … eating their turkey dinners on makeshift picnic tables in the same parking lots to show the true meaning of that holiday and discouraging potential shoppers while simultaneously shaming the store owners and the employees “forced” to work.

Friday night when the smoke clears, the recliners, hot tubs and elephant guns are all safely tucked back in, the presents all purchased and the worn-to-a-nub workers are ready to throw back a beer and call it a day, they’ll find those extended-stay cops on DWI patrol.

So, how much you gonna save by arriving even earlier than you would for a flight from Miami to Shanghai?  And how long is it going to take you to set up the tent or hot tub, enter the store, wait on line for half an hour while a cashier patiently wades through someone’s 15 credit cards all of which are rejected?  And that doesn’t even count the time it takes you to take down your camping arrangement after you’ve scored your 59-cent DVDs.

Camping in the Sears parking lot does have its advantages.  Your car won’t be attacked by a hungry rhinoceros as it might in, say, Kruger National Park or a bear in Yellowstone.

You won’t be bitten by infected mosquitoes and live the rest of your life with Lyme Disease or Fibromyalgia.  And the snakes all walk upright.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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