BLACK FRIDAY has the distinction of being the day after Thanksgiving.
Having put in nearly a full week of dinner preparation for our friends and relatives to come by and gorge themselves into oblivion, we are expected to get up early the next day for the Black Friday Deals; the hoops that merchants have cleverly devised for us to jump through. The lines we wait in til the store opens, the deadlines we must meet, the sleeping in line over night. I call them insanisms: the not so smart things we put ourselves through to get what we want when holiday shopping. In this instance Christmas shopping. I also believe that the food from the previous day puts a strain on our brains and interferes with normal brain activity.
An example of insanisms could be to stand or sit in line for hours til the store opens; or worse would be to sleep in line over night to be able to say “I’ve got the latest unparalleled intellectually smart gadget–and you don’t!” Something you really don’t need, you just want.
In Palmdale around 2000 I remember alternating places in line overnight with family members waiting for the electronics store to open so we could purchase 4 Xbox 360’s. Two were for family and 2 had been pre-sold on the internet.( Not really an insanism because I wanted to make a profit.) As we waited, there was one elated Xbox fan who had attended a ticketed Xbox sponsored event the night before and had gotten his Xbox. As he rode by us and the others who were patiently waiting for the store to open, he exhibited to us through the open window of the car his still packaged Xbox. Fists pumped the air and cheers and shouts rang out from the crowd until– he dropped it. Imagine if you will the embarrassment this guy felt. Quickly he jumped out of the car, grabbed the box, jumped back in and the car sped away in the darkness of the early morning. Did it break? Did he cry?
I also have heard, read and actually experienced other insanisms of people that ‘shop in person’. The people in these lines watch where the store employees place items and make their plans for when the doors open. One family conversation might go something like this:
“Sonia, look! See where that dude put the blue ray players? You go get 2 of em and 4 of the DubbleBeat headphones. Yancy, you go get 2 of those 55″ Mitsodabi TV’s. Yancy, you get in front of me and when they open up you run to get ’em ya hear? They’ve only got 10 in stock and 2 of them are mine! You got that? That’s one reason why you’re 6’8″. Angela you’re gonna stay in the shopping basket and if anyone tries to take anything out you scream loud! You hear me?”
A nice little story. Some of them are not so nice. Some people get hurt having fallen and trampled. I also believe the food they ate the day before hadn’t digested yet causing them to exhibit erratic behavior.
Some of us lie to ourselves that it’s the Christmas season and people are nicer. That may be true to a certain extent. It may just be that the sales girl or guy was new on the job and knew nothing about the merchandise in their department. But what about their indignant comment of, “Go ask somebody else, can’t you see I’m on the phone!?” Each time we shop in-person we pay for that kind of stuff in time, gas, parking fees and personal frustration. If not careful we could let others drag us down an angry path we haven’t traveled in a long time.
Still stuffed from the previous day we sluggishly go to the mall or to our favorite shopping haunts and spend the day going to and fro in the pretense that we love all of the trepidations we experience while out shopping.
Now please don’t get me wrong. We can make shopping a social event where we hang out with our BFF‘s. Shopping, lunch, massage, movies! Those can be fun.
So before we get caught up in the ‘misjoys’ of the holiday season, we should ask ourselves to take a deep breath and answer the question, Are we really ready for the insanisms we might find with an in- person shopping experience? Can we reach deeply inside ourselves and maintain the peace that we have truly found? If we think we might have a problem perhaps we should leave the insanisms, stay home and shop online.
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