Friday, November 26, 2010


Subtitle: Why I hate sales.

Sub-subtitle:  The Christmas Spirit American Style

I have never liked shopping very much.  The worst day, of course -- or what many people consider the best -- is the day after Thanksgiving.  "Black Friday" it is called.  Retailers fight each other to start their biggest financial quarter of the year with big Sales.  They open their doors at 4 a.m. or earlier.  Some have midnight sales.  The first 200 or 100 people in the doors can get incredible bargains.  

Two years ago a sales clerk in New York City was trampled to death by bargain hunters. 

My wife and have almost always gone to some of these.   One year we almost had a good time.  I usually go to make sure that Karen isn't injured -- or maybe to make sure someone in front of her isn't injured.  Every year, I swear that I will never go to another Black Friday sale.

So what was I doing at 2:00 a.m. crawling out by myselfIt's a long story that started out with me volunteering because she had to travel to see her brother (I'm such a nice guy) and ended up with her not traveling, but having Noah here so Brian and Melody could go and the choice between changing diapers and going to Black Friday, well... (maybe I'm not such a nice guy).

I'm suppose to get a (OOPS!  Can't say it in case the kids read this.  Although I never got the "Thing" anyway...(Whether I'm a nice guy or not, I'm not violent enough).  But I'm suppose to get this thing.  How bad could it be.   But to make sure, I get to the store by 2:10 a.m. and the doors don't open until 4:00! 

Pulling into the parking lot, I realize that Karen, once again, has read all the sales papers and chosen the absolutely best deal on the planet.  Because everyone on the planet is already there.

So here is my one and only photo for this week's shoot.  There are already over 150 people there!  I realize that despite being almost two hours early, I'm probably late!   I shoot one shot from the window of the car and jump out to join the line, hoping that most of these people want to buy one of the other items on special sale. 

People have been camping out.  They have little tables and are working on laptops.  They have food.  I want to bring the coffee I brought but do the math -- two cups of coffee, zero Porta-Pottys -- and leave the coffee.

The line continues to grow.  Around me I hear people talking about the great sale on the...uh..."Thing".
My heart begins to sink.   But I make friends with people around me.  I hear way too much information about the marriage of a loud-talking woman several groups behind me.

Time drags in the middle of the night, sitting on a cement sidewalk.

Then the doors finally open.  

If you watch this stampede, near the end, you will hear a female sales clerk calling out, "Can we get somebody down here!!"   This was because a fist fight was breaking out over one of the last "Things" available.  

They are all welcome to them.  I turned around at the end of the video and left the store.  I was also suppose to get a wool hat for Karen at a savings of $5.00.   I'll pay full price somewhere else. 

I'm never doing this again.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Definitely should have gone with diaper duty!
    But you might have had a favorite shop to show us. Some place quiet, never more than three customers a day, full of old camera junk or somesuch, an old dog under a chair...

  2. This is a bit after the fact, but....maybe you should have taken a 'Duty Diaper' along with you. They are good for clearing a path to...'The Thing'. I have NEVER been to a 4AM Fist Fight. Thanks for the experience!

  3. This would be my worst nightmare. All those folks with the large butts need a widescreen TV like they need another hole in their nasty heads. Talk about bringing out the worst in people!

  4. I can't really think of any "thing" worth that...!

  5. Honestly. If people fight over the contents of a UN help convoy because without the bags of rice etc. their families would starve, I understand that. But this... is completely beyond me. Totally Alien.

  6. Oh I have those Friday sales. I think they do bring out the worst in people. And what is really bothering me is now they are starting on Thanksgiving night. On our way home from Thanksgiving dinner at 9pm we were stuck in mall traffic. The turkey hadn't even digested yet! So now we have a day set aside for giving thanks but being encroached upon by the 'need' for more stuff.

  7. Oh Mark I feel so bad for you. True no Thing is worth that. I have never done that. Too big a chicken. But don't have a store for FSO either, just a picture of a neat house on our road.

  8. I would have chosen diaper duty any day! I don't like crowds at the best of times and this, to me, looks like the worst of times.

  9. Re: Boomerang, I was about to ask if it flew back and knock you on the head before I read to the latter part of the comment. LOL

    You be surprised I don't like shopping, especially window shopping.
    No money.
    no body shape, even the shop clerks no pay attention to you.

  10. you are the bravest man I know Mark. I never go out on that day! the video was so funny and alarming. glad you taped that because I will never be out in that mess to see it. and we are called civilized?

  11. I never go out on Black Friday. People go a little too nuts out there.

  12. Wow, this sounds like hell to me. Like everybody else here, I never go anywhere on Black Friday. This year we were in Ithaca, NY, for it, and it was very quiet and nice.

  13. Seriously love the video, and I NEVER go out on Black Friday, for this very reason!

  14. oh, and sorry to hear about the broken arm - crappy way to start a holiday season.