It’s Black Friday and I am nowhere near a mall. In three days it will be Cyber Monday and I will be nowhere near a computer.
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It’s Black Friday and I am in Honduras. Black Friday means nothing to Hondurans. Neither does Thanksgiving and for that, I am grateful. While it would be lovely to have a World Thanksgiving day, I’ll take a pass on Black Friday.
Getting up at 3 a.m. to drive blearily to the mall to wait in line in front of the store so you can race into it as soon as it opens, grab the teaser bargains before the store runs out, then stand in another huge line to check out and then go to another store to do the same thing in order to get bargains on prospective Christmas gifts sounds suspiciously like a legal alternative to waterboarding.
Black Friday has even encroached on Thanksgiving as some of the big chain stores now start their sales on Thanksgiving itself. Scarf up your turkey and stuffing, throw the dishes in the sink and the leftovers in the fridge, speed to K-Mart, wait in line, race into the store, snatch up the bargains, wait in line to check out and trundle home with a trunk full of bargains and a boatload of indigestion. Still sounds like torture to me.
Poor Thanksgiving. It’s always been the overlooked holiday, sandwiched in between Halloween and Christmas, the two major players. Now it’s even being eclipsed by shopping.
Shopping has become a national sport. I think it might be more popular than football because any one can do it even though no one gets paid like an NFL player. You can shop all year around; you can shop for anything; you can shop without leaving your couch and there is even a championship that anyone may participate in without expensive tickets — Black Friday.
At home, even though I would never step foot inside a store on Black Friday of my own volition, I have often had to cover it for the paper. I try to interview people while they wait for the store to open because I’ve seen what happens after it does. People, amped up on thermoses of coffee, work in pairs — one bolting for the 60-inch television for only $199 while the other snatches a shopping cart to stuff it in. The weird thing is that these people are smiling — they think this is fun.
Golly, to think that I am missing the Super Bowl of shopping and will have to pay full price for my Christmas presents just because I’m floating around on a big ship drinking mimosas. I’m missing the thrill of the hunt, the joy of the capture and the glow of victory while proudly surveying bagged bargain booty. While my friends eat breakfast at 10 a.m. having completed a full day of shopping, I’ll be mosying down to the gift shop for $10 Day. Pashimas, jewelry, little purses and gold chain by the inch will be my only choices, along with cruise wear and duty-free alcohol. The family may receive some odd presents this year, but, once again, I will have successfully escaped the tyranny of Black Friday.
Wendy Schultz’s column appears biweekly.