Back In Black

19 11 2010

It’s time to gather up the tents and sleeping bags, lawn chairs and inflatable pillows. Pack the thermos full of coffee, and bring a bag of snacks. We’re going camping.

At Best Buy. Target. Walmart. And wherever they have your most important, gotta-have-it-or-else item. Probably not for someone else, but for you.

Yep, Black Friday is coming, and in case you want to start drooling early, click here for a sneak peak of the ads, and here for some survival tips.

It is on the day after Thanksgiving that Americans reveal their dark side. Eleven people, but only 10 of those 42″ LCD TVs? One of you is going to get a bloody nose. Push indeed comes to shove, and all manner of decorum and civility are left in the parking lot. While it may not technically be the biggest shopping day of the year, it is certainly the most insane.

Last year I went out with friends both on Thanksgiving night and at 5am Friday to observe, photograph, and interview shoppers. I froze as much as everyone else, but my blood pressure was much lower. The only thing I bought was a Venti coffee at Starbucks. I was back in bed by 8am.

This year it looks like the recession has hit retailers even harder. A growing list of them plan to be open all or part of Thanksgiving, with some launching their official Black Friday sales hours before Friday even begins. At least in this time zone. Other retailers have been hitting us with Black Friday come-ons every Friday in November in an effort to put us in the mood (and get us to release the moths held captive in our tightly knotted purses).

Maybe it’s just that, in America, many still think that we can buy out of a recession. Others find shopping to be therapy in disguise. And more than a few view this hallowed day of retailing as part social gathering, part hunt.

As for me, I’m thinking that if I venture out on Black Friday at all, it will be with my Canon 50D, Flip video camera and $2 for a coffee. I’m not a big fan of camping in parking lots (unless I’m in my RV). And once again, there’s nothing I really need or want.

Especially a bloody nose.

Dr “I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back” Gerlich


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