Just Say No! And a Black Friday survival kit
By Megan Crotty
Don your football pads, grab that helmet and get your running shoes ready – it’s Black Friday again.
As the economy putters back toward normal at a snail’s pace, many Americans may be taking the Black Friday bargaining to the extreme this year. The combination of a bit more money to spend and a newfound obsession with couponing is about to reach critical mass, and God help those caught in the path of a shopper on a mission.
Just so we are all properly situated, I would like to point out that the term Black Friday originally identified the day in 1307 on which a French king had all of the Knights Templar brutally murdered in their beds.
While the Knights Templar association may be accidentally appropriate, the American Black Friday tradition is only about as old as personal electronics. Originating in the 1960s in Philadelphia, the term was first used to describe the traffic and pedestrian cluster-fuck that plagued the city on the day following Thanksgiving. Retailers eventually adopted the term to describe the day – one of the busiest shopping days of the year – that takes them from red to black, monetarily speaking.
As you bow down to the gods of commerce and consumption this year, and drop a few elbows on your way toward that 3-D television, don’t forget to remember that these winter holidays are really not about check-out lines, fist fighting in Walmart and playing shopping cart bumper cars.
I’m not going to get all sappy here – don’t let the fact that I am a chick fool you, I am as pessimistic and sarcastic as the toughest tough guy with the vocabulary to back it up. But, I do think we have lost sight of some things. The more we, as a people, begin to associate the holidays with violent and stressful shopping trips, the less we will enjoy them (the holidays that is). And while such occasions will always provide the opportunity for your extended family to bring the crazy to the table, I really don’t think we need to escalate that crazy by waiting in line all night, some of us in the bitter cold, to save $20 on whatever “hot” new toy advertisers are going to con your kid into thinking they need this year.
I, luckily, have been spared from the Black Friday tradition because on one such trip, my mother saw two elderly women fist fighting over a Tickle-Me Elmo doll. The fight ended when one woman tried to throw the other over a third story mall balcony and a weary security guard had to intervene.
Still not convinced Black Friday shopping is an awful, terrible, no good idea that will take a few years off of your life? Fine by me, but I suggest you bring a few items from my Black Friday Survival Kit, which includes:
Booze – because you need to be drunk to participate in roller derby style shopping.
Friends – you probably will not continue to be friends after this harrowing event, but there is power in numbers, so I would risk it anyway.
First aid kit and ice packs – for the injuries you will definitely suffer from before, during and after the experience.
Bull horn – you can grab the nearest iPad while everyone runs for cover.
Store map – this should include a contingency plan and exit strategy for when disaster strikes.
Walkie Talkies – go military style and keep in contact with your group all while making other shoppers stop in their tracks to say, “What the hell?” I also suggest inventing code names to further intimidate and promote anonymity.
Brown paper bag – for hyperventilating shoppers.
Your son’s football pads – so you can ram through other deal-seekers with ease.
Game face – because if you look crazier than everyone else, they may just get out of your way.
Uniform – Wearing a T-shirt with wolves howling at the moon, an old pair of skids, shit-kicker boots and a jean vest lets other shoppers know you are officially “off the reservation.”
Grooming – To enhance the look, rough up hair for a disheveled and grizzled effect that says, “I bite and I do not have my shots.”
Xanax - for the PTSD that will follow your Black Friday adventure.
Good luck, godspeed and happy shopping.