Many will beg to differ, but anyone wishing to preserve any semblance of sanity should avoid shopping on Black Friday. But, one will argue, what about the fantastic deals?
Slick, colorful ads fill the pages of that Thanksgiving Day newspaper so much that a typical Sunday edition will seem tiny by comparison. They beckon us to take advantage of this once-yearly shopping extravaganza. They foretell of great price reductions on a plethora of desirable items. People remain oblivious to the fact that the items listed in these “great deals” were purchased by the establishment at discounted bulk rates and are still marked up for a significant profit. In addition, some sought-after products such as the latest Nintendo or Wii games are deliberately delayed from going on sale until that fateful Friday that follows that day of family feasting.
Everyone is so caught up in the excitement and anticipation of saving huge amounts of money that they fail to consider that in the case of these newly-released products, there will be ten times as many people as there are available units in stock camped out in the store’s parking lot two hours before opening time. Moreover, as soon as those doors are opened, a mad rush will commence as rabid shoppers push and fight their way to the entrance as if they were teenage girls trying to catch a glimpse of Justin Bieber.
Once inside, the race for the shopping carts begins. Every aisle in the store quickly becomes as congested as Chicago’s Eisenhower expressway at rush hour. Still, most of those who become a part of the onslaught of Black Friday shoppers arrive a few hours after the stores have opened. Upon arrival, more fuel will be spent in the parking lot than what was used in the trip to get there as it takes a half hour for a parking space to open up. And of course, when one is finally found, it will be located about half a mile away from the entrance.
To add to the fun, those who choose to shop later in the day soon either discover that what they seek was sold out before lunchtime or; if they happened to be one of the lucky ones who managed to snag up whatever they were looking for, they will now have to endure standing in line at the checkouts for up to an hour. If you’ve ever visited Disney World during the peak tourist season and tried to grab a bite to eat at a concession stand, you’ll get the idea.
As they finally make their way to the poor, exhausted cashier making $7.50 an hour, they can’t help but notice that his or her earlier cheerful demeanor has long since transformed itself into one of hostility. Their facial expression will say it all: “Go home!”
The festivities aren’t over yet, for now all of that stuff they spent hours shopping for must be hauled back to the car.
And remember, it’s parked about half a mile away. This is especially enjoyable if it’s about six degrees outside and nobody can remember where the car is parked. When it is finally located, there will hopefully still be plenty of fuel in the tank, for now it will take another half hour of moving three feet at a time before they actually reach the parking lot’s exit.
Retailers will of course love Black Friday and be ever grateful for those who brave the crowds. As for the rest of us who don’t enjoy being a part of this once-yearly mayhem?
Thanks, but we’ll politely pass.