You know, dear readers, that I abhor Black Friday. I have never been one who even had a vague urge to get up before the crack of dawn to attempt to get my hands on the latest must-have Christmas gift. First of all, I don't even like to shop. I think of it as something that simply has to get done (and over with), not something I actually think of as a fun time. Some people are not born to shop. Secondly, I try to keep my holiday focus elsewhere. I don't want my kids growing up with consumerist and materialist values, and Christmas, after all, is a holiday that has actual meaning. We have an advent wreath, put up and decorate a tree and a nativity scene and buy some gifts and make others. But we never go overboard.
But this Black Friday (usually celebrated as "Buy Nothing Day" by me), I did the unthinkable. I joined the herd. Now before you gasp in disbelief, know that I did this for only two reasons. First, my girlfriend is one of those curious creatures who participates in this annual ritual, and well, she has a way of convincing me to do things that I wouldn't do for just anyone. And second, I decided that instead of actually buying anything, I'd simply observe, sort of a sociological phenomenon to be witnessed first hand. So with promises of hot coffee and the chance to witness the bizarre spectacle that takes place every Friday after Thanksgiving, I set my alarm for 4 a.m. and reluctantly agreed to join all the other sleepless crazies.
We were out the door by 4:25, and headed first to Dunkin Donuts for the promised coffee. There was a line out the door. We then headed to the antithetical home of capitalist consumption — WalMart. The crowds did not disappoint; it was there that I witnessed many disgusting displays of humanity. First, a lady nearly cut us and caused a crash, then waved frantically for us to hurry and go so that she would make it into the store when the doors opened. And when they opened, there were people with camcorders recording the spectacle, making me wish I had planned better and brought my camera. People ran, threatening to trample each other. Everyone seemed headed to the back of the store, and when we reached the bottleneck, I heard on man remark to his friends that he was "fixin to go to jail" because he was about to fight someone. A huge obese man pushed through the crowd past us, calling an immigrant woman a "cockroach."
And so the day went. We got what we had come for, made our way to Target for a few more things, then were off to run some errands. T bought a black sparkly Christmas ornament to remember the day that she coaxed me out of the house and over to "the dark side." It's 8:45pm and I'm barely coherent at this point. I need to go to bed and recover. Maybe I'll wake to find it was all just a dream....