There's no avoiding it any longer. It's too strong a tradition.
Every year on the morning after Thanksgiving, we pack up the Salad Clan and head to the malls, retail stores and various commercial outlets in our driving vicinity to witness the bounty of human behavior known as Black Friday.
Salad Wife and various members of the Salad extended family have done this during relatively normal hours for more than a decade. Only in recent years has it become a test of both our motor skills at an early hour as well as a test of our relative shopping powers.
It used to be that getting to a store at 6 a.m. was enough. We felt like Evel Knievel one year when we hit a door buster at 5:30. This year, we decided to push through that barrier by hitting the outlet mall in Ellenton at midnight.
Understand: We do not intend to shop. This is, for the most part, a human safari. If we happen to bump into a good bargain, fine. We can accept that. But the spectacle is its own reward. Other than beer helmets, vibrating recliners and ShamWow!, there may not be anything closer to the true essence of America than herd retail consumption at 12:01 a.m.
"Herd" may have been understating things a tad. The line of cars extending back from the exit easily surpassed a mile and a half. At 10 minutes to midnight, no less.
Since the great state of Florida doesn't have a traffic statute requiring that I be stupid enough to sit in such a line, I didn't feel the need to wait. I drove to the front and used the Titan's sheer bulk to insinuate my way off the exit.
It was a good call. Had I waited, we wouldn't have reached the mall until Inauguration Day.
The mind reels at the thought of what the handwriting clarity and accuracy of information must be at 1 a.m. to enter such a program.
Here's a thought that crossed my mind: If a store can afford to discount items at an outlet mall up to 60 percent on Black Friday, how much is it gouging us during the rest of the year?
Of course, not everything for sale is of prime quality at Prime Outlets.
Exhibit A: Sunset Sneakers.
Do these come with SPF 50? Who's wearing these, Jimmy Buffett?
Exhibit B: Super-Reflecto Sneakers
I think Michael J. Fox wore these on his hoverboard in "Back to the Future 2."
I can attest first-hand that the ugliest shoes on the planet coagulate at the narrow end of the size bell curve.
Being in possession of size 14 feet is like having a virus on each leg. Attaching traffic-cone orange high-tops around them is not the cure.
First thought: Someone in management at this kitchen supply store had to reason to themselves, "If we mark this corn-buttering device up 30 percent, then put it's actual price as a discount, I think we can move this puppy."
Second thought: Do you really need a corn-buttering device? When did a knife become so pedestrian and inadequate as a flavor-delivery system?
My personal favorite shopping find of the night?
As a lover of kitchy food gadgets, this nearly sent me to the emergency room with a case of the vapors.
I mean, it barks when the hot dogs are ready. Including, if the box's labeling is accurate, from its rectum. Come on, people. This would be the whole and entire reason to get out of bed in the morning.
The fact that this was not a $19.99 purchase for me at this exact moment is one of the few pieces of evidence I have that self-control exists in my body.
A few other food-related finds:
A snack bowl which plays the Fox NFL theme when you open it. Like I need to think about Terry Bradshaw when I carb-load.
What exactly makes this a Hostess cupcake set instead of a regular muffin tin with accessories?
Oh, right. The cupcake mascot with the Phil Collins icing squig along the hairline.
These things were flying off the shelves. People were buying three and four at a time.
Are we really so desperate to maintain the integrity and portability of our lasagna, people?
All I can say is...
For more Black Friday pics, click here.Posted by Jeff at December 2, 2008 03:25 AM | TrackBack