Nathan's column: The most dangerous holidayI can’t tell you exactly what I’m going to do Friday. I suspect I’ll go to work for at least a little bit. I’m not sure why, exactly.
I can’t tell you exactly what I’m going to do Friday. I suspect I’ll go to work for at least a little bit. I’m not sure why, exactly. When calling other people is a big part of your job description, it’s hard to get much done on a day most people take off of work.
I’ll almost definitely eat a minimum of one meal that consists entirely of Thanksgiving leftovers. But beyond that I just don’t know.
I’m not a planner.
I can tell you, though, where I will not be on Friday. I will not be anywhere closer than I absolutely have to be to anyplace celebrating Black Friday, the newest and, after Arbor Day, most unsettling holiday on the calendar.
I will not bust any doors. I will not snag any sweet deals. I will not risk being trampled in the name of a super cheap flat screen television.
If I want to stare down a charging, wild-eyed mass I’ll go run with the bulls. Or to a Justin Bieber concert.
I suspect everyone reading this column is familiar with the details of Black Friday. I suspect anyone who owns a television, is ever near a television or generally exists is familiar with the unofficial start of America’s Christmas shopping season and the day most likely to end with multiple macings.
For those who are not, it works something likes this: Retail outlets, in the interest of drawing in customers and separating them from their money, offer big deals on choice items. Those customers, in turn, follow up a day of being thankful for the things they have by collectively going out of their gourds over the opportunity to get a whole bunch of new stuff. People camp outside of stores like there’s an Apple product being released. They line up at the doors prepared to sprint for the things they want. Usain Bolt on his best day couldn’t keep up with a Black Friday shopper trying to get to the electronics department of a Wal-Mart.
Perhaps predictably there are injuries. People get run over and crushed underfoot. There are fights. Families use their children as offensive weapons, swinging them by the ankles to clear a path.
Have you seen the Hunger Games? Remember the scene when all of the contestants are running for the collection of weapons at the start of the games? It’s like that, only more dangerous. And less dignified. And with roughly the same chance someone will get shot with an arrow.
It’s spreading, too. Target stirred some people up this year when it announced plans to start its Black Friday activities a day early, which I guess makes Thanksgiving Charcoal Thursday or something. Online retailer Amazon.com is offering a week of Black Friday deals. For a time on Sunday you could get a black ribbed turtleneck for less than half price and 24-pack of albacore tuna for $48. Which is a pretty good deal if you like to get your canned fish products in bulk and through the mail.
It won’t be long before Black Friday spreads further. Eventually life will just be a series of waiting in lines for the stuff we want to go on sale. We will fight ferociously for our spots in line. Cans of tuna will become offensive weapons, because, what, you’re going to eat your mail-order fish products?
But I expect that will take at least one more year. Good luck.