Six Random Thoughts about Black Friday
I slept in today. It was great.
I think Black Friday Sleep is the best kind of sleep. I always feel some smug sense of superiority as I doze. I had a dream that I was tossing a football around in my yard with Cam Newton. I’m sure I wouldn’t have had that dream if I had to get up at 3 a.m. to get in line at a Best Buy to buy a GoPro camera.
I’m not sure what would've happened had I gotten up early. I've never taken part in Black Friday. I think I know what I'd get if I did: a bruise. Or a twisted ankle.
Also, I have enough TV’s, thank you.
2. From 1996 through 2001, the Saturday before Christmas was always the busiest shopping day of the year. This year, it’s Black Friday, which now starts on Thursday at some stores. Last night, I drove past a Wal Mart in Greensboro, and the parking lot was full, so some people had taken to parking at the Taco Bell next door. Nothing’s more American than denying someone the chance to sit down and have a nice Thanksgiving dinner consisting of Doritos Locos tacos and Mountain Dew.
3. Black Friday gives us videos of sprinting shoppers and mild soccer-hooligan-style rioting. Witness, then, this YouTube video from a Wal Mart in Marion, North Carolina. If modern superstores are designed to be as efficient and orderly as your circulatory system, this is what happens when a Wal Mart has a heart attack:
Or check out this video, from an Urban Outfitters in parts unknown:
I’ll be damned if that isn’t just like the part of the Lion King where Mufasa dies:
Don’t you get it, America? YOUR UNBRIDLED CONSUMERISM IS KILLING INTELLIGENT LIONS.
4. Numbers from the International Council of Shopping Centers, which I’m assuming has some sort of sinister looking conference room lurking deep below an Orange Julius somewhere, show some interesting trends. Sales of electronics this holiday season are expected to be the same as last year, while sales of clothes are supposed to go up 5.5%. This is mind-boggling to me, because as every little boy knows, clothes are the absolute worst thing you can get, while electronics are AWESOME. When I was a kid, I once got a ballcap which had several Disney characters on it. They were all playing golf, dressed Bagger Vance-style. I never wore it. Another time I got an old pinball machine. BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.
My favorite number from the ICSC is this one: 3% of all shoppers plan to complete their holiday shopping on Christmas Eve. Note the important word here. Plan. They plan to do this. One year, a friend of mine at a TV station who had the unfortunate luck of working on December 24th ended up at a Target to see who would come in. He followed around some poor schlub who had just gotten off of work ten minutes before the store closed and had the unenviable task of trying to find something that would warm the hearts of his children, despite the fact that the only thing left on the shelves at Target was crap that people didn’t want. So he ran through the aisles with his cart, searching and searching, until he found it.
“Kids love socks,” he mumbled to himself, trying to justify his purchase as he sprinted for the register.
Kids do not like socks.
5. Black Friday will subsequently morph into Small Business Saturday, which then skips Sunday and goes straight to Cyber Monday, which makes me suffer a little bit from fake holiday fatigue. When I was in college in Ohio, my girlfriend insisted that Sweetest Day was a thing, and that there were cards out there to prove it. So on some random day in October every year, I had to go out and buy flowers and something from Hallmark. And apparently all of the other guys I knew had to do the same thing, because the concept of Sweetest Day grew and grew and grew like a virus, despite the fact that I’d never heard of it before and I couldn’t find it on any bank calendars.
When I met my wife, early on in our relationship, I asked her what she’d want for Sweetest Day. “What’s that?” she asked. She’d never heard of it. I explained it. Sweetest Day sounds stupid, she said.
I love her so much.
My favorite Black Friday deal: Buy a t-shirt from Hackerspace Charlotte, and get a free server.
Happy Black Friday everyone. May you find happiness, warmth, love and Samsung.