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Friday, 25 November 2011


Here's a disturbing Black Friday story:


After Thanksgiving dinner, she said she and her friends were complaining about the lack of eye-catching deals this year. “And one of the men asked, ‘Then why go?’” she recounted. “We were like, ‘Because this is our thing. It’s what we do.’”

It is definitely not what I do. But I see lots of freelance editorial images of shoppers, lines and merchandise.

Please, Colombia is with an 'o' after the l. I've been married to my wonderful Colombian wife for more than 10 years and from the beginning this has been ingrained in my mind. Although within the English language, does one spell it with a u instead of o?

Mike, in keeping with the Zeitgeist of the times, there's a report of one of these 5 AM shoppers, a woman in California, holding off other shoppers with pepper spray to defend her shopping turf.

It's getting worse and worse. First the stores started opening at 6AM on the day after Thanksgiving. Then it became Midnight. Last night I was driving home from the family Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house and I see that the Outlet Mall in Aurora, Illinois is opening at 9PM Thanksgiving Day. Soon Black Friday is going to start on Wednesday.

death of a Long Island Walmart worker stampeded by frenzied bargain hunters

Yes, We Don't Speak Proper English Department: the poor man/woman was not stampeded. The bargain hunters stampeded and trampled him/her. Learn the words you appropriated from other languages. :)

My sentiments exactly ...

>> Even in 1985, a Philadelphia Inquirer story shows, retailers in eastern Pennsylvania were still bemoaning the Black Friday label they were stuck with.

"We hate it," one Philadelphia merchant was quoted as saying. Retailers elsewhere in the country, meanwhile, had never heard of the term.<<

That retailer is wrong. I was working in retail, at a mall, in 1983, in Akron, Ohio. We used the term then for the shopping day after Thanksgiving due to the masses of rude, agressive people who would arrive. All of the employees at the other retail establishments used it, too. It was generally considered to be an old term, not something we made up.

Local papers survive on the advertising from local merchants. They don't often print articles that are anti-shopping (at least not until recent years). Looking for such articles in those papers might not be the best research design.


Mike, it's rumored that Macy's gave away free digital cameras to the first 100 shoppers to cross their threshold. (Make and model unspecified). Here's a link to a blogger who mentions that she met someone who received one. How's that for verification of the rumor?

So, would that change your mind? Would you venture forth amidst the mayhem at midnight to be one of the first 100 shoppers and receive your very own free digital camera (make and model unspecified)?

Yeah, that S5 is pretty fetching.

Full contact shopping. It's the new American sport. Personal fouls are not only expected, but encouraged. No lost aisles or red flags for punching, gouging and biting. The person with the highest number of maxed out credit cards wins.

But Mike... Shopping is Good!

Thanks for the correction. I fixed it.


Activity for the morning was going to see "Masters of Venice" at the De Young in San Francisco. Almost empty and easy to stand far enough away from the paintings. Shopping was crowded chaos, I imagine. Tee Hee...

Being that my specialty is dog photography, the day after Thanksgiving here at Top Dog Imaging is "Bark Friday."

Man after my own heart.


you are probably the marketer's worst nightmare. An intelligent and informed consumer, slightly contrarian, and unlikely to get carried away in the sort of buying frenzy that afflicts crowds when faced with apparently attractive prices and apparently time and stock limited availability of "bargains". I'm with you on that although part of my job is to create such conditions, which isn't hard.

Could it be that the Walmart pepper spray lady works for UC and simply considers it acceptable to spray people who are inconveniently in the way?

Following the coverage of this - which is all new to me as a European - I couldn't help feel that I was watching, or reading, a science fiction tale of some dystopian future. Phillip K Dick or J G Ballard. Very strange...

Searching Google Groups and limiting the search by date seems to indicate the term was already entering the vernacular by the early 90's. IIRC, it was sometime in the mid 90's that I first got up early to get to a store in time (8AM!) and prior to it's normal hours to get a special deal. (An Xmas gift for my wife, one of the few times I've gotten up early on Black Friday.)

As Darin says above, searching news articles is (for a variety of reasons) a really bad way to measure penetration into the vernacular.

Is it really that bad or just the youtube video?

Don't worry, the report you are talking about didn't make it to Sydney Australia :)


You don't need to post this as a comment but I thought I'd share my more uplifting Black Friday story.

Back in January I was installing a security system in an older gentleman's house in my hometown and I noticed that he had a bunch of old cameras displayed in a downstairs room. We ended up talking about photography for a while that day and the fact that I had taken up film photography. A couple of weeks later my wife and I took new jobs and moved away.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday evening. My wife and I have come back to my parents' house for Thanksgiving and there's a message on the answering machine from the gentleman with the cameras (he's done business with my parents in the past and figured out I was their son). He said that he remembered that I had an interest in film photography and that if I was in town he had something he wanted to give me. I called him the next day and we made plans to meet on Friday.

When I arrived at his house he took me down to the cameras, picked up a Rolleiflex 2.8, and asked me if I would like to have it. I was shocked and tried to explain that it was worth a lot of money but he insisted that he would rather give it to someone he knew that would use it than sell it to a stranger. He handed it to me and asked me if there was anything else there I might use. There were a number of Nikons, a Zeiss folder, a Mini Crown Graphic, among other treasures. I told him that the Rolleiflex was more than enough and thanked him over and over. He kept insisting that he didn't want any money so I promised to send him prints from time to time and walked out in a bit of a daze.

There's no real point to the story except to share my anti-Black Friday tale. I'm beyond humbled by the generosity I was shown and hope that I can pass the camera on in the same way when I can no longer use it.


Dear Speed,

Nicely illustrates the perils of quoting out of context.

Your quote makes them sound like frivolous, irresponsible, girls-just-wanna-have-fun, obsessive mall-hoppers.

Here are selected excerpts that summarize the article, starting with the very first sentence:

"For Estela Juarez, Black Friday is more than just a shopping spree, it’s a lifeline."


"They arrived at 4:15 a.m., and had already spent $400 — what each makes a week working at a Chicago factory.

"But they stretched that paycheck, scoring three $70 winter jackets for their children at $15 each. “And I found bigger sizes so they can wear them next year,” Ms. Juarez said. "I have to buy for the future, not just right now.'"


"With the economy still slumping, her standards for sales are higher: at least 40% off."

Paints a rather different portrait, doesn't it?!

Folks might want to think on this, in an era where (mis)-quoting sound-bites out of context is a favored method for trashing a political opponent.

pax / Ctein

Consumerism :(

I hope, for everybody's sake that people stop caring about things, and start caring about experiences sometime soon.

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