Shoppers in a frenzy over cool stripey pants. Photo by John Crosley.
I know I said I was taking the day off today (put down the mouse and step away from the computer!), but I can't resist passing this along while it's topical: Gary Brown pointed out an interesting article (in my own local paper no less) about the real origins of the term 'Black Friday' (that's today, if you're wondering—the Friday after Thanksgiving in the U.S.). It also charts for us the rise of the term's usage.
Meanwhile, we often turn to Ctein for technical assistance around these parts, but after I saw a certain commercial yesterday I had to laugh—I would need Ctein's help to calculate how infinitesimal the chances are that I'd be showing up at K-Mart at five o'clock in the morning. It would have to involve something like a quantum teleporting of every atom in my body through a different dimension, randomly reconstituting me in the aisles of said K-Mart. Rather than, say, 900 nautical miles east-southeast of Melanesia or in the air two miles above Tobruk. I suppose kidnapping by a Colombian cocaine cartel might also have to be factored in: "Dear Zander, Thank you for tendering the entire $7,347.69 from your father's savings account along with the nine sundry film and digital cameras we demanded as ransom. You can find him tied up in the deserted garden products section of your local K-Mart at 5:00 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving."
Or maybe if they gave the first five shoppers free Audi S5's, say. I'd be pessimistic about my chances, but I might try.
I can't come up with any other plausible scenarios.
Now, if our retail establishments wanted to get me to shop, what they'd advertise is the least busy day of the year. "Attention! Almost no one shops on July 22nd! The stores are nearly deserted! Mosey through the doors at your own lackadaisical pace! Come after you've slept late and had three cups of coffee—it won't matter, everything will still be there!"
That might get me.
Enjoy your day!
Mike, back to vacation
UPDATE (Saturday): Seeing some of the reports yesterday evening I was genuinely repulsed by it all. Granted, the "news" is culling the worst incidents and the worst video clips from all over the country, but it makes us look bad to the rest of the world. (Sort of the way the British look when you see those compilations of the worst behavior by soccer fans.) I have to trust that most Black Friday sales were probably pretty orderly and dull, but the worst ones...ugh. I hope this is something on the order of a fad or a popular craze, and that it will pass.
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