My husband was having a great laugh, so I poked my head into the living room to see what all the fuss was about. When he saw me, he pointed to the TV screen where two women were shown beating each other senseless in the middle of a shopping mall. At first, I was all "wha?" and he was all "they're crazy!" and I was all "but why?" And then it dawned on me: it was just another scene from Black Friday.
Yes, Black Friday, the apparently official start to holiday shopping. At our house, growing up, we always used to say it wasn't Christmas ‘til somebody cried. I guess now it's not Black Friday until somebody ends up in intensive care. Personally, I would rather pay full price than have to wade through a sea of people in pajamas pants clutching Furbies.
But Black Friday is not only the only shopping-obsessed day on the calendar. This year, some marketing genius came up with the term Red Thursday and, of course, it's all followed by Cyber Monday. What's next, Turquoise Tuesday? Perhaps you can tell that my joking is tinged with a hint of pain. Maybe it's because I am still recovering from a Black Friday experience I had many years ago. I wrote about it then, and I'll refresh your memory now as it's very clear in mine.
One year I decided to partake in Black Friday because there was a drill that was on sale and I wanted to get it for my husband for Christmas. My sister and I were at a local store, and when I heard the creak of the warehouse door open and the sound of the wheels as the poor 17-year-old stock boy brought out the drills on a massive cart I went wild. I could feel the hordes of people behind me as I ran like the wind, ready to pounce on my discounted prey. At one point, I sprinted by my sister and even knocked a woman over into a pile of boxes. I'm not proud to admit that, but by the way she hopped up and continued limping towards the drills, I assumed she was okay. Long story short: by the end of the night, I was shaking like a leaf and clutching a power tool. I don't know what came over me, but I'm pretty sure I don't want a repeat of it. Sure my heart was racing and I'd never felt so free and alive, but I also felt like a real twit. Did I really want to be the kind of person who goes nuts just to save a few dollars?
Of course, my Black Friday moment is nothing compared to the craziness that happened all over the U.S. and Canada this past week, well mostly in the States. Those folks know how to take materialistic greed to a whole new level. Thank baby Jesus in the manger that my moment of insanity didn't happen at a mall in Philadelphia. If that was the case, I might still be in a neck brace.
Terri McCormick’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.