Friday, November 28, 2008

Half Day

Ostensibly, I've got a "Half Day" today. It's more like 3/4 of a day because I get in kind of early.

The ride to the bus was fascinating as ever. Although it's maybe 2 miles to the bus stop from my place, it's 2 miles through what I usually call "My Village" - The stuff that's a reasonable walking/cycling distance from home. My village has a lot of cool places -- pretty much everything I really need and most of what I like that I don't need. Not to mention all the places that I will probably never go.

It so happens that a lot of those cool places are also offering "Black Friday" deals. That means that Quivira, one of the main roads through town, turns into a circus of selfishly inexorable motorists. They push, shove, honk, nudge, and bully one another as they attempt to shoe-horn their beasts into over-crowded parking lots. A traffic jam at 6:00 in the morning, where the stop lights aren't the bottleneck and the minor road crossings cause big problems. It was as if thousands of people were willing -- no, eager -- to participate in one Consumer Thunderdome after the next, while playing Demolition Derby between stops.

Even if I had the day off and stores were literally giving stuff away, I can't picture myself in mindless consumer zombie mode like this. I don't know how (or why) these people do it. But to each their own.

It was a pleasant ride for me, But I saw a lot of undue animosity between motorists. Thanks for not running me over, honking at me, or bullying me around on the road too much this morning.


Pat Ring said...

Haha. Too funny. Didn't I see a pic in your blog recently of someone standing in line to buy a WoW game? While I did get up early to try to snag an Xbox with Guitar Hero for the girls at WalMart(sold out long before the start of the sale,) I don't know how or why people would stand in line to buy a game unless it was at some sort of deep discount. To each their own...

Noah said...

I suppose there's a little bit of a parallel there. While I can see going to a midnight showing of some awesome movie, or going to the midnight release of something, I draw the line at the every-store-has-doorbusters freakshow that has become Black Friday. Plus, midnight isn't too much past my bed time. Waking up in time to be in front of best buy at 4:00 AM, however, is too freaking early for me.

Noah said...

Not to mention I was in an empty parking lot with my wife and 40 other game addicts for 20 minutes. all had pre-paid for it, those 40 people went in, showed a receipt, and left in a civilized manner.

That's a lot different than being one of 200 people ready to storm the aisles of Wal-Mart for 2 hours before opening, (and in the process of entering, killing people) with every surrounding store being equally queued up with humans.

There really isn't a whole lot of comparison, the more I think about it.

Miguel said...

Not to forget: Black Friday happens just after a holiday focused on family, friends, being thankful for what one has, and perhaps aiding those who have less. No time to waste, gotta buy, buy, buy.

Noah said...

Between Giving Thanks and Giving Gifts, yes. That's where "Black Friday" is.

As much as I like shiny stuff, I think Christmas needs to get back to hand-made things wrought from intangibles such as care and love. Oh well. We'll probably end up baking most of the gifts for family this year.

Anonymous said...

I hate black Friday. I wouldn't go if you paid me. It ain't worth the 5 bucks in savings.

At this time tommorrow all the retail stores will be complaining about slow sales as usual. Except for this year maybe they'll ask for bail-out money? What do ya think? 10 billion?

Pat Ring said...

I didn't mean to touch a nerve. It's not all about consumerism. Noah, you ride your bike, take the bus, and seem to drive less, as you document so well. While I know there are other reasons for this activity, you know it doesn't hurt your pocketbook. You've discussed tight finances before, as well. So when I got out of bed last year to go to Circuit City, and got a deep discount on the TV I bought, I saved hundreds of dollars over the price I was going to pay anyway. I am not a fan of shopping. In fact, I hate to shop. But, given the opportunity to save some considerable bank, I'll do it. The activity didn't take anything away from the day I spent with my family or detract from the holiday. I wouldn't get out of bed to save $5, either, but if I can save hundreds on an item I was going to buy anyway, or save hundreds on presents for the kids, then I am OK with that. It's a day of mad discounts, not a day to ruin the rest of your holiday.

Noah said...

Heading to Circuit City to save hundreds is one thing. Scouring the newspapers on thanksgiving, drawing up a battle plan, then figuring out which of you is hitting which 3 stores, that kind of stuff is just nuts. I could tell, at 6:11 AM as I rode past Best Buy, watching people zip across the street to the next shopping center, that a lot of these folks were not just hitting one place to get a good deal. They were in it for the long haul, running the rabid consumer rat race.

Sorry to lump EVERYONE who gets up early for BF as "cogs in the consumerism machine". That was also wrong of me. I just don't understand the ones who take it to the limit. I don't hate them. I don't even *mind* them (okay, I'm kind of disturbed about the Walmart trampling). I just don't get the point of that level of excess.

Jon said...

Except for the stuff I've made, all of my Christmas gifts have been bought online and shipped directly to my (out of town) recipients or to me for ditro, later.

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