By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Which means that I’m spending today cleaning out the refrigerator and wondering why I bought so much food. There is something about Thanksgiving that must make my “starvation gene” kick in. I buy groceries like we have had nothing to eat for months and end up with enough food to feed an army. Unfortunately, with only six of us in the house, we end up being a very well-fed army. Or, as our daughter said this weekend, we are in a “poma”. That is a hybrid word she coined on Thanksgiving night as we sat watching football in a stupor – a combination of pie and coma. It aptly described our mental and physical states. And that was before the 49ers played so badly that the owner apologized to the fans. Maybe the players were in a poma too. But no matter how bad we felt, we were still better off than the people who ventured out to shop in the newly formed “Thanksgiving Day Sales”. I want to go on record that I am totally against the stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. Can’t we still have a holiday that celebrates food, family and football without Target and Walmart getting involved? The stores all claimed that the early opening times would avoid some of the mayhem from past Black Friday sales when so much pushing and shoving took place. Hmmmmm…let’s just re-cap how that little experiment worked. For your reading pleasure, here are some of the highlights from the “new” Black Thursday:
- In Romeoville, Illinois a policeman was dragged from his car in the parking lot at Kohl’s by a shoplifter he was trying to apprehend,
- In Las Vegas, a man was shot in a Target parking lot when two men accosted him and tried to steal the HDTV he had just purchased,
- In Virginia a man was stabbed in the knee with a knife after two men got into an altercation over a parking spot,
- In Carlsbad, California a man was stabbed in the stomach at the entrance to a mall, ostensibly jockeying for position to be the first to get his hands on a brand new TV.
- At a Houston Walmart people were trampled and fights broke out when shoppers laid down on Samsung TV boxes to “reserve” them. (I actually had to laugh thinking about the genesis of that shopping strategy: “Okay, I’ll go get the Game Boy and Barbie Doll, you go heave your body over the Samsung box until I come around to pick you up.”)
The most telling of the “Black Friday” incidents occurred in Nanuet, New York, where two Costco employees began fighting in the men’s room before the store opened and one of them stabbed the other with a box cutter. You can only imagine the conversation that preceded their tiff. They were most likely fighting over which one of them had to go out and face all of the fruitcakes that were lined up at the store entrance, waiting to get their hands on a bargain-priced electric potato peeler or a jumbo container of gouda cheese.
Clearly, the goal of the new opening hours on Thursday did nothing to stem the violence – or stupidity – of the shopping public. But I suspect that the big stores will open again on Thanksgiving next year because I just read that the extra hours translated to record profits for them. It seems hard to believe that we might become nostalgic for the “good old days” when people were just pushing and shoving.
As for me, I’ll stick with Cyber Monday, where traditionally people shop from their employer’s computers so they can take advantage of the fast T-1 lines. Not to mention the added benefit of looking like they’re working furiously on their computer when in reality they’re perusing the latest Best Buy ad. Even though I am now retired, I still like looking at the deals available today. And I have the extra added benefit of safety – I am fairly confident that neither my husband or Dash the Wonder Dog will stab me while I’m shopping.