Black (and blue) Friday
I know you’re busy, but I hope that at some point today — perhaps after chaotic hours of football, family and feasting — you’ll take a moment to pause in silence, bow your head, and ponder what’s really important, such as how Walmart is selling the Playstation 4 Slim 500 GB bundle tomorrow for just $249.
According to a recent poll, 137 million Americans plan on shopping tomorrow. The study also shows that 27 percent of them will be trying to get that last parking spot in front of you at Cabela’s.
So instead, you’ll have to find an empty spot out somewhere out a little further, such as Sutherlands, or Utah. You may have to hitchhike to the mall’s front door, so plan on bringing two days’ supply of provisions.
BLACK FRIDAY FACT: Each year, Mesa County Search and Rescue saves at least 20 couples found wandering around the mall parking lot, arguing over where they parked.
But back to the poll of 137 million shoppers. It may seem high, but these are professional pollsters. They are thorough in their scientific research and methodical in compiling accurate data.
Let’s be real. These are the same people who told us that Brexit was impossible and to prepare for President-elect Clinton. In other words, if a pollster mentions in passing that it’s going to be a beautiful day today, you should probably take refuge in a bunker.
Whatever the number, we know there will be a lot of you out tomorrow.
After all, the day has been a Thanksgiving weekend tradition ever since that very first Black Friday in 1621, when three Pilgrim ladies grabbed their ad circulars and left the communal cabin early one morning, each one clutching a shopping list scribbled full of what each family member wanted for Christmas:
THOMAS: To be cured of scurvy
The ladies wandered around the forest, looking for food, or at least for a close parking spot by the mall. Finding none, the pilgrim ladies gave up, headed back to the cabin, and were soon eaten by bears.
But just because the first black Friday shoppers died a slow, painful death doesn’t mean YOUR Black Friday will be anything like that. It will be worse.
So here are some tips to help you navigate the day after Thanksgiving:
Set aside a certain amount of money for all Christmas-related expenses, such as presents, decorations, sedatives, etc.
Spend a lot of time budgeting, figuring out how much you’ll need, then put that exact amount of cash in an envelope.
Now double it. And bring a credit card too.
I’m supposed to say, “wear comfortable shoes and clothing,” but full body armor and spiked helmets seem more appropriate.
Have you seen those videos of Black Friday shoppers? It’s like the annual “Running of the Bulls,” only instead of bulls, these are Walmart shoppers, meaning they’re heavier, with more body hair.
Either way, avoid the mad rush. Is a discounted laptop worth receiving severe bruising to your internal organs? Of course not, unless it’s the HP 15½ inch with 4GB RAM laptop at Best Buy for $169, in which case you have to ask, “Which organ?”
TRY ONLINE SHOPPING
Although more convenient, it has its detractors.
In fact, one recent study showed that 100 percent of respondents believe Americans should not order ANYTHING online. It was a survey of 1,000 UPS drivers, but still.
BRING YOUR LIST
There’s an inverse age correlation with Christmas wish lists: the younger the person, the longer the list.
A 75-year-old’s list may be simply “lotion,” whereas a 5-year-old’s wish list will consist of Target’s toy section, isles 2 through 6.
Just keep everything in perspective. Even if you don’t purchase lots of ridiculously expensive Christmas presents for them, your family will still love you. Mine won’t, but yours will.
So I hope you have a safe and successful Black Friday. I certainly plan to. Just as soon as search and rescue arrives.