Posted by: Necci – Nov 28, 2011
‘Tis the season for my two all-time favorite things: eating and shopping. Ironically, in the land of the large and home of the heavy, gorging on food actually takes a back seat to gorging on other stuff during one particular 24-hour period known as Black Friday. It’s a beautiful day in this great nation of ours, when suburbanites with too much disposable income, rednecks with barely any disposable income, and just plain crazy people come together to partake in one giant moron-athon of mass consumption. It’s a bona fide comedy of errors--except, in my opinion, it’s really not that funny.
I usually steer clear of pretty much anywhere that sells anything on Black Friday, but not because I’m against our culture of commercialism. In fact, I tend to support it since it usually supports us—and by the way, I don’t quite understand how we can be in a recession when people are tossing $2000 flat-screen TVs in their shopping carts at Costco all Sunday long (I’ve seen it, y’all), but maybe that’s my lack of macroeconomics education speaking. Rather, I steer clear of Black Friday sales for two very specific reasons. Number one: I’m afraid that I might actually end up in some sort of murderous jam due to a fit of uncontrollable road rage. I can handle lines of people in a store (sometimes), but just I can’t handle lines of luxury SUVs with 90lb, tennis-playing soccer moms inside half-attempting to see over the steering wheel in between text messages. And number two: It’s just not worth it.
Let me explain. I went to Short Pump—aka the fiery depths of parking lot hell—the day before Thanksgiving to use a gift certificate for a massage that was going to expire. The massage sucked, by the way, so maybe that just put a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of the day (#westendproblems). At any rate, however, I went to the mall afterwards just to look around and I found myself in Urban Outfitters due to the giant red sign out front that read “EXTRA 50% OFF ALL SALE ITEMS.” Long story short, even though I was told by one sales associate that yes, the discount does apply, by the time I a) fought through the narrow, packed racks of clothes, leaning towers of shoes, and rabid preteen-mother duos, b) found someone who worked there to reach a dress that was hanging, no joke, 20 feet above me, c) waited in line and tried on countless ill-constructed, ill-fitting clothes and shoes, d) narrowed my selection down to four pretty awesome things that should have totaled less than $50 (I’m an expert sale shopper), and e) waited in line to pay, another sales associate at the cash register informed me that my total was closer to $100 than it was to $50.
Now, listen. I’ve got a job. Well, not really, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, if I wanted to, I could have paid $100 for those four items. Or I could have come back on Black Friday when the sale actually took place, as the hipster-in-training bluntly informed me, and gotten them for $50, like I had so carefully planned beforehand. After weighing my options, I realized that even though I really wanted the things I picked out, they simply weren’t worth $100 (and they definitely weren’t worth the $180 they would have cost at full price). I also realized that after the difficulty I had getting through UO on a semi-regular day, there was no way on a cold day in Hades I’d go back on Black Friday. Why? Because, like I said, the chaos, the rudeness, and the outright deception just weren’t worth it.
I decided I would much rather spend my Black Friday in a different version of good American form: passed out from a food coma in front of a giant flat-screen TV blaring college football (go Hokies!). Admittedly, the television was not purchased at 50% off after camping outside a Best Buy for two full days, but I promised myself I’d make myself sick eating an extra plate of mashed potatoes to make up for it.
On the way out of Urban, I looked back at the bright red sign that had beguiled me so in the first place. I had read it wrong. It actually said, “blackfriday12am-10am EXTRA 50% OFF ALL SALE ITEMS.” Umm, my bad?
By Cori Hanky