Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Think I'll miss this one this year

Buying a house really changes your financial status in a hurry. Suddenly that huge stockpile of cash that I used to have - what I used to refer to as "my life savings" - has been converted into a down payment (20%, to avoid PMI), closing costs, various taxes and fees, with the remainder consigned to a fund to cover incidental espenses like, say, rewiring the entire house so it doesn't burn down the first time I try to make toast.

Christmas will be lean and mean this year, I'm afraid. But there will be one. That's not what I'm planning on skipping.

For the past few years it's become a semi-tradition for my friends and me to get up in the wee hours of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and head out to the Wyoming Valley Mall to get in line with all the other bargain-hunting idiots. At best we're there for one or two items each: a rocking horse, a video game, a piece of temporarily discounted fine jewelry, some pillows. Nothing outrageous, nothing special. Before long we break for breakfast. By noon we're wiped out and ready to head home.

Paradigm shifts sometimes take place when someone decides to do something in a novel way - the Fosbury Flop, which allowed higher and higher records in the high jump, is often cited as an example. Before Fosbury, nobody thought to do this particular maneuver. After Fosbury showed how it was done, it was quickly adopted and became the standard. A paradigm shifted, and high jumping was never the same.

Last week two men approached a line of 15 to 20 people who were lined up outside of a Wal-Mart in Connecticut, eagerly awaiting the release of the Playstation 3. Outnumbered ten-to-one but armed with a handgun and a shotgun, the pair robbed the line of would-be shoppers and shot the one person who resisted.

On the morning of Black Friday there will be lines of people in many major shopping centers throughout the United States, pockets full of cash and credit cards and heads full of visions of bargains. How many others will look at these lines as easy targets, lines of babies just waiting to have their candy taken from them? Will anyone else try it, or will the Connecticut robbery be an aberration? Has there been a paradigm shift when it comes to Black Friday?

Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I'm going to stay at my new house and do some work on it that day. No Black Friday for me this year!


Gort said...

Stay home, eat leftovers and watch too much college football.

Ashley said...

When I worked at KB Toy store, we actually had two women get into a fist fight over who should be first in line.
One had been waiting outside the mall for three hours and the other ran faster and passed everyone when the mall doors were open.

Plus it was a huge day for shop lifters. There was a line that weaved through the store and the employees were running like crazy. It was pretty easy to take whatever you wanted.
And mall security wasn't much help. One of them got maced and beat with a purse when they tried to stop a shop lifter on Black Friday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I think it's been over thirty years since I went anywhere near a retail establishment on the day after Thanksgiving, and nothing either of you has said invites me to change that. Whether I can afford it or not is irrelevant; I refuse to put up with it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!