Commentary: Black Friday is the nightmare before Christmas

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 7, 2008

By Gerry Morales
For the Salisbury Post
The day after Thanksgiving, I went for the first time to a Black Friday sale, solely for the experience, and let me tell you, it was a nightmare realized!
The crowd was overwhelming … even at a large store where they are open for 24 hours. Survival of the fittest was definitely in full throttle as I was hit repeatedly in my Achilles tendon by shoppers double-timing to their next destination.
People even had game plans as if planning a great invasion. They brought their troops (or we will call them their friends) and had a plan of attack. They divided and hoped to conquer by getting at least one item on their recon lists. I’ve heard that small skirmishes broke out over the last of the year’s hottest toys.
Human walls formed on either side of the discounted DVD bins. Either the store was not prepared to have four lanes of heavy traffic heading to layaway that ran next to the DVD bin, or maybe the blood-thirsty employees wanted some hand-to-hand combat to break out, so the bin was “strategically placed,” forcing any possible invading customers to fight a wall of flesh to get the last “Iron Man” DVD.
Courtesy and good moral sense went by the wayside as people verbally battled it out for the items that were purposely available only in limited quantities. My wife had wanted to go for a specific item, so we went to electronics where it should have been, only to realize we had waited in the wrong line for more than half an hour.
The item we sought was now in the former layaway department, where by now, the line was reaching the automotive department several miles ó excuse me, several aisles ó away. And what’s more, only five customers at a time were allowed in there for a limited number of the item.
My wife and I finally said phooey with it, because it just wasn’t worth spending three and a half days in line only to reach our destination and find out we were 200 customers too late.
Unrelenting and rude are just some of the traits you would find in people on Black Friday. People will steal your Christmas booty right from your cart, if you or one of your minions are not guarding the cart with your very lives. You must prepare yourselves with at least some type of shin protection from the onslaught of shopping carts that will inadvertently attack.
Black Friday, though it is a great marketing ploy, is a flawed ploy. To lure people into a store at the wee hours of the morning for a chance at one of two Wii systems (or whatever) is wrong. I’m not saying that it is materialistic or wrong for people to shop for good deals, but it is wrong for department stores to limit the quantities available and to also limit the time these items will be available. I say, have plenty of a specialty item or items on special all day, and when you run out, give out a limited number of rainchecks.
My experience tells me that the true meaning of the Christmas season is fleeting. Christmas is and, unfortunately, will from now on be a commercialized holiday rather than the precious holy day that many Christians hold dear to their heart.
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Gerry Morales lives in Salisbury.