Black Friday was upon us.
Undoubtedly there would have been numerous paper boys in the country’s emergency rooms — if we still had paper boys — with various muscles pulled from tossing the 5- or 6-pound newspapers loaded with all the ads for the Big Deal on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
There were some openings in the wee hours of Black Friday that didn’t go off without a hitch. Some people were trampled in the crush of the crowd to ensure that they got the Big Deal before anyone else did. In limited quantities while supplies last, of course. There is always that caveat on Black Friday.
Successful shoppers, having pillaged the various aisles of their targeted department store, were seen hauling off their booty in carts loaded to the gunwales. Some were seen throwing their treasures into their cars only to make another foray on another unsuspecting store to haul more stuff home.
There were even pirates in the parking lots, lying in wait for the original raiders to unload their loot and leave their car unlocked as they attacked another store for more loot. These parking lot pirates would then unload the previous raiders’ loot for themselves.
In another instance, a store had its own parking lot, supposedly with signs warning that non-customers would be towed. Now mind you, this store was not open at ungodly hour as other stores were, but nevertheless it had a tow company present with orders to haul any non-customers away if they parked in their parking lot, which they did to the tune of $330 a car. As the owners of the cars were busying themselves in getting the Big Deal inside the store of their choice, they were getting an even bigger deal outside in the parking lot. Merry Christmas all you shoppers.
After watching this modern day capitalistic raid develop, I couldn’t help wondering several things. First, we’re in a considerable recession. Millions are unemployed, yet people are hauling merchandise out of these stores like there will never be a tomorrow. That might, in fact, be why they are hauling this stuff out in such bulk quantities. They know somehow there will not be a tomorrow in their future.
Secondly, maybe they are stocking up for a giant Potlatch. Northwest Indians would save and save and then at the proper time, would strategically give all their assets away. Although broke, they were held in high esteem by all the other Northwest Indians of their tribe.
Thirdly, throughout all of this buy, buy, buy frenzy there was not one Merry Christmas or mention of the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem or the Three Wise Men following a star. Something deep inside of me asked a simple question: To what level have we fallen to that we don’t even honor the whole reason for Christmas in the first place?
Americans are a giving people, but they have given up the reason we have honored Christmas for over 2,000 years. The real tragedy is that most of them don’t even realize what they have done.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.