Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

It's the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and apparently it's a big day for shopping for our neighbours to the South, as well as the many Canadians who drove over the border to enjoy the sales.  Maybe it's because lots of people have a 4 day weekend and nothing else to do with themselves, maybe because they woke up this morning and suddenly realized it's only a month until Christmas. 

We've been hearing lots of stories in the news today about stores opening at 4 a.m. and people who went hours earlier to line up and wait for the doors to open.  One story involved someone who arrived at 10 p.m. but then fell asleep in the parking lot, only to wake up a few hours later and realize the line, which had been non-existent when they first got there, now stretched around the block. 

I must admit, I don't get it.  Sounds insane on several different levels to me.  The name itself sounds pretty ominous, makes me think of  "Black Tuesday", the day the stock market crashed in 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression.  Not exactly a pleasant association.  According to Wikipedia, the name originated in Philadelphia and was used to describe the "heavy and disruptive" vehicular traffic that would occur on this day.  But in this case, the phrase is supposed to have a more positive meaning, to suggest that it is the day retailers start to operate "in the black", i.e. showing a profit.

Wikipedia also goes on to say that injuries and even fatalities have been reported on this day. "On Friday, November 28, 2008, a worker at a Walmart in Valley Stream, New York was trampled to death by shoppers who broke through the store's glass doors minutes before the store's scheduled opening at 5:00 a.m.; a pregnant mother was hospitalized from injuries in the same human "stampede", though early reports of a resultant miscarriage were determined to be in error; and on that same day, two people in Palm Desert, California, were shot and killed in a Toys "R" Us store during an argument."  Seriously crazy stuff, in my humble opinion.

It reminds me of Boxing Day sales, which I also don't understand and don't participate in.  But whatever floats your boat.  If shopping amidst huge crowds is your thing, this just might be your day to get that great bargain.  Me, I'd rather stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet. 

Which is probably a good thing, since my horoscope for November actually says I need to avoid these days, and advises me to "Resist those sales. You don't need them. You will not be satisfied with anything you buy on those days, and neither will your recipient later. Do not travel on these days either, but especially not on Saturday, November 27, when (Uranus and Mercury) will be out of control."   (Astrology Zone)  Yikes!

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