By Allen Hamrick
To say that this year has been a bit different than the usual is an understatement. Whether it’s political, medical, wars, rumor of wars, business or weather, it’s been a humdinger. We have seen it all and worried about most of it, from where our next sawbuck is coming from to how many tarps we are going to need to make our new house after we lose the one we have. No matter what we need, toilet paper, wood, tools, meat, etc., they must have to import it from Mars as difficult as it is to get sometimes. Whatever happened to preparation, ingenuity, and wit? They must have taken the last bus to the newest state in the union- the state of confusion. There are some things that shouldn’t change one’s ability to balance the chaos and war cries with laughing and peace. Some of those things, like a cup of boiling hot coffee and the sweet taste of a freshly baked donut, enjoying a hunt, fishing, hiking, float tripping, shooting a bow, going to school, reading a book, treasure hunting; you know, living and enjoying, the little things.
The one thing that millions of people in this country anticipated that was taken away little by little to what it is now is Black Friday, a date that most people set on their calendars to get the top secret deals for the day after Thanksgiving. A day that turns most people into riotous, greedy shoppers, a first come, first serve all-out attack on discounted cheap goods big corporation stores were selling. It was a way that big box stores can get farther into the black of the year’s profit margins. It is an opportunity to have some fun watching the utter chaos in the stores as people fight for the last DVD or the best and biggest TV, among many other items. I’ve watched people herd into an area where the blue jeans were half off and had to be held back as if there was a sack of gold in the middle of it. When the bell sounded that the sale was on, it was a literal feeding frenzy as the toughest mothers would toss other mothers off the pile of Levis to procure pants for their kids. I saw people with five televisions in their carts laughing at the people who were just a little too late for the sale, even when they had saved all year just to get one. I’ve seen people take other peoples’ carts when their back was turned, only to abandon it sometime later as they just couldn’t come up with the money. It was a one day event that started in the wee hours of the morning; only the most dedicated survived. When it was over, it was over until next year. Friendships rose and fell on Black Friday, alliances were formed and treaties were signed. It was one of the greatest events in our lifetime, a time to go crazy spending money we didn’t have and being someone we normally are not, but …
It has all ended; the one thing that big corporations got started that we were actually excited about has become a walk in the park. Online shopping has become the new activity, and the stores realize, “Hey, if we can get the public to butt heads for one day and make millions, why not start at the first of the month and make billions?” We, the people, are once again are left in the dust. Our day for madness taken away to the tune of online shopping and power. A time to let our hair down and go at each other’s throat over the best parking places or the last Rocky DVD … gone. Now, the stores are stocked full of items and no one is in a hurry, it’s slow paced as if you were shopping on a Monday at midnight. Gone are the days of full carts and mile long checkout lines, gone are the days of the city’s finest deputies checking carts, gone are the days when the layaway line was full of people on the edge of a breakdown. Gone are the days when you could wage friendly war of the morning and in the afternoon count your spoils over lunch. Gone are the big piles in the clothing department, gone are the tug of wars in the sports department over rod and reel combos. Most of all, gone are the days that in all of the chaos, it was about the fun in the end. Not what you were able to get, but the fun of trying to get it. It wasn’t for everybody, for sure, but for millions of people, it was a day to be free, to let the stale adrenaline get pumped up.
Once again, all good things come to an end. Yeah, its easy shopping now, all laid back. We are all part of the ritual of making others rich, but at least with the old way, we could compete for it. We have one chance at life – let’s make the best of it, make sure we enjoy the things we love doing because it could be gone in the passing of a year. Take our world back before it’s hauled away in the last shopping cart.