Friday, November 27, 2009

There Is Always A Line, And There Will Always Be Someone Ahead Of You

I have never really understood, nor, have I truly appreciated all the excitement around the so-called “Black Friday.” It seems to me that it really messes up what should otherwise be a very nice day following Thanksgiving. Since the extended family is still in town, and all the hard work putting the big meal together is over, I would think people who are not working would want to enjoy the day relaxing and visiting with relatives they might not see again for another year. For a great many people, however, such is not the case.

Apparently, it is “fun” for a lot of folks to get up at 2:00 in the morning. They want to be in line by 3:00, so they can be disappointed when the store opens at 4:00, when they discover that the “special” price on the merchandise they wanted is no longer valid, or the item they wanted was sold a few minutes earlier to one of the 600 people in line ahead of them (who had the good sense to get up at 1:00 a.m.). And, despite last year’s disappointment, and this year’s disappointment, next year they will get up at the same time and do it all over again. I live by a few simple rules. One of my shopping rules is: “There is always a line, and there will always be someone ahead of you.”

People here in the hill country are no different from anywhere else when it comes to Black Friday. They got up in force this morning to hit the major shopping centers around Austin. Places like Barton Creek Mall, The Domain, Lakeline Mall, The Arboretum, and the Hill Country Galleria endured crowds from before sunrise until way after sunset. I’m sure that the outlet malls in San Marcos and Round Rock were also very crowded.

Some Black Friday shoppers plan their day with the precision of a military operation. They implement detailed plans to outwit and out maneuver other shoppers, in order to seize the best price on the most sought after merchandise. Some Black Friday shoppers are so organized, that they often form teams and split up in the search of the desired products. They communicate stealthily using text messages on their cell phones, so as not to alert other shoppers as to locations where lines are shorter and deals are more plentiful.

It all seems like a lot of wasted energy to me, but, if they enjoy it, it’s really no business of mine. As for me, I slept in, and then spent the day with visiting family members, who will soon be departing. Here is another rule I live by on Black Friday: “I can always shop, but I can’t visit with family members once they’ve gone home.”

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