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I abandoned my shopping cart along with my dignity in aisle three last (Thursday) night. After years of scoffing at those willing to camp out for the sake of a bargain, I finally succumbed to the lure of Black Friday, now moved to Thursday. I expect it to be bumped to Wednesday next year. It is to be hoped that retailers would leave to history Black Monday and Black Tuesday, which mark the stock market crashes of ’87 and ’29 respectively. I don’t believe retailers deserve their own holiday, no matter how “in the red” they may be.
As Occupy Walmart commenced, two or three hundred women, and three or four bewildered men –who were unwittingly sent as emissaries by their wives – surrounded a pallet of 600-thread-count sheet sets. Like coyotes encircling our prey, we waited for hours, eventually edging closer and closer to the sheet pallet until no one could move. I found some comfort in knowing that had I fainted, I would not hit the floor. I knew from the onset that mathematically, the sheets-to-shoppers ratio was bad news – too few sheets, too many bargain hunters.
Everyone was friendly at first, but as the time approached, tension rose. When the clock struck 10, it was every man for him, or her, self. The pushing and shoving which ensued brought to mind the riots in Greece and Egypt. Afterwards, not one satin finished cotton-like polyester sheet remained. The shrink wrapped pallet lay like a carcass, picked to the bone. What a shock to recognize such desperation in normally kind and rational people – a spark of riotous behavior seen only, until now, in far-away places. It will not be featured in the news, but it happened. It happened around a pallet of sheet sets, a pallet of video games, and a pallet of vacuum cleaners. It happened in our community. As on every occasion where human nature is at its darkest, there were those who were selfless, who helped those in the back of the line who never stood a chance. I applaud those individuals.
I have two observations to make as I recover:
1) Retailers might want to lower the everyday low price of sheet sets, and
2) Next Thanksgiving, there will be one less rioter. I will be at home thanking God for all of my blessings.