Black Friday Shopping Tips

  • Babies make excellent hostages.
  • Don’t feel guilty. Other shoppers don’t feel pain.
  • Take the oldest car you can. When fighting for the last parking space, the other driver will have more to lose.

  • Tasers are your friends.
  • You can easily cut in front of a long checkout line if you wear a keffiyeh.
  • Cleats provide superior traction over fleshy backsides.
  • Say it with mace.
  • If you don’t bring home a Kinect, your family will shun you.
  • You could poke out someone’s eye with that. But you won’t know for certain until you try.
  • Material goods are no substitute for happi— oh, who are we kidding.

I went to Best Buy this morning at 4:00. Once there I discovered, much to my dismay, that the store actually opened at 5:00 (slaps forehead). So I walked over to the Target, which did open at 4:00. Everyone was walking around with these Westinghouse 40″ LCD TVs. One guy had three in his cart. I asked a lady how much they cost. She told me they were $289.00. No wonder they were so popular. Four years ago I bought a 42″ plasma screen for $1800.00 (though not on Black Friday). Paid for it over two years thanks to an interest free deal Best Buy had going at the time.

When Best Buy finally opened at 5:00 it took the line 5 minutes to stream into the store (stare at your watch for 5 minutes… that’s actually a pretty long line). And a second line had also formed for people who didn’t want to walk around the building to the end of the first line. I watched most of this from the comfort of my car listening to the BBC on Sirius.

In the end I didn’t buy anything. Spent most of the time playing with the iPads (which apple is selling for $41.00 off today online… tempting, tempting!).

On the way home I swing by Walmart, but immediately turned the car around when I saw what the parking lot was like (which wasn’t easy, BTW as I had basically driven into a narrow walled labyrinth.) I’ve never seen the entire Walmart lot packed with cars… all the way to the last parking spaces.

I get up at 3:30 and go to these things for the spectacle of it more than to actually shop, and I’ve been doing it for about 5 years now and have only bought something on two occasions. I don’t know if that makes me any less or maybe more pathetic than your typical bargain obsessed American consumer.

@Serolf Divad:
It makes you a discerning shopper. I know people who LOVE going to these things and 90% of the “bargain” stuff they get is near worthless junk. From what I know about LCD TVs, those Westinghouse LCDs are probably priced at what they are really worth. FYI, the Westinghouse LCDs are probably from some el cheapo maker who licensed the Westinghouse brand so those guys who bought them will more than likely be back next year looking for another cheap TV.

As to the rest of the post….
I avoid the holiday rush (bought most Xmas gifts in Oct) because I’d rather feel the “Xmas” spirit than feel what I normally do in busy malls, which is “a burning desire to punch everyone in the face repeatedly.”

BTW, the retailers in Canada City are so desperate that they are “bringing” the “tradition” of Black Friday here. Makes me want to puke.

@Serolf Divad: I’m all kinds of awed by your meta-shopping non-participation performance art piece. I just don’t go there. I never thought of going there to not go there. As Clive Barnes liked to say about plays he’d slept through – Hats off and in the air!.

I don’t shop at Black Friday. I also don’t shop at Christmas. We stopped all presents about 12 years ago and it made everything a hell of a lot nicer. The children, dependents, staff, groundkeepers, police, politicians, etc., get money.

BTW. Why is it called Black Friday? The OH wants to know. Has it been called this for a long time? I’m only recently aware of it.

@Serolf Divad: Also, BTW, $41 is an awfully specific amount. Have they merely deducted the tax?

In the same vein, I understood sales in London, which happened twice a year (back then) and in which real merchandise was really reduced to get rid of it. So one did rush to get there first and grannies would camp out all night in front of Selfridge’s. But nothing is ever a real price in US stores any more and everything is made in Nanking to be discounted so what’s the point? Plus, you can probably get it cheaper online anyway.

I hate buying clothes in sales: inevitably you get the item home and say “What was I thinking?”. The same goes for airports.

@Benedick: Exactly.

Warehouse type stores without windows give me the howling fantods. The din of hoards of obnoxious consumers in windowless warehouse stores makes me stabby. Fluorescent lights give me migraines. I hide on Black Friday except for short runs to pick up provisions. Like rum. I’m betting I can get to DE and back relatively unscathed.

We’re expecting several of Jr’s high school friends to descend on our humble abode sometime today. I look forward to talking and playing with them and to cooking non-stop. It’s tough being an empty nester, and I enjoy the company of the younger ones. We talk, we joke, I mother them some, they trust me, and they include me in their young adult world. ::smiling::

Until I then, I’m taking a nap. The news of the Korean Peninsula and the fake Taliban leader have left me weak of spirit. Later I’ll lose myself in young adult angst and confusion strangely offset by hope and the welcome distraction of video games. They’ve hit the age where they realize how large and how small the world is, and they like (need?) to talk about what it’s like to be growing up in a world that makes little sense.

I think this awareness is part of what drives them (and me) to losing hours immersed in fake worlds with stringent rules and have some sort of structure, even if certain real world physical laws don’t apply.

I love it when they laugh.

I see I’m the only one working. Aka, commenting here.

@JNOV: Have a lovely day.


I was supposed to be working today being I do live in a different country. Some idiot decided to shut down all the US based servers I need so I’m going to be watching DVDs. Can’t communicate. Can’t do my job. Screw them.

@Benedick: You, too, my darling! :-*

So much for that nap. I guess it’s time for caffeine and dishes. w00t.

I’ll be an an outdoor fitness boot camp in an hour. It’s 18 degrees out, 10 degrees with the wind chill.

Fuck shopping. Here’s a video of a guy who synched up his Christmas lights to Slayer’s “Raining Blood.”

@JNOV: Get Scott Pilgrim vs the World for the kidz. Son of RML and I saw it last night. Fucking awesome. Mrs RML and I saw “Date Night” and I got her “Eat Pray Love” because that’s the kind of guy I am. S/RML and I or his little friends will also be watching “Undercover Brother” at some point.

I’ll probably work some today. Got a new client with some litigation going, might also go to the range or maybe even spend $15 USD to use an indoor range at my local woman-owned independent gun shop.

@ManchuCandidate: That’s funny.

So, donde esta Sr. Nabeesko?

@Benedick: Well, I’m around, I have a crapload of briefs to read today, need to do some gardening, maybe a bike ride in there somewhere. Our family T-Day is today, for reasons I don’t fully understand, and it’s my traditional job to carve the turkey. I’m a dark meat man, if I may say so.

@redmanlaw: I think Beesko may be on an airplane, hopefully with a seat near the lavs.

Update: Mrs RML crapped out once she heard the temp. Guess I’ll build a fire and drank summore coffee.

@Dodgerblue: Dark meat rules.

@Benedick: It’s called Black Friday because it’s the day when retailers balance sheets get out of the red due to all the sales they start ringing up.

@Dodgerblue: I’m working today too. I caught m’self a little contract work so I’m gonna be knee deep in researching an amicus brief this weekend. The first draft is due Tuesday.

I may end up venturing out to the sales this morning anyway. I desperately need a bookshelf and Ikea has one for $25. Also, free breakfast. Gotta love the Swedes.

I also hear tales of $5 long sleeve tees at Old Navy and am wondering if they’re thick enough to fight the crowds to get my hands on a couple.

@Dodgerblue: More than a breast man?

I wanted to go hiking in Muir Woods today, but I’ve gotta do some work today, and I just realized I may need to go in to the office to print a bunch of shit out. The problem is that there’s regular downtown meter and parking laws today if I drive, but Muni is on a holiday schedule which means what is normally a 25 minute door-to-door trip on mass transit will be at least an hour. At that point, walking is faster.

@Serolf Divad: I hate shopping, period. I live in a 600 square foot place, I have no space for things, especially poorly-made shit that will break in 18 months. I’d rather use my limited space for wine storage. Today is horrifying to me. I am in awe that you would get up to observe the herds of sheeple running around big box stores.

@Benedick: If the rain will stop for a bit, my houseguest will be roped into helping me plant my last dozen bulbs (heirloom tulips and regal lilies). We may wander down to 3rd street for the Santa parade @ 1–again, if it’s not pouring rain. At least it’s inthe 40s rather than the 20s today.
Mr Cyn has to work in the tasting room at the winery for the next 3 days. It’s one of the two big wine-tasting weekends of the year (the other being Memorial Day). The place will be full of people looking to escape from their families and get drunk. He’s not looking forward to it.


Re: Christmas lights:


I was violently ill yesterday for no apparent reason, so I missed Thanksgiving, unless one counts a banana and a jello cup as “dinner.” I am thankful of course for all of you Stinquers. I’m the only person in my office at work today, and it’s nice and quiet.


One might blame America’s “throw-away” society for phenomena like Black Friday. But when you have a kultchah like ours, what else are you gonna do with it?

@SanFranLefty: Now that Manchu has seen Stinque World Domination Headquarters, he knows my secret to avoiding my family’s Hoarding Gene: Have no space to stuff things.

@TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: Let’s go to Wikipedia for the call:

Black Friday as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869 in the United States. The earliest known reference to “Black Friday” to refer to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication on the day’s significance in Philadelphia:

JANUARY 1966 — “Black Friday” is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. “Black Friday” officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.

The term Black Friday began to get wider exposure around 1975, as shown by two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, both datelined Philadelphia. The first reference is in an article entitled “Army vs. Navy: A Dimming Splendor,” in The New York Times:

Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it “Black Friday” – that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army–Navy Game. It is the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year in the Bicentennial City as the Christmas list is checked off and the Eastern college football season nears conclusion.

The derivation is also clear in an Associated Press article entitled “Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy,” which ran in the Titusville Herald on the same day:

Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. … “That’s why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today ‘Black Friday,'” a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. “They think in terms of headaches it gives them.”

That jibes with my understanding. The balance-sheet version was a later adaptation. “Black Friday” originally meant That Fucking Hellish Shopping Day After Thanksgiving.

Ventured out to hippie market. Big mistake. People are going all grand theft auto/crazy taxi out there.

@redmanlaw: These kids are so disorganized. We still don’t have a common place for them to converge for extraction, so it looks like I’ll be heading to Wayne and to West Chester while dodging crazed shoppers. Of course, only one kid will be ready to go when I arrive in like 2 hours. I wish they could hop on the train, but they’d have to go into the city limits to catch the train out to our town. Thinking of a master plan to keep all safe and get their butts here…

@nojo: GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY! I used to swoon when I’d run into midshipmen.

ARGH! New plan. Kids hanging out in Wayne (I guess they want to show JNOVjrBetterHalf the old stomping grounds). That’s kinda good for me: I drop them off and take a long bath. Decompress. Pick them up from Wayne. Always Ready Kid is spending the night/weekend. We never know, but it’s cool.

Thai curried rice and chicken Teriyaki on deck. Plus more cornbread.

@JNOV: I used to swoon when I’d run into midshipmen. Is that really a comment you want to make around here given the community’s record on oversharing? Also, kids are disorganized. That is one of the reasons they scare me.

@nojo: So this is the cleaned-up, family friendly version?

@Mistress Cynica: Regal lilies! Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I’ve got some white Exotic Emperor tulips in the fridge for indoor forcing. Cross fingers. I wanted to try forcing some parrot tulips but left it too late. Catalogue pic is here. Reasonable. And the bulbs I’ve had from them (250 Dutch Masters) have been excellent.

Wine tastings makes me think of Edina and Patsy in France touring the vineyards.

@Benedick: Far as I know. I think the balance-sheet version wasn’t used until the Eighties, or even the Nineties. I vaguely recall an OED-style argument over provenance, back in the day.

@Benedick: Is that really a comment you want to make around here given your, JNOV’s, record on oversharing? Fixed! And yes, yes I do. I was a wee lass when I’d see those guys. Mmmmmm…mmmm…mmmm.

Yes, kids are incredibly disorganized, and they are to be feared.

@Benedick: I ripped out what’s left of my summer garden today (hey, it’s Santa Monica, and I’ve been gone for 3 weeks) and commenced the yearly hand-to-hand combat against oxalis. There’s nothing inherently bad about oxalis, except that it can suppress blooming of bulbs and wildflowers and it’s the Devil’s own job to get rid of it. Tulips have never done well here — maybe I just get impatient and take them out of the crisper too soon — but I usually do OK with rinuncs and irises. And golden poppies are native so I get get two or maybe three flowering cycles per year if the damned oxalis lets them live.

@SanFranLefty: Well, unless you’re an infant, breasts are wholly decorative. Thighs are where the action is.

@Benedick: By the way, it’s really unfair to mention that Netflix is streaming Yes, Minister when the streaming will no longer be available in a few days, thus forcing Innocent Souls to make an Emergency Marathon out of it.

ADD: Come for the animated Gerald Scarfe caricatures. Stay for the witty political/bureaucratic sitcom.

TJ: Black Eagle gets 12 stitches after getting an elbow to the face in a basketball game.

@Dodgerblue: Ho! Ho! HO! Don’t let the breasts hear that. They get lonely/envious, and they can easily cock block any access to action. Areolae: the other dark meat in the melanin-enhanced.

@SanFranLefty: Whoa. 12? That’s a lotta stitches unless a plastic surgeon is trying to minimize the scar.

ADD: Oh, his lip — that makes sense. Very vascular.

@JNOV: A very professional reaction, Doctor JNOV. I spent my youth playing pickup basketball and took many a shot to the face (and it shows). I wonder what happened to the presidential elbower.

@Dodgerblue: Yeah, I’ve busted my head open a few too many times.

I wonder what happened to the presidential elbower. One way trip to Gitmo.

@nojo: It’s better even than I remembered.

@Benedick: Stop teasing Nojo. But then, turnabout is fair play. Carry on, please. I love it when you guys carry on my wayward sons.

Kids at Gamestop = herding cats. Now trying to find middle seatbelt. ::smiling::

@JNOV: What is Gamestop? A video game thing? My kids are female, didn’t do video games.

@Benedick: Interplanted the lilies with the roses out front. Also put in a bunch of tulips (some pure white, plus red and white parrot tulips), and a single, persnickety white martagon lily (heirloom variety dating back to 1601–bulb company sent me a handwritten note of encouragement to baby it and be patient). My friend who uncomplainingly dug dozens of holes (in addition to doing the Thanksgiving dishes) wins the best house guest ever award.

@Dodgerblue: @and RML: Yep. They were just window shopping. Gamestop was the extraction point. But I’m a gamer, too. Well, I used to be. I bought Jr’s first system when he was five years old which means that I really bought it for myself.

We’ve got no TV, so they’re doing stuff like (OMG) talking and playing cards. Once my feet stop aching I’m going to get dealt in and school them. The plan for winter break is Risk, Monopoly, and I’m going to teach them double-deck pinochle. I think I’m the only one who has taken statistics and can count cards. It’s all about probability, counting and tells — I’m furthering their education, see? I’m getting myself psyched up, cuz I’ll be damned if these whipper snappers are gonna beat me.

@Mistress Cynica: I have narcisi poetica for the same reason. Centuries old. And I try to grow rosa mutabilis which the Romans grew – before the homos brought down the empire – but they don’t work here for fairly obvious reasons. Now we just need to wait for spring and hope that we’re home.

@JNOV: Teach them gin rummy while you’re at it.

@SanFranLefty: They taught me how to play Nerts, and my teammate (jrGF) and I totally dominated. I haven’t played gin in 25 years? I’ll see if they want to play tomorrow. They’re freaked out by the double deck pinochle thing, but they’ll get it. Stategery, memory, logic and math. It’s good.

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