Friday, November 25, 2005

'Tis the Season to Be Greedy

When I rule the world, today will be officially designated as National Hug a Mall Worker Day.

It's not, of course. Life would not be so kind.

Today, in point of fact, is that ominous date that we in the retail business like to call "Black Friday." While it sounds like either an '80's heavy metal band or some sort of strange Wiccan holiday, complete with weird pagan incantations, cauldrons full of newt tails, and baths in the blood of virgins, it's actually only a rather innocuous appellation designating the day after Thanksgiving - notoriously the biggest shopping day of the year.

Apparently, on November 25th or so, every year, all of consumer America wakes up in the morning with the exact same collective thought: "I should go Christmas shopping!" And so they climb into their gargantuan, gas-guzzling, environment-destroying SUVs, arrive at the mall in enormous throngs, fight like New Yorkers on crack for parking spots in an all-but-mobbed lot at 8 o'clock in the morning, push and shove their way up and down escalaters, in and out of stores, through the food court, lugging parcels and boxes and bags and bundles galore, unable to breathe, think, or accomplish much of anything since there are simply too many people per square inch to accomodate rational or polite behavior.

For some reason people must think this sort of thing is fun. Usually because the stores are having sales after Thanksgiving. Or else maybe it's just a sort of weird masochistic self-punishment thing.

In any event, eventually these psychotic consumers push and shove their way into my little retail store, and since the holiday season apparently has a dreadfully detrimental effect on the brains of Christmas shoppers, they like to greet me with stupid questions like, "Hi, do you work here?" (No, I just shop here so often they made me a nice little name tag with my name and the name of the store on it) and "Are those hats over there $15?" (No, actually, the reason the giant red stickers that say '$15' are on them is because I have a compulsive nervous disorder which causes me to stick random price tags all over things which are not in any way representative of their actual prices.)

All things considered, Black Friday is a grueling and heinous experience which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I am utterly convinced it was probably the reason the dinosaurs went extinct, the Pilgrims left England, and the Beatles broke up.

The moral of this story, my dear greedy American capitalist readers afflicted with the spirit of Christmas consumerism, the next time you feel an uncontrollable urge to go shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving, please, please, PLEASE consider this oh-so-comforting fact: the sales will still be there on Saturday. No one is going to buy your oven-toaster-alarm-clock 50% off at Brookstone before you get to it. I promise.

In the meantime, hug a mall worker.