Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 2, 2013

Black Friday — not a fan

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

— I hate “Black Friday” with a passion. I am sick to death with being inundated with “Door-Buster” sales advertisements all over the paper and the TV. For years, the Friday after Thanksgiving has reigned as the busiest shopping day of the year. I just don’t get it, but then, there are many things that I just don’t get these days.

For one thing, many of the big-boy stores started their “Black Friday Door-Busters” on Thursday night. What’s up with that? Apparently, there are gobs of folks so eager to shop that they don’t even clear the Thanksgiving dishes before they hit the streets. Last night, they were camped out in front of the Best Buys and Targets for hours before the doors opened. It is cold here and they were bundled up on the sidewalks in their mittens, hoodies, tarps, and folding chairs. In many ways, they resembled Sarasota’s ever-increasing homeless camps, but these folks were all loaded with cash, checks, and credit cards.

I was surprised to read that 23 states (including Texas and Florida) recognize Black Friday as a holiday for their government employees. Also, schools are out and more and more employers are starting to let their folks go to join the mob scenes.

I really feel sorry for all those poor souls who work in the retail sales industries. Many of them are forced to give up their family time to man the counters when the “Door-Busters” come streaming in with their demands, nasty attitudes, and “I saw it first!” arguments.

Of course, “Black Friday” is then followed by “Small Business Saturday,” “Super Savings Sunday” and the ever-popular “Cyber-Monday,” which has become the biggest online shopping day of the year. Whew! Like I said, I just don’t get it.

They tell me that the hottest retail items this year, as in past years, are electronic thingies. You know, thingies like iPads, iPencils and iTablets, XYZ-boxes, Kindlings, Nooks and Crannies, smarty-pants phones and cameras, and tons of goofy video games and consoles. Here’s the catch. If you buy one of these thingies on “Black Friday” for a loved one, and stash it away until Christmas, you can bet it will already be obsolete when he/she opens it. I just don’t get it.

The Little Woman (she doesn’t care for the name) and I have a very traditional “Black Friday” every year. I take the folding chairs and table back to the garage, empty all the trash, and lick my wounds over my sorry bets on the previous day’s football games. She finishes tidying up the kitchen, sorting through the leftovers, washing the linens, and then settles down for a nap. For her, taking a nap is not a treat any more — it’s mandatory.

Perhaps, we’ll venture out of the house by Tuesday. Hopefully, the world will have settled down by then and we’ll only have to maneuver through and around the “snowbirds” who are now down here in almost overwhelming numbers.

I found an anonymous piece on Mr. Computer from a source called “Buffalos Chips” which describes how you know if your church or parish has gone over the electronic communications edge. Here are a few examples:

• There are cell-phone chargers in the pews alongside the hymnals.

• There are also debit/credit card swipers in case you forgot your tithing envelope.

• MCI takes out full-page ads in the church bulletin.

• The pastor reads his sermon from a palm-held computer “notepad.”

• All the church members assume everyone knows what “domain” means.

• People without e-mail addresses are know as “the needy.”

• At the annual church flea market, there are more used cell-phones, hand-held devices, and answering machines than bowling balls, blenders, and electric can-openers.

• When 2-year-olds get fussy during the service, their parents hand them pagers on “vibrate” rather than Cheerios. Where they used to have a “crying room” section, they now have a “beepers on” section.

And my favorite was: When the bells are rung following the service, half the congregation reaches into pockets or purses to see if it’s a call for them. (Theologically speaking, of course, it is.)

I’ll close this rant with an observation or two on getting older. Old is good in many things: old songs, old movies, old pictures, old memories, and, best of all, old friends. It’s not what you have gathered over the years, but what you have scattered that tells what kind of person you have been. Today, you are the oldest you have ever been, but it is also the youngest you will ever be, so why not enjoy it and, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, give thanks for whatever blessings you have in your life. And leave all that “Black Friday” nonsense to the youngsters!

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com