The Blackest Night of the Year

We started Black Friday late this year - about 9:30 PM on Thursday night (better known as Black Friday's Eve). Of course, Black Friday now begins at 12AM sharp the day before, thanks to benevolent retailer Walmart's decision to forgo closing at all.

Technically, shouldn't that read "Shop while you shop"?

By the time we arrived, things were relatively calm: no lines to get into the store, no pushing, only a moderate amount of shouting. The line to reach the checkout was of course absurd, but we weren't there to shop, anyway.

We were there to be around friends and family. Other peoples' friends and family, perhaps, but every one of the shoppers present had opted to be there instead of spending this time with loved ones, so - in a way - doesn't that connect us all in a deep and meaningful way?

I'm guessing that they were going to go with Comic Sans, but were worried people would accuse them of being elitist.  

We were surprised to see a large number of signs written with black marker on torn sheets of paper - perhaps their printer was broken, or maybe they simply wanted to avoid the high-priced official price tags and pass the savings on directly to their shareholders. It's difficult to say.

Walmart has really gone all out with these lovely handcrafted signs.

From there, we headed to Best Buy, where the line was so short we actually bought a handful of discounted DVDs, allowing us the luxury of truly participating in the festivities we love so much. After, we stopped by Toys R Us. The lines were short, but we didn't end up buying anything.

The lines at our last stop were more impressive - a third of Target's store had been transformed into an impulse buying section, courtesy of a line that snaked its way through health and beauty all the way though the section full of what they pass off as food.

We approached a couple near the front of the line. A barricade stood between us to differentiate those who stood waiting and those still selecting which big-screen TV they wanted to take home. We asked them how long they'd been in line: they told us it'd been at least an hour.

They were polite and seemed in good spirits, so we did not ask if it had been worth it.

This has certainly been a strange Black Friday's Eve. It's almost as if the border between Gray Thursday and Black Friday has evaporated completely. Like a dog coming across an unguarded turkey dinner, Black Friday has devoured its predecessor, digested it, and left a mess behind for us to examine. And when we look closely at these droppings, we simply see more of Black Friday.

Warms the heart, doesn't it?

If for some reason that doesn't increase the overall temperature of the organic pump lodged in the center of your circulatory system, perhaps this compilation of Black Friday shoppers coming together at Walmart stores all over the country to partake in the joy of season will do the trick.

Merry Black Friday, one and all! May the odds be ever in your favor.