Get Out of Town December 3

(December 3) There are two kinds of Thanksgiving traditions. There’s the enjoyable types of traditions – stuffing one’s self with turkey, stuffing, and other tasty treats; football, even if it is the dreaded Lions and Cowboys; that after-meal nap that for some reason is unlike any nap you take at any time of the year; and catching up with the relatives that you actually enjoy being around.
Then there are the bad traditions – nothing on television once the football games are over; the post-meal, post-nap boredom; the relatives that you have absolutely nothing in common with. The only way to keep that fake smile on your face is to drink heavily and pretend that you care about Aunt Bertha’s constipation.
The worst Thanksgiving tradition, however, doesn’t actually occur on turkey day. Every year, though, it slowly creeps up on the latter part of that evening. I’m talking, of course, of the day after Thanksgiving, also known as the Biggest Shopping Day of the Season.
Every year, the most vile, dirty, Springer-esque people start lining up in the freezing cold waiting for retailers to open their doors. In the old pre-internet days, these kinds of lines were saved for playoff or concert tickets. You’d keep warm by drinking heavily, and would possibly profit from reselling whatever you managed to buy.
While some of these people may carry on the tradition of drinking heavily while standing out in the cold, they’re now protecting their place in line for the right to shop. That’s right – shop. Something that can be done any day before or after Thanksgiving. Something that should be done before or after Thanksgiving.
I know what you’re saying – “but, Scott, everything’s on sale that day”. Ok, but they’re also on sale the next day, the next week, the next month. Here’s the retort to that piece of fact – “but they’ll be out of that special gift”.
It’s all a myth. Stores have sales throughout the Christmas season, and oftentimes the prices are even better as you get closer to the big day. And with the exception of a trendy toy that comes around once or twice a decade, there is no product that has any chance of completely selling out.
One of the ways that retailers get away with this myth is the dreaded loss leader. Every year there is some product that’s advertised at some unbelievably low price. Well, folks, there’s a reason that DVD player is only twenty bucks. There’s a reason that Clay Aiken CD, or that seasonal knick-knack, is practically given away. They’re junk. You’re getting what you’re paying for. As someone who has both a nice DVD player and a cheap junker, there is a difference. It’s not unlike the difference between one of those old-school Close ‘n’ Play record players and an expensive turntable with a brand new cartridge.
Even if there are true bargains to be found, there is nothing in the world that would convince me to be elbow-to-elbow with these trailer park cretins. It’s bad enough being at these joints during normal hours. Just the other day I ventured into a certain music/electronics retailer and within a few minutes I was ready to trash the joint. First there was the old lady who would waddle down the aisle and then suddenly just stop without making any effort to let anybody, particularly me, get by. Then there were dozen or so pseudo-cheerful clerks carrying little red baskets bothering me every second asking if I needed any help or would like to buy this goofy discount plan. Trust me, I can wander the CD section without any guidance, and without sounding cocky none of them would be able to answer any question I’d have anyway.
And then there were the dreaded carts. The DVD section in this store has narrow aisles to begin with, along with utility poles strategically placed in the middle of some of these rows. There’s barely enough room for more an person or two, let alone these morons with their close-to-empty carts. Yet there they are, trying to figure out which Van Damme, Schwartzenegger, or Julia Roberts dreck they want to watch millions more times.
My plan for Christmas shopping is simple – get in and out as quickly as possible. My son and I got most of our shopping finished two weeks ago when we had the first KELO blizzard misfire. The mall was our playground as it was almost completely empty, except for those bastard kiosk operators who now think it’s cool to accost people as they walk past. This past week I snuck into a store early Sunday morning before the hicks got out of church. A couple more early evening visits and I’ll be finished.
As I sit here today, I wonder what can be done to make the day after Thanksgiving a more livable, more enjoyable day. Obviously, most of these people will refuse to listen to reason, so let’s have some fun with them. How about we set up a giant wrestling ring in the parking lots of the big retailers and have a massive battle royal – an over-the-top-rope battle royal. Once you’re tossed over the top rope you’re eliminated, and your place in line is determined by your performance. The last person standing is the first person allowed in the store, the runner-up is second, and on and on. That would get me out of bed on Friday morning!


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