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Enjoy Thanksgiving before that darkest of days: Black Friday
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Sometime in the mid-afternoon on Thursday, folks will throw down that turkey leg and head for one of the many retailers that will be open on Thanksgiving.

We used to have a holiday on Thanksgiving. Now, it is just a pause to eat and then go shopping.

I want to enjoy the fellowship of family. The trouble is that we have pretty much forgotten how to talk to one another. I’m afraid the time is coming that we will have to text one another at the table. The first message is PTGBC, which is text code for pass the green bean casserole, followed by W/D, asking whether you want white or dark meat.

I want to see the faces of family, not the tops of their heads. I think I would like to buy one of those really big turkey platters and send it around the table to collect all the phones.

On the retail front, there are some stores that will open on Thursday evening and will stay open for 24 hours. What present do you need to buy at 3 a.m.?

Following Thursday comes Black Friday (the real one). The term Black Friday has become the most overused term in the history of marketing. It used to mean the day that retailers balance sheet reached positive territory. In other words, they started making money.

I think the first reference to Black Friday this year was about 5 minutes after they put away the beach balls at the end of summer. Car dealers, clothing stores, electronics retailers and the like started talking about Black Friday prices weeks ago.

I’m sure they have lots of great bargains, however, in this electronically connected world, the people at headquarters know they have sold you a widget about a nano-second after they ring it up. I guess that’s an outdated term. Cash registers or electronic data terminals don’t ring anymore. If they’re not selling enough stuff, they’ll figure out a way to adjust.

In my years of reporting, I loved to report on the morning after Thanksgiving. First of all, you had a pretty good story done by mid-morning and you were done for the day.

One year, a major retailer had some pretty good doorbusters, those wonderful little gifts with prices slashed to an all-time low.

I arranged with the manager to be inside the store before they unlocked the doors. There are people who have been waiting for an hour or more for the click of the lock signaling the start of the sale. Some of them looked like hungry wolves ready to pounce on their prey.

I will never forget one woman who had a list sticking out of her pocket. She was wearing a garment that looked like an apron. She ran in to the table with all the super-duper bargains and just scraped them onto her smock, or whatever that thing was.

When it was full, she cowered over in a corner and sorted out the items she really wanted. Then she tossed the unwanted ones back onto the table and others began foraging.

The whole thing of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I think he had it right. “Watch out,” he said. “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 

And to think, he said that 2,000 years ago. Some things never change.