Black Friday makes a root canal look like fun

November 25, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND

o If you like reading Tim Rowland, you'll love watching him. See what else Tim has to say

In keeping with my annual tradition, I am going deep into the forest on Black Friday and burying myself in pine needles.

Yes, tempting as it might be to show up at a department store in my pajamas at 2 a.m. to buy an Intex Queen Classic Downy Airbed, whatever that is, for $12, you could erase this day from the calendar year and I would be the happier for it.

Black Friday scares me. In fact, the only people who scare me more than the ones who shop on Black Friday are the ones who by then already have their Christmas presents wrapped. To me, shopping is why Al Gore invented the Internet. The only way you will see me at a store of mass consumption between now and Christmas is if it snows about a foot and I can access the mall in four-wheel drive, when everyone else is staying home.


As for B.F., I'm trying to figure out how much money I'd have to save on any given item to make it worth my while to find myself standing at a cash register in the wee small hours, with an armload of merchandise in one hand and hanks of recently uprooted hair in the other from the woman I had to fight to get it.

Would I go shopping on Black Friday for $25 in cash? Clearly not. How about $100? Not even tempted. $500? Now I'm thinking about it, but visions of that sea of cars and the cost of a night's sleep turn the thumb south.

Of course there are people who participate in the Running of the Bulls for fun, and, as I understand it, some people just enjoy the Black Friday scene.

It was kind of like a Michael Bolton concert. You were there, but you couldn't say why.

I've watched the Black Friday video, and near as I can tell it's something on the order of horizontal bungee jumping -- you run full speed toward a discount TV until the crowd grabs you by the collar and forcefully pulls you back.

People come home with a black eye and three cracked ribs, gibbering through broken teeth about how much money they've saved.

First, I would like to submit to the jury, that when you "buy" something, you don't "save" anything. The only way you can truly "save" is not to "buy." But since people, despite what they say, really don't like to receive a set of hand-stenciled coasters for Christmas, I suppose that getting psychologically mauled in exchange for saving a few bucks is a necessary trade-off.

However, from a practical standpoint, how do people do it? After eating an estimated 17 pounds of food a mere 10 hours prior, how do shoppers muster the strength? The morning after Thanksgiving, I get about three strokes in to brushing my teeth, and I'm exhausted.

But in this, of all years, I feel a higher calling to refrain from Black Friday participation.

All we've been hearing about during the past year is how terribly our retailers are suffering, including such icons as Circuit City, Whitehall Jewelers and Ritz Camera. And we want to put the screws to surviving retail all the more by taking advantage of their Black Friday largesse? For shame.

Maybe I just appreciate everything that the Pottery Barn has done for us a little more than the rest of you, because I feel a moral sense of obligation to pay full price and help our downtrodden companies in their time of need.

As goes Crate & Barrel, so goes the nation, and my strong love of country will not permit me to go shopping at a time when prices might not be at their highest. Now, please excuse me while I hum "God Bless America" and go back to stenciling coasters.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under, on or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

The Herald-Mail Articles