Black Friday is coming next week.
Its kind of like being told in advance that you are going to get the stomach flu.
And theres not a damned thing you can do about it.
Luckily, I do not come from one of those extreme Black Friday families.
We are more the, wait till the last minute and pay full price types around my house.
But I do know some people on both sides of the Black Friday fence.
First, there are those on the retail end of things.
They talk about Black Friday like Vietnam Vets reminiscing about the fall of Saigon.
It is the Iditarod of Retail, the toughest of all obstacle courses.
A serious accomplishment.
I have a little experience in this regard.
I once managed a warehouse furniture store during Black Friday.
Normally, we opened at 9am.
When I opened the door at 6am, there was a line.
And I was alone.
My sales manager and two sales people didn’t show up for another hour.
In retrospect, there is only so much drive you can expect for minimum wage, no matter how sweet the commission is. (Which in this case was crap. It was a cheap company)
By the time the day was over, we had sold a month’s worth of furniture.
My sales manager and both sales people made a nice piece of change.
I however, made a mint and practically had a mental break down.
I have no clue how my friends in retail pull it off.
Year in, year out, with unbreakable will that Nelson Mandela would admire.
Not for me.
On the other side of the Black Friday counter is the consumer.
One half of that bunch is barely aware of that Black Friday exists, other than to avoid stores like the plague.
This is me on most years.
However, the other half view shopping on this particular day to be some sort of full contact sport slash spiritual journey.
And they approach it like a suicide bomber, kind of a “Take no prisoners” “I will take you out if you get in my way” mentality that is both enviable and terrifying at the same time.
These people see this one day of the year as their chance to even the score in the big game of life.
She might be a mousey housefrau 364 days of the year, but on this day, she is a warrior.
This is her day to, as Hunter S. Thompson would say, “Stomp on the terra”.
And she will.
Her day starts before the sun comes up, and she is often in line hours before the store opens.
Never first in line, that’s for suckers.
It never pays to have a target on your back.
She is usually third or fourth in line, top 5, easily in position to move up.
And when the doors open, they surge forward, in their head, no doubt, the cheers of the mob swell.
And the gladiators enter the coliseum.