The nice thing about Black Friday is being able to go to places that are normally too crowded to be comfortable. Coffee shops and restaurants, the grocery, the park. It’s a short list, I suppose.
It’s a hallmark of our consumer culture now, but it’s not a mass murder everywhere. I don’t get people who want to deal with crows and traffic and headache, but if that’s your thing, go forth and riot. I spent three years in an outlet store, and spent most of that time in charge of the seasonal department. It was a big day for us, but it wasn’t the worst one. We prepared. We sold a lot of cheap shit anyway, and like most places that was how we got rid of all the crap we couldn’t sell otherwise. The whole staff was there, we had coffee and cookies, and it was really too busy to worry about the normal bullshit. It was downhill after that, the closer we got to Christmas: all the good stuff was gone, customers grew more indignant and demanding, everyone was exhausted and the higher managers and the part-time kids would disappear one by one for their vacations while the rest of us scrambled to maintain things on a skeleton crew. The last few day before Christmas eve were miserable. Burned out on the same 15 songs about snow and santa, surrounded by the sad coworkers with nowhere else to be and desperate last-minute shoppers.
The last Christmas I worked there, a couple came in an hour before we closed on the 23rd looking for a tree. Of course, we were down to the dregs and all we really had left were the displays. Displays that were full of display ornaments that would have to be removed. And they wanted the biggest one, which was in the realm of three or four hundred bucks alone. Oh, and they’d take it decorated. I don’t know if they thought that would speed the process or if they just didn’t give a shit because they obviously didn’t need a tree until 2 days before Christmas (and probably intended to return it afterwards). But every single ornament, garland, and handful of glitter had to be removed and totalled. So the couple hung around for an hour or so, literally the only customers in the store, while we all cursed under our breaths because we’d have closed early otherwise. Oh, and when the grand total came to over a thousand dollars- that shit adds up, no joke- they changed their minds. And we all knew they would. We knew. And all we could do close up as fast as we could and hope the murderous intent in our hearts didn’t swell up in the middle of a social gathering.
That’s actually one of the reasons I gave notice, and one of the reasons I’m so averse to shopping between Halloween and New Year’s. But Black Friday itself? Not as bad as one would assume.