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Archive for November 24, 2006

Nov. 24, 2006 — On the periphery of Black Friday

The local news affiliates this morning weren’t talking about high-school football, terrorism, the post-election moves by politicos, or serving Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people.

Instead, camera crews and helicopters were dispatched to massive crowds at shopping centers. One camera crew witnessed a pair of women being trampled entering a Wal-Mart.

Black Friday, to me, is an occasion which really reflects badly on us as a society. We, as a country, are obligated to give thanks one day, then get in long lines at 5 a.m. the following morning so that we can elbow our fellow citizens out of the way for that one possession that we think can give us happiness when it is supposed to be given to someone else on Christmas Day.

Every year, it’s some different hard-to-find consumer product — the Cabbage Patch Kids in 1983, Trivial Pursuit in 1984, Tickle Me Elmo in 1996, and the PlayStation 3 of 2006. Certain items are clamored for because they are thought to be in short supply, then thousands of them start appearing shortly before Christmas or on auction websites and certainly do not appear to be “rare.”

There are some “door buster” sales that are, frankly, anything but a good bargain. Two stores this year are advertising notebook computers with price tags of $100, but you have to sign up for a two-year agreement with a cell phone or wireless internet telephone company.

Of course, why go through the hassle at all if you have a computer, a modem, a good plan, and a change in attitude? Just look for stuff that you need, rather than what you want.

The one thing I got today through a Black Friday sale was a necessity for one who owns a wireless laptop computer: a little keychain-sized device to sniff out WiFi signals. There were plenty of them left, and I got one before the noon sales deadline.

But I also have been looking for a good digital video camera for when this website starts vodcasting next year. The thing is, I desire one without all of the expensive and unnecessary gewgaws. I’ve looked at a few cameras in the circulars, but none of the ones I am seeking are on the “door buster” lists.

Oh, well — there are always the after-Christmas sales …