Dwain Walden.jpg

Dwain Walden.

I don’t like crowds. A family reunion is about as big a group as I want to be in. Forget theme parks and other places where you wish you had the Right Guard franchise. I think this attitude may come with age. And with wisdom.

And so when it came to Black Friday, I stayed away. Only once in my life have I shopped for anything during the night. It was one of those sales that started at 12:01 a.m. And as I suspected, they only had five of the items that I wanted, and there were 40 people in that line. It got kind of rowdy with lots of shoving and verbalizations. I was ready to leave and pay full price later. I ran the scenario, and I figured I would be subpoenaed as a witness to what was likely to happen. Or worse, I would be in the emergency room. Counting time lost and my deductible, I couldn’t justify being there.

I got the next to the last item that was available that morning. I got the heck out of there and added that event to a list of things I never intend to do again. That list includes yard sales, judging a Little Miss contest and drinking aged cane juice. There’s other stuff on that list but there’s not enough space here to cover it all.

After reading many of the terrible incidents that occurred in stores around the nation relative to Black Friday, I think we could have legitimate debate over whether man is the higher of the animals. There’s other evidence that supports that debate as well, including The Jerry Springer Show and samplings from court documents around the country.

I think some people go through a kind of metamorphosis in times like these. It also happens when some people drive in heavy traffic. It’s sort of a Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing. Words and expressions come forth that wouldn’t be seen or heard in any other circumstances. And as we see on Black Friday, there seems to be an equivalent to that thing they call road rage.

I’m sure there have been federally funded studies related to these kinds of human reactions. But I don’t think they have a pill for it, except maybe Valium. And I know there are support groups and therapy for compulsive shoppers, but I don’t know if they cover compulsive and crazy.

I can see someone packing a can of mace if they are going into a bad neighborhood or if the parking lot they use is dimly lit. But going shopping? I’m afraid that someone might even be packing a gun, given the new efforts for greater carrying privileges ... even to church.

I’m a terrible shopper anyway. I never browse. If I need something, I go get it. And I leave. I don’t wander about the store getting ideas. If I have to think about it, I probably don’t need it.

And  you know those benches in the hallways of shopping malls. I’m the reason they were put there. I just wish they were a little more comfortable. While my wife shops, I sit there and watch humanity. From that vantage point I have concluded that we don’t have enough gyms in our communities, that we should have ordered more of those little short school buses and that it may actually be a good thing that a lot of people don’t go to the polls on election day.

I was looking for a silver lining in all of that Black Friday pushing and shoving. The upside is that it indicates our economy may be improving. The downside is that our collective mentality may be on life support.

In the movie “No Country for Old Men” a deputy says to the sheriff, “this is hell.” Tommy Lee Jones (the sheriff) responds, “Well if it isn’t, it’ll do until the real thing shows up.” Funny I should remember that line while thinking about the chaos of Black Friday.

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