I was on the way to northern Michigan yesterday morning, and along the way I passed some mega malls along I-75 on the outskirts of the Detroit Metro area. It looked like tent city - tents and people everywhere, waiting for the doors of Best Buy, and similar places, to open.
On the way back, at night, the stores were open and the parking lot was packed to the gills. I understand that while many retailers opened at midnight on Thanksgiving, some retailers opted to open at 8pm. When I got back home, traffic was heavy and parking lots were packed. I had never seen such thick traffic before on Thanksgiving evening. I stopped for gas and I could barely exit the driveway because a constant stream of cars was coming from ... somewhere. There was a Toys R Us behind the gas station, and that was a mob scene. Toys must be so important that one can't wait a day, or perhaps even longer, to get them.
But then again, I've always noted that Black Friday has become an institutionalized madness. Indeed, there occasionally arises some great deals, but mostly, it is about people just walking around in shopping comas to pass the time and get out of the house for some real excitement. In fact, one thing I really notice about Black Friday the last two years is the lack of deals as compared to the post-bust years of 2008 and 2009, where the sales and clearances and doorbusters were astounding (yes, I read all the sales papers).
I'll peruse the news tomorrow to see who shot who over a video game device and who got stomped in the pursuit of some $5 DVDs. I guess my motto is - I slept while they stomped. At about noon today, on the way back from the gym, I made my way peacefully to the Verizon store to have someone look at my phone and give me a tip on a software hang-up on my Samsung. I had noted, a few days before, that Verizon would be selling the 4G Samsung Galaxy 2 (white) tablet for the great price of $99, but when I checked online this morning they were sold out. Shopping online is as close as I get to the post-Thanksgiving madness. I saw the same advertisement in the store and so I asked if they still had any left. The lady said they went fast all morning, but she could find me one. Much to my surprise, they had two left. I bought it, she got me connected, and I left shortly thereafter minus the midnight madness and the institionalized insanity. I was smiling because I hadn't even planned on buying the thing.
Tonight, a quick google search turned up a shooting at a Walmart in Florida where people fought over a parking space. In Texas, at a Sears, people were punching one another over who was ahead of who while standing in line. Here is a disturbing video of people at a Walmart in Georgia mobbing a game display. For the life of me, I cannot begin to understand who would go anywhere near a mob scene like that, even if they were giving away $1,000 in cash. As always, it is a reminder of what these people will do in a SHTF scenario when they are out of food, water, or even the non-essentials they fell they are entitled to posses.