“I’m waiting outside of Toys ‘R’ Us at four in the morning,” is a pretty creepy statement. And it always should be, even on a night like this when there are so many people. It is pretty cold. Everyone is armored in scarves and hats, coats and gloves. They look fierce, like they had ripped that pelt off of a wooly mammoth, then hand-stitched North Face onto the breast. Right now my group is at the halfway point of the line. This makes half of the others crazier than us and the other half slightly less crazy (or just slower). But everyone here is some degree of crazy.
Each one’s breath pumps out as from smokestack; so much smoke that you think the EPA would test it for pollutants and fine us accordingly. However, bad breath is the least offensive scent. This assemblage does not mind the overwhelming smells of coffee, urine, and sometimes some regurgitated stuffing or pumpkin pie. Only the week vomit. I doubt anyone would even blink as they were handed the paperwork, because everyone in line has their eyes on a technicolor prize.
Calling the assembled rabble a ‘line’ is a generous compliment. In fact, there are police cars parked near the store’s entrance in case some bargain hunters get out of line. And they do. At least, we have been told that.
News about a fight at the front of the line was passed down to us as if playing the game Telephone. Later I will find out that someone tried to cut the line, causing a lady yelled at him and that was it. Right now however, I am being informed that a carload of hooligans hopped out and made a b-line for the door where soccer moms kicked and spit on them, causing the police to arrest twelve people. It sounds ridiculous, right? Well, when you consider how absurd it is waiting outside a Toys ‘R’ Us at four in the morning, almost anything sounds plausible—even normal.
That is just part of the insanity known as Black Friday. This phenomenon happens on the day after the American holiday Thanksgiving. The event comprises normal people who feel like they missed out because they weren’t around when the Neanderthals fought over a piece of prehistoric squirrel meat. Thus, they line up and anticipate the moment that they can tear the coveted Barbie RV out of the hands of someone less evolved than they. They will gloat and scream, “Man up… That’s natural selection.”
Maybe that’s taking it a little bit too far. However, people do change for this event. The people who start lining up at four, like my group, know that they won’t get any of the deals called “door-busters.” We are trying to save ten dollars on a one hundred dollar Lego set, or something similar. Some savings are so small that it makes you wonder if the competition is the main attraction. If you want to get the door-busters, you have to get here as soon as the Turkey is cold and sleep off the tryptophan in front of the entrance. I think this is why we eat turkey. Because the you don’t even wake up when the automatic doors open and close. It is perfectly acceptable to bring a lawn chair and sleep like you have nowhere else to go in front of a toy store on Black Friday. In fact, there is not much that isn’t acceptable, because this is survival of the fittest.