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Black Friday

So tell me—what's wrong with women? I don't mean in general (we don't have that much time), but there are some women who clearly have a serious screw loose. I'm talking about Black Friday.

I keep seeing on the news that people—most of whom seem to be women—line up the Friday after Thanksgiving to be the first ones to get into the stores. The employees, who look scared to death, open the doors and then jump out of the way as hordes and hordes of coupon-crazy women rush the store. Most of them look like they haven't run anywhere since last year's Black Friday.

Perhaps it's just the videos I’ve seen, but I don't see a lot of men involved in this retail madness. Most of us are smart enough to know not to get between a woman and a bargain. Most guys I know are like me—we would pay a 10–20% premium not to have to shop at all, let alone during this bizarre ritual.

I remember when this all started years ago. It was simple. We're going to have a sale the day after Thanksgiving because it's traditionally been one of the slowest shopping days of the year. Well, nothing entices a woman to go shopping like a 10 percent discount. Soon the retailers realized that the Friday after Thanksgiving was doing just fine in sales, thank you very much. Well, nothing ruins a good thing like more of a good thing.

In the competitive world of retail, every advantage means money in the till. I can just see the corporate meeting: “Okay fellas, Friday is now a great day for us, but our competitors are starting to make inroads into our market share, so here's what we're going to do: We'll open an hour before anyone else and shoppers will flock to us first.” A year later, they were opening at 6:00 a.m. Not long after that, some corporate flunky came up with the genius idea of opening at 12:01 a.m. After all, that's still Friday, isn't it?

Women don't care. Right after clearing away Thanksgiving dinner, they start their preparations for the coming battle. They've been watching the ads on TV and in the paper They've charted out their routes and made lists. At 11:00 p.m. They line up in front of their favorite stores and wait for the bell to go off. Finally the appointed time arrives, and girded for battle with elbows flying, they fulfill their mission.

You've seen it. A table filled with whatever goods the store is really eager to get rid of with a “40% off” sign hanging above it, and crowds of women pawing through stuff they didn't know they needed until they saw the sign.

Me? I'm at home relaxing in my chair with a beer and turkey sandwich, complete with stuffing and cranberry sauce, waiting for the football game to start. I realize that these women are trying to get an early start on Christmas shopping, but they need to take a page from my shopping book. I wait until Christmas Eve, and then head to the mall with credit card in hand. One of those, two of those and give me a bunch of those gift certificates and I'm done. No Black Friday for this fella.


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