Turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie. Enjoy the fellowship with family while scarfing down platefulls of food. Unbutton the top of your jeans if you forgot to wear your stretchy ones. Now clear the dishes and spread out the catalogs; it’s time to get down to business.
The Thanksgiving holiday can look vastly different from family to family but a scene at least relatively similar to this probably took place in your cozy home or the home of one of your relatives. Another scene that by now is all too familiar is that of overly eager shoppers waiting in line outside of retail stores early in the morning on one of the best days for America’s consumerist economy – Black Friday. (The day after Thanksgiving has been given the name “Black Friday” because retailer’s profits go from red to black.)
If you’re from a small town, Wal-Mart, Target and a few hometown stores might be your only options for the busiest—and craziest—shopping-day of the year. But oftentimes those big-name chain stores are the ones with the best steals. It’s just a shame you have to roll out of bed and get there by five in the morning. Even that’s debatable, however.
Experiencing Black Friday in Chicago this year shed a completely new light on the shopping experiences of prior years. When lines used to start forming maybe an hour before the store opened, you thought people showed dedication by choosing to stand outside in the cold that long. Small-town Iowa has nothing on Chicago. With 24-hour Wal-Marts sprinkled throughout the city, people don’t have to stand outside and freeze. But what do you do when the sales don’t start until 5 a.m.? Those poor employees.
Lines were 20 people deep by the time the clock struck midnight. It’d be another two hours before the employees would pass out wrist-bands. Get a wristband and you’re promised a TV, camera, iHome or other fancy electronic when they go on sale three hours later. At least now that you have your wristband you can take a bathroom break and roam the store. But people don’t always keep their promises as 75 angry Wal-Mart customers learned in Plainfield, Ill., this Black Friday.
“I stood in line for the GPS and my daughter stood in line for the TV,” said the exasperated woman waiting in line at the checkout. “Miscounting 75 flat screen televisions just isn’t ok.”
Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora, Ill., opened at 10 p.m. but by 10:05 drivers were parking their cars in a field two blocks away and running past port-a-potties to get in line for Coach. It zigged and zagged from the front doors of the store to the other end of the strip. Its occupants were expecting a three hour wait to get in the store that was already open. What a fun job door management must have had at 10 p.m. on the night of Thanksgiving – standing in the 30 degree weather.
Chicago was quite the experience this year on Black Friday. Riots broke out when the TVs went missing but no one was trampled to death by a stampede of shoppers as Wal-Mart employees had been in years prior. Chicago still sits in the humble Midwest. New York or L.A.? Now that would be a sight to see.