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Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

         I guess you could say that every Friday has been "black Friday" on this blog.  Since I started "Tossing It Out" I have been dealing with darker topics of scary stories, missing persons, and such.  It all started because I was primarily blogging about Halloween at the beginning and the scary type stories just seemed natural for the theme I had begun, not because of any darker nature within me.  I do like a good scary story or a mystery that makes me wonder.

         Today actually is known as "Black Friday".  As we kick off the Christmas shopping season, retailers are desperately hoping to edge into the black on the end of the year profit reports. It's been a bad economic year they say and I'm sure this is pretty scary for the retailers and  us as well.  And the job outlook has also been pretty scary, with no clear indication that in reality it is going to get much better soon.  I've been out of work since the first of the year and so far haven't gotten any bites on my job fishing expeditions. Watching the television news yesterday morning, I saw a story showing people who had camped out overnight waiting in line for a free Thanksgiving meal. Guess I've got to be mighty thankful for the good food that my wife and I and our 20 or so extended family members were able to enjoy for Thanksgiving.

         Actually the concept of Black Friday is pretty scary to me.  Going shopping is scary enough, let alone getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning to do it. Remember the guy that got trampled to death by the mobs rushing into the Walmart sale?  Frantic shoppers driven mad by bargains is worthy of an absolutely frightening horror movie and that's one movie I don't want to be in.

         Thinking about shopping during the Christmas season made me remember an incident that happened when I was very young.  It was probably 1955 or 1956, when I was four or five years old. My family lived in Cleveland, Ohio at the time. My parents took my sister, who was a year younger than I, and me with them to the large May Company department store in order for them to place their order for Christmas cards. My father always looked for very specialized cards so he would look through the special order catalogs to find the specific card theme that he wanted.

          While they looked through the catalogs, I was told to watch my younger sister. I don't recall what I was looking at, but apparently it wasn't my sister because the next thing I knew my parents were frantic and I had no idea what had happened to her. They both started looking up and down aisles calling her name. There was no answer and still no sister.  My father was on the verge of panic, afraid that the worst had happened. Then a store employee directed them to the place where lost children were taken.  We found the room and I was so jealous.  The room was filled with toys and other children all playing happily, oblivious to the idea that they were lost.  There was my sister joyfully at play and having had an adventure that must have been so exciting.  Seeing her there made me wish that it had been me who had been lost instead.

            Yesterday morning I mentioned this story to my mother and we reminisced about it.  She told me about how when she was a teenager she had once gotten lost and had become very afraid.  She and her family had recently moved to a new neighborhood in Morgantown, WV.  A school organization that she belonged to had a Christmas party at a house that was not too far from where my mother lived. After the party it was dark.  My mother began walking home by herself.

          She may have been dwelling upon the evening's events and just wasn't paying attention.  At the party, the students were to give a gift to another student whose name they had drawn prior to the party.  My mother had gotten a very nice give for the one whose name she had.  However, the girl that had my mother's name was sick and not there so  my mother ended up without a gift. She was upset about this and it preoccupied her thinking. After walking for some distance, she realized that she was not sure where she was.  This part of towm consisted of large houses that were close together on hilly streets.One street looked much like the other especially in the dark.  She started feeling panicky and very afraid. Her eyes filled with tears as she continued walking, trying to see something that she remembered. Eventually she did find the right street and found her house.  The entire incident probably didn't take more than thirty minutes, but she said it was one of the scariest things she ever experienced.

             Sometimes we all get irrationally lost in our lives. We might be actually lost in a geographic sense, lost in terms of the path we are taking in our lives, or lost in a spiritual sense. There are many ways that we can feel lost and it often leads to a sense of fear, panic, and despair. But when we are found or we figure out where we are going it's such a relief. 

              Are you a Black Friday shopper?  Have you ever lost someone or been lost?  What is your best advice to someone who finds themself lost?



  1. Before the kids got older and when I had some discretionary spending, I used to make tech purchases on Black Friday. Since Newegg and TigerDirect came online, I haven't needed to bother.

    Plus, seriously, I'd spend the extra $50 for an extra 3 hrs in bed nowadays. Yeesh!

  2. I can't remember being lost, but I think my advice would be to stop. Stay still long enough to look around, get your bearings, see if anything looks familiar, and, if possible, maybe spot someone like a policeman or a clerk in a store, who can help.

    No, I don't go out shopping on Black Friday. I really hate to shop anytime in the year, let alone in the crazy season.

    Straight From Hel

  3. Surprisingly I have never been a Black Friday shopper- and I love to shop!

    My greatest fear would be losing one of my kids. Scary.

  4. Yeah, I would never camp out for a bargain. I figure my time's worth more than that.

  5. I have only done "Black Friday" twice, both times with my daughter in Oklahoma. I always felt the bargains wouldn't be worth it. The one highlight of the Black Friday shopping is that I was able to spend time alone with my daughter, as she was married and had two children. It turned into mother & daughter time.

  6. Helen--
    Yes it's really best to stay rational in a case like being lost, but sometimes we just don't and then the more we panic or get frustrated we often get more confused and irrationaly. But staying cool and collected is always best.

    I guess the parent's worst nightmare is something happening to your kids. Even now I worry about my adult kids sometimes.


  7. I don't even venture out of the house on Black Friday, unless I NEED to. Even the in town traffic, and the inattention to driving that is horrible, is enough to keep me off the streets.

    I must be a highly abnormal female anyways. I HATE malls. I don't even remember the last time I went to the local mall....6-8 months ago???


  8. We don't have Black Friday here in Canada - but I've seen the reports. Pretty wild stuff! I can't imagine getting that excited about a bargain, but then again, while I'm certainly nowhere near rich, I don't have to count pennies either.

  9. Yes, I am a Black Friday shopper, and I don't know what possesses me to become this insane - crazed shopper on the bleakest- meanest of shopping days. I ventured to Branson MO today. Wrong choice! I don't know who I became today, but hopefully I didn't bring her home nor have to see her again.

    PS I tried to lose my brother a couple of times, but he always found his way back.

    PSS I'm never ever going Blk friday shopping again...ever. I hope I don't anyway.


  10. Judy-
    I remember as a kid I used to always go shopping with my mother the day after Thanksgiving. I could tolerate shopping more then and I just always enjoyed shopping with my mother.

    Sig -- I avoid malls most of the time. Can't blame you at all.

    Teresa-- Branson? Is black Friday the same there? I picture craft shops, tourists things, and shows with stars from the past. I don't picture store with bargains that cause stampedes. I haven't been to Branson in like 25 years or more.


  11. The state of Branson today would have made you sad. I go shopping in Branson all the time, but never on BF. There were no sweet craft shops or entertainers-I suspect they all headed for the Ozark hills. I will never go again, and should I forget the pain, please please someone remind me.

  12. Lee, being a new reader I must say how much I appreciate your blogs which not only tell me about you, but also about your country and customs.....we visited the States in 1996...amtracking all over for months on end, and we loved "the back yard view" (as we called it) meeting real people, staying in some delightful homes, & B&B's.
    However I digress....I'm sorry to hear you are unemployed...and I was shocked to read recently that there are approx 16 million people out of work in the USofA. (When you think Australia has a population of just over 20 million...the mind boggles.) I'm an optimistic person and I know the economy will turn as it has done here in OZ and hopefully you'll SOON have less time for blogging!
    On another note...Black Friday has been mentioned in a few of the blogs I read and I had no idea just what it was. Thanks for filling me in on this.How did it get that name I wonder?
    A similar day occurs here but on the day after Christmas Day (Boxing Day it is called)and all the major retailers throw open their doors with unbelievable bargains to be had, and people are almost killed in the rush. I always feel sad for the struggling families who have made sacrifices to bring Christmas joy to their children who see the goods they had purchased going for half price or less... such is life...

  13. I know when I'm traveling I almost enjoy seeing how the locals live and eat more than indulging in the typical attraction.

    Yes, there are an awful lot of unemployed right now and I deem myself pretty fortunate thusfar. It seems like for someone like myself, nearing 60 years and speaking only English (living in California), jobs are even harder to come by. I hoping my writing pursuits pay off in the form of some sort of new career opportunity.

    My understanding is that the name "Black Friday" comes from businesses that may have been in the red all year due to low sales, hope that increased sales from the Friday after Thanksgiving sales will put their profit margins in the black.

    Sometimes I have waited for those after Christmas sales only to find what had been on sale earlier before Christmas is out of stock or higher priced. Sometimes it's hard to know when to buy something. I guess if you really want something you should just get it when you have the money and it seems to be priced okay-- then don't look at prices any more after you've bought it so you won't get disappointed.

  14. Lee, Thanks for the all makes sense now...and I admire your philosophy on life


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