Someone once told me that the term “Black Friday” referred to the financial status of businesses on the day after Thanksgiving. For most of the year, stores would operate in the red, but once the shoppers come in full force for the start of the Christmas shopping season, they will once again operate in profit. I actually prefer the alternate meaning–that people buy so much that they go into bankruptcy–because a lot of people appear to be reckless spenders.
I find it fascinating to observe the crowd on a busy day. In contrast to sunny Pasadena where most of the people are trendy yuppie go-getters carrying cell phones and pagers and shopping bags from expensive stores, people in Upper Valley New Hampshire on a whole seem a lot more down-to-earth and practical. Of course, that could also be the result of cold weather and snow.
Today was a big day for sales and people tramped outside despite the falling snow to head to the stores in lemming-like herds. But even over the mob behavior, it was interesting just to watch individual people. A family of women speaking a bastardized form of French mixed with English bought three microwaves. A fat man wearing low-slung jeans in an effort to look cool practically mooned an entire busload of people when he got up for his stop. Two adolescents, one with a skateboard and another with a video camera, prowled around town looking for trouble. Whiny children tagged along with long suffering parents. Bums slouched outside stores smoking and stamping their feet while not far away, a Salvation Army volunteer bundled up like an Eskimo rang his bell.
A kiddie movie I saw today:
Treasure Planet. I sat in front of a pair of catty mothers bickering about PTA meetings and fundraisers while their kids were shouting out periodically in the movie. I sat behind a harried father attempting to control his tantrum-throwing and sulking children. Yes, observing the audience is half the fun.