"You're an idiot."
That's what someone said to me on a friend's Facebook thread where I was talking about Black Friday shopping. The person was apparently vehemently opposed to the annual post-holiday consumer pilgrimage. I respect that.
I'll even admit that every year, there's almost always a strong case to be made for that opinion. And this year is no exception. But still, in roughly 13 or 14 years of observing this annual event, I've seen only a handful of incidents and those were minor at best.
Instead, what I have seen are people laughing, talking to one another and often, helping each other. People sharing carts when there were none and purchases were tough to keep moving in the line. Others offering a cell phone so a girl could attempt to contact her mother and let her know she was in line. Still others telling one member of a shopping "team" where they located one of the bargains so someone could quickly retrieve one while the team was still in line.
And today, when a lady discovered she had one less T-shirt than she had intended to purchase (either hadn't grabbed enough or had dropped one while making her way through the store), a guy piped up and said, "Go get you one. I'll keep your place and watch your stuff." And he did.
One reason I've probably had such positive Black Friday experiences is that I don't buy electronics. (Except online.) Or, I'm generally not seeking the season's hot new toy. That's not to say that I don't often shop for popular items; I do. They just don't happen to those things that folks generally would duke it out over or trample someone else to get to.
Through a combination of online shopping and devoting just a few hours to hit three stores on Friday morning (and mid-morning at that), I scored several of the items on lists for families and seniors we are adopting for the holidays at work. I also got a few things for myself, some gifts for friends, the mother and Toby -- and saved hundreds of dollars doing it. I also earned $90 in Kohl's Cash from some of those purchases.
I did all that and while I was doing it, no one was trampled or even rude. Lines moved quickly and shoppers were well behaved. Friendly even.
If then, going out to shop on Black Friday makes me an idiot, so be it.