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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

The Sales Begin

Every year people often complain that the line between Halloween and Christmas is getting shaved thinner and thinner. Many people are not here for Thanksgiving erasure (nor were they here for my holiday-themed Erasure tribute band called the same), and often lament how quickly the jack-o-lanterns are replaced by Christmas trees. It seems that due to the great duress we’ve been under these last few years that more and more people want to get into Christmas mode as soon as possible.

Who can blame them? It’s been a “not great, Bob” time to be alive. Yet, I have noticed something this year that did catch my eye as being a bit more unusual than most. The Spector of Black Friday sales, that day that all capitalists and retail fans live for, appeared on the horizon far quicker than usual. 'Twas in the second week of November that an email arrived in my inbox telling me that “The countdown to Black Friday is on!”

This email assured me that Black Friday was right around the corner, and to keep an eye on my inbox for another email coming soon to tell me what would be on sale, then a further email would come to tell me when the sales would begin. There was a teaser graphic in the email, a clock that showed the minutes and seconds till the sale began, but the hours and days were both replaced with two question marks, “??”

I thought nothing of it and went about my usual life. I’m not one to get into the middle of the madness on that day. The older I get the more I dislike being around large groups of people. Standing outside Kohls to go HAM inside a big box store was never my idea of a good time and I sure as heck will not start now. I might cybershop some, but that would be the extent of it.

As promised a second email came in to tell me that “this year’s Black Friday sale is going to start even earlier than before! Be ready and save up to 80% off our entire stock!” There was no countdown clock with this email. Just a warning. A note to say “When it happens, and it will, be prepared.” I do not know if the ominous tone was intentional, but it shook me to my core. How will it affect society as we know it to suddenly spring an early Black Friday sale on us? Can we endure such a shock to our system?

Why was I so worried? I do not partake in Black Friday sales. Yet, I found it so odd that all these “hype emails” kept coming in. I wasn’t going to go anywhere the day after Thanksgiving. Ideally, I’d be too full of turkey and starches to leave my bed. But that tone, that weird sense of a man wandering the local pub saying “stay off the moors” had my guard up. Again, I went about my life as I always did.

But then came the day when the emails proved true. I was standing in line at the grocery store the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I was quietly keeping to myself with a cart full of ham and potatoes when my phone made a sound. It was the notification of a new email that had come in. As I reached for my phone I heard a similar sound from the phones of the other people in line. I swiped on the screen and my email app opened.

It was the conclusion of the emails that had been coming in all month long, it had one simple sentence within. “Black Friday has begun!” Wait, this was a Sunday. Black Friday wasn’t supposed to be before that coming Friday. What was this madness? As I looked up from my phone the other people around me were also looking at their phones with confusion on their faces. “But it’s Sunday!” one of them exclaimed.

There was a sound of faint, manic laughter from the last person in the line, two people behind me. “It has begun” they exclaimed, “Black Friday is now!” The mood in the store began to shift. There was a pause, then the cashier abandoned their station and ran to the clerk at the station behind them. As soon as they got there they started to hockey punch the other cashier.

I felt an arm around my neck, and the man behind me yelled “Your hams are mine!” As he tried to take my food from me I struggled to free myself. Luckily, I grew up in the schoolyards of the 1990s and know how to defend myself. I grabbed a Pay Day bar and began to use the salty, abrasive peanuts on the man’s eyes. His screams were horrible. When I got free I abandoned my cart and ran out of the store.

I got to the parking lot and found fistfights, duels, and people eating Mayonnaise with a spoon while crying. It was madness. I was lucky to get out of there alive. The audacity of moving Black Friday had brought havoc to my quint community. The store later apologized for this. They said it was never their goal, they hoped to offset this madness by starting it early. This is why we only do those sales one day of the year. I can only hope it will be a lesson for us all. I know I’ll be careful of any store from now on when November winds down. See you next week.


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