Black Friday best enjoyed from cheap seats


No matter what the activity or mundane task, it seems we’re able to work sports metaphors into just about anything. The full-court press, a grand slam, scoring a touchdown, thrown for a loss. Sports expressions and comparisons are everywhere.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice recently that I’m not an active participant in Black Friday shopping madness. I’ve never been one to shop at ungodly hours for a bargain or two just because everyone says it’s time to start the holiday shopping rush.

Having said that — hey, who knew? It’s a spectator sport!

Let me explain. It’s Thanksgiving evening and the family and I decide to cruise to the local video store to rent a movie. Our route took us past one of the big box major “superstores,” which at the time featured a parking lot packed to the edges and overflowing onto nearby streets. If you’ve ever seen the last scene of the movie “Field of Dreams,” that’s what the stream of cars still headed toward the store looked like. At first we just laughed and said you had to be nuts to be in that crowd.

But, curiosity got the best of us. We decided if we could find a halfway decent parking spot we’d check it out. As fate would have it, one opened up and we dove in. Holy cow (or words to that effect), what a zoo! I’ve been to Times Square, and it looks like a country church picnic compared to this place. It was wall-to-wall people. The first friend we ran into educated us on the fact that the first “savings hour” had come and gone. That’s where she got her electronic gaming system and she was headed out.

We continued to walk around in amazement. Then we ran into another friend waiting next to a shrink-wrapped stack of goodies that 90 minutes later was to be the “second wave” of on-the-hour savings. That’s when the sports metaphor thought hit me. For the shopping champions, this was the big game. She had done her scouting reports. She plotted out a plan of action. She positioned herself to make the big score. It was game on.

It made me be glad to be a spectator, and not a player. I hadn’t prepared properly. I left before the magic 10 o’clock hour struck. I don’t think I could have stood the frenzy as lines of people hundreds of feet long were turned loose.

I had two good takeaways, though. One, the look on the face of a friend (who shall remain nameless to protect him) as he realized I caught him standing next to the bargain item that his wife dragged him to and assigned him to snag when the hour struck. And two, the line delivered by another friend as he walked past me with an empty cart: “Looks like I picked a bad night to come out for cat food.” However, he was a long ways from the cat food, so he couldn’t fool me. I think he was there for the $2 DVDs.

Did I learn enough to think about developing a plan to get into the game next year? I think I’ll just keep enjoying the view from the cheap seats.

One day is all it took

Here’s a mental inventory I found myself taking Monday morning. Or maybe it should be looked upon as a diary entry.

Things done prior to Monday: Moved deck furniture into the garage, covered a picnic table, trimmed bushes, switched positions in the garage between the snow blower and the lawn mower with the snow blower moving to front and center.

Things done early Monday morning: Checked the forecast, saw it called for cold and snow. Took out a heavier coat than I planned on wearing. Threw gloves into the back seat — you know, “just in case.”

Done Monday morning shortly before leaving office for lunch: Looked outside and saw my car fairly well covered in snow, including windshield and side windows.

Thing realized NOT done Monday morning: Put snow brush in car.

Dang, that snow was cold on my hands. Oh, wait, the gloves were in the back seat, right?
I’m tired of winter already.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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