Viewpoint: On Black Friday, shoppers score the hottest deals or die trying

By Ashley Yeaman

After a day set aside to show thanks and count blessings, thousands make their way to the stores to grab that shiny, new item they must have at all costs, all in the name of savings.

It seems contradictory, but Black Friday has become almost as big as Thanksgiving itself. Watching football games on Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t be the same without seeing TV commercials telling you what you must have right now.

It will probably be out of style or out of date by next year, but who cares? It’s on sale.

Black Friday seems innocent enough. What’s so bad about wanting to save some money, especially in this economy?

But of course, lots of people have the same idea, so the malls will be crowded. It’s best to get there several days before and spend the night outside the store to ensure you will be the first in line and won’t walk away empty-handed.

You don’t look too different from those participating in Occupy Wall Street protests, but it’s ridiculous to compare. After all, your objective makes much more sense.

Stores accommodated for shoppers this year by opening their doors as early as midnight. Why wait a minute after Thanksgiving for the things you absolutely must get your hands on, right?

The parking lots are packed, with cars driving up and down the rows, just waiting for someone to give up and leave so they can take their spot.

In the stores, “hot ticket” items are wrapped in plastic and put aside. Lines are formed with yellow tape in an attempt to control the “Blitz,” as one Wal-Mart employee put it, that will take place as soon as the doors open.

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, and you don’t dare come unprepared.

You know what stores you’re planning on “hitting,” because you’ve scoured mail advertisements and store websites to know where you can find that item the cheapest.

It might be wise to take a cue from the lady in the red track suits in the Target commercials and do some working out before as well. Things are known to get ugly, and in a fight to death for that thing, you want to come out on top.

This year’s Black Friday took a violent turn across the nation.

One Los Angeles woman brought pepper spray and unleashed it on a crowd of shoppers in order to get some cheap electronics at a Wal-Mart. Twenty people were injured.

In San Leandro, Calif., a man was shot by a robber outside of a Wal-Mart after refusing to give up his purchases. The victim is currently in critical but stable condition.

But violent instances such as these won’t deter the true bargain hunter from returning to next year’s Black Friday.

It’s not materialistic. You need to save money and you need those things. It’s survival of the fittest and a pure adrenaline rush. Success is better than anything Thanksgiving has to offer.

Ashley Yeaman is a senior journalism and anthropology major from Teague and is a reporter for the Lariat.