Archive for November 26th, 2010

November 26, 2010

Black Friday

The Friday after Thanksgiving is generally referred to as Black Friday.  Now that sounds somewhat ominous, like market crash, doom, and tragedy but the black here doesn’t imply that in this case – quite the opposite, black is used in the sense of black numbers = profits.

Sex and the City - wellknown for shopping sprees, pic: http://www.bellydancematernity.com

See, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas shopping season.  And that is a serious matter:  people get up at crazy hours – like 3 or 4 in the morning – and head for the shopping mall (some allegedly still in their pajamas) to get the best deals, the so called “door busters” (so called because once the doors are opened people burst in a big dangerous stampede).  There are a limited number of laptops for $300 off or for spectacularly cheap iPods, sweaters, Wii consoles, etc.  And then it is shop until you drop.

Stores advertise week in advance when they open and what the door busters are, people plan and strategize – where to go first, what to get, etc.  Some even camp out in front of the store – and by camp I mean tent, sleeping bag, thermos the works – the whole night just to get those deals.

Every year there are reports of people getting almost killed on such occasions.  In 2008 a store clerk at a Walmart was actually killed when a crowed stormed the store.

Everybody who does not enjoy crowds, the occasional skirmish and long lines at check out should stay away from the malls on Black Friday, also called “Thingsgetting” Day.

November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

Can’t let the Thanksgiving weekend slip by entirely without a Thanksgiving blog.

Thanksgiving dinner, pic: © Dan Ionut Popescu

Thanksgiving is a big deal here, the busiest travel season of the year and pretty much everybody is off work.  Even the local Safeway and the 24 hour gym close at around 2 in the afternoon.  It is a family holiday, with lots of food and tradition.  There is the turkey feast that everybody indulges in one way or the other, with way too much turkey and plenty of side dishes: the yams, potatoes, veggies, stuffing, gravy and later on have pumpkin and pecan pie, whipped cream and ice cream.  There are ample opportunities to get the calorie count up!

Then there are the little family traditions which every family has, the hike before dinner, the basketball game in the yard afterward, the movie one always watches, the special drink, the board game, etc.

It took me a while to get used to Thanksgiving because it is not part of my European tradition and I was just not used to making a big deal out of eating that large dry bird with sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows.   I have to say, though, Thanksgiving has grown on me over the years, it is a holiday devoted to friends and family and eating – nothing wrong with that – and blissfully absent – at least on the actual day of Thanksgiving – is the whole consume craziness that is such an integral part of Christmas nowadays.  If you are invited somewhere you bring a side dish or a bottle of something yummy – done.  No last minute rush to buy fancy gifts just to keep up with the Joneses.

The day after Thanksgiving, also called Black Friday or Thingsgetting is a different story.