That's how many hits you get when you Google "black Friday."
I am a little agog at how this Black Friday insanity has taken root. We all know that the day after Thanksgiving has been big for shopping for many years. I remember the first Cabbage Patch doll riot, back in the early 80s - I think that happened on the Friday after Thanksgiving. But I don't think it had this name Black Friday until recently. (It refers to the idea that this the day when retailers go into the black. Imagine that, you have to go 47 weeks into the year to get to profitability? Remind me not to buy stock in a company like that.) And so once it had a name, it's become another American holidays, with ritual observances and the required pressure, tension, frustration, and exhaustion that make our holidays the treasured occasions that they are.
Let's get real here, people. You're getting up at 3am so you can stand in line to buy some crap that will still be on the shelves the next day. OK, granted you will pay a few dollars more if you wait another day, but think about it. You couldn't get that many people out of bed at 3am for the second coming of Christ, for Christ's sake! 3am is a time that people who have 2 hour commutes get out of bed, and we know these people who have 2 hour commutes are certifiably insane. It's just daffy. Mass insanity.
Lo and behold, once Black Friday got a name we needed other days to have names, so now there's Cyber Monday - the supposed big online shopping day. This is followed by Buyer's Remorse Tuesday, Over Your Credit Limit Wednesday, and We've Run Out of Names So It's Just Regular Thursday.
The inevitable result of this Black Friday madness is that eventually we will have to top it somehow. Already the game is on:
Bentonville-based Wal-Mart decided it wasn't going to settle for Black Friday alone or even wait until Cyber Monday, getting the jump with a slew of special online deals on Thanksgiving Day. Among the specially-priced items featured at www.wal-mart.com on Thanksgiving were...Won't be long before Thanksgiving itself will become a day for shopping, and people will start having their turkey dinners on Wednesday evening to get ahead of the curve. Then some smarty pants will start pushing the start of the shopping frenzy back to the weekend before Thanksgiving, then Halloween, then Labor Day, and in a few years we'll all be getting up a 3am on the Fifth of July to get half-off on "The Best of Garth Brooks" CDs and George Foreman grills.
I will continue to do my part as a rabid American consumer to keep our economy afloat, but when it comes to getting out of bed in the dark to stand in a line, you're asking too much. Unless there's a good price break on Tickle Me Elmo - then we can talk.