Contemporary folklore tells us that Black Friday is so called because it is the day that retail businesses’ books go from being in the red, financial losses, to going into the black, financial profits. Folklore indeed! To most of us who tend to fight the ever rising tide of holiday bargain chasers and department store debutants, the black in Black Friday is less representational of glorified booty than it is of impending doom.
It is amazing to see the array of people bustling through a store, ransacking the discount bins leaving behind scraps of torn fabric, plastic wrapping, odd sized garments and the occasional finger or two. It is these people who make up the species called shopper. Of course, within this species there are several varieties. Although these varieties of shoppers exist throughout the year, Black Friday is to the shopper like Groundhog’s Day is to the groundhog that brings our focus to the spices.
Always the first to be observed is the “marathoeous patroni,” or the Black Hole shopper. This is the person who is waiting for the store doors to open in the morning. They walk around the store like a depression in the fabric of space and time, that mysterious gravitational pull that sucks money from any and all points surrounding it. The Black Hole shopper is difficult to see to the inexperienced because they are in the stores so long that they are often mistaken for employees.
Then there is the “upendus displayus,” also known as the Black Beard shopper. This is the person who is constantly digging through bins like there is buried treasure at the bottom. If they cannot find the exact item in their choice of size, style, shape or color, they’ll completely disrupt the entire department before being convinced that the store is out of inventory.
Very difficult to see and even more difficult to hear is the “montyous hallus,” or the Black Market shopper. This shopper thinks every new store is the opportunity for a new deal. They’ll negotiate everything from a store display to a mannequin’s clothing to a box of tacks with the price tag missing.
It isn’t until the shopper population is at it’s highest when we can spot the dreaded “kicksomeofus behindus,” or, commonly known as the Black Belt shopper. This is the person who vows to get the popular toy of that particular year, and no one will get in its way. This shopper can be quite dangerous and it is suggested to just get out of it’s way or you both may end up sitting in the store’s security office.
Of course it is wise for the novice to beware of all these species of shoppers, but the one most feared is the “wantus allofit” or the Black Widow shopper. She is the deadliest of all shoppers with her bite most venomous. Indeed it is the innocent mate who bares the brunt of the Black Widow’s sting. She shops and spends unconcerned for her mate. Once bitten by the Black Widow shopper spending, illness and severe pain follows. As the mate waits in the home web, he is unaware that, if he makes the wrong move, the slightest error, the faulty comment, he can and will be eaten alive.
Not to be forgotten are the completely innocent victims of Black Friday: the children. Those poor little Santa seekers who are literally drug from store to store, standing in those women's sections where they sell those...things with their moms telling them to hold this for her while she checks the sales flyer, mothers avoiding any toy store or department like the plague, the Black Plague, and the embarrassment caused by being seen with your mom eating at the “cool” mall pizza place will still be a topic of conversation long into therapy sessions for years to come.