Christmas 2010, part one

Posted on December 29, 2010


Merry Christmas one and all!  Have you been hitting the mincemeat pie and egg nog hard?  I hope so.  Me, I took it easy.  I still have half a carton of nog in my refrigerator, and believe me when I tell you that this an unprecedented exercise of will and self restraint.  I hope you had a great Christmas, whoever you are, and that your stocking was full of candy and dental floss and other excellent things.  Mine was.  I will here chronicle a few Christmastime happenings, the first being an exciting trip to HELL on Boxing Day.

I needed a TV.  With which to watch TV?  No way!  To play videogames!  I was without a television and my PS3 and Wii mocked me mercilessly for months, making a mockery of my meagre living room.  Yes that was an octo-alliteration.  Take that.  I finally decided to cave in and get a nice big screen so that I could murder people online and do other productive things.  And so, when I saw the enticing Boxing Day flyers for the electronics stores I thought… uh, no chance in hell.

But then I considered a little more and thought, wait a minute, what better place to go on Christmas than Hell itself?  I would get a television, and I would do it in the trashiest way possible.  In for a penny, in for a tonne.  No sweat.  I pored over the flyers.  My mom pored over the flyers.  My dad pored over the flyers.  He circled two televisions in the Best Buy flyer with a marker, and they looked very good:  rectangular, black, made by the Japanese or Chinese or something.  Everything I needed.  Then I noticed that the flyer noted the opening hours for the Boxing Day blow-out:  6:00 AM.  Six in the morning!!  I started getting excited.  What kind of maniacs would crawl out at six in the morning in search of discounted televisions and computers et cetera?  I aimed to find out.

So my dad dutifully rounded me up at 5:30 (I should note here that I was visiting for the holidays, and that I do NOT live with my parents) and I sprang into action.  My mind raced with the possibilities…  I will confess that I was envisioning a carnivalesque atmosphere, with more crystal meth.  I thought there would be:

  • A handful of die-hard degenerates.
  • Balloons.
  • A giant ribbon or giant clock or giant something adding to the excitement of the moment.
  • Free food and drink.  Coffee, doughnuts, that sort of thing.
  • Great deals.  Surprise deals.  Free prizes.

But most of all I was hoping for fights.  I wanted to see rat people coming to blows for the last 50″ Toshiba.  I wanted to see overweight women cursing each other out over the last discounted The Sims – Sexy Time game.  I wanted the cops to roll in with billy clubs and teach us all a lesson about our greed (in the face and ribs).  I wanted to revel in all things horrible about the event, and yet…

Nothing!  Utterly nothing.  This was almost worse than chaos.  Worse than a bloodbath.  Worse than anything.  We pulled up near six to a stunning scene:  probably 500 people lined up in the bitter cold and darkness.  The line stretched the entire length of the giant store and then even further still, down the sidewalk, to the road.  It was ridiculous, and disturbingly docile.  The mass of humanity lined up there looked like the most defeated, deadened group you’ve ever seen outside of a POW camp.  It was really weird.

As soon as we joined it, the line started moving and away we went.  I took some video footage of this non-event, which is included here for your pleasure.

I have a couple of observations.  First, at 0:38 you will note something very weird.  There are spectators.  They are watching the line.  They have coffees and seem firmly rooted in their positions.  I’m sure there’s a good explanation, but at the time it made me feel sort of dirty.  No one should be present for a depraved event like this who isn’t actually participating.  What, you think you’re better than me?  Because you don’t need to save $20?  Go to hell.  The presence of the spectators also made me feel sort of like a gladiator going into battle.

Second, at 0:51 we see the very first person to emerge with an item.  Wow!  Great job, whoever you are.

Third, at 0:53 we see the second person to emerge with an item.  Watch it.  Now watch it again.  And again.  This poor man looks so perfectly miserable and embarrassed to be there that it hurts.  When do you think he got there, if he was second to exit?  Four in the morning?  Three in the morning?  Merry Christmas.

I then entered the store with pops.  We rushed to the televisions but soon saw that no one was terribly interested in 40″ screens.  The line ups and tension were all about the big guns.  Big screens.  Huge screens.  Hell yeah.  We found a TV and dragged it to the line to pay.  It went fine, if a little slowly, but I was bitterly disappointed because I saw no fights at all.  No simmering rage.  No conflict.  No one trampled.  No nothing!  What a let down!  I would love to tell you all about the Sodom that was Best Buy on Boxing Day but it just didn’t happen.  Next time I’m going to upstate New York or Michigan.  And if I don’t get some action I’ll pull out a pistol and see what shakes out.  The best thing I saw was a pair of obviously not very smart teenagers pushing a cart overflowing with electronics and bickering with each other constantly.  By eavesdropping they were obviously planning to go resell the stuff they had gotten, but instead of paying for it and leaving to go make their profits (and how you profit reselling non-scarce items like Xboxes which you got at less than 10% off I have no idea) they just sat there for as long as I was there, as though they were waiting for something.  I tried taking a picture of them but they sniffed me out and looked unhappy.  I relented.

To conclude:

  • Many die-hard degenerates.  Mostly white.  Very pasty.  Asians represented as well.  A few females, wearing camouflage.
  • No balloons.
  • No giant ribbon or giant clock or giant anything to spare us from the austerity of  the moment.
  • No food and drink.  Next year I’m going to go sell breakfast hot dogs to the line.
  • Mediocre deals.  Zero surprises.  No free prizes.

If you’ve ever wondered just what Boxing Day in the dark at an electronics retailer is like, now you know.  Spare yourself next year and stay home drinking egg nog.  I know I will.

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