Saturday, November 26, 2011

Is pre-Black Friday like a taste of hell after the Thanksgiving feast?

I drove to see if the McDonald's near the freeway entrance in Ontario, Oregon was open on Thanksgiving night, after finding that the one on the other side of town wasn't open, but that McDonald's wasn't open either, and neither was Burger King, as far as I could tell.

Across the street, it looked like Carl's Jr. had lights on, but I didn't think it was open. Oh, by the way, the sign at McDonald's said they were open for breakfast, but I was busy watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then the Packers-Lions game, so, you know, I was doing what was most important. The Packers won and I'm not making any excuses.  They were the better team and deserved to win.

I'm a Lions fan and also a fan of the Redskins and Jets, which I previously wrote about in this blog, but knew the Lions would have to play their best to win. They weren't quite at that level on Thursday.

However, I thought the Lions played great in the first half, though they had several penalties which prevented them from scoring a touchdown or field goals in that first half. The score was 7-0 Packers at halftime, and the Lions were staying close. But then in the second half, the Packers got their amazing offense going the way they have most of the season and of course going back to last season leading to their Super Bowl win.

The Lions fell far behind in the second half but didn't give up, and that's admirable. It's a game they clearly will learn from and hopefully it will make them better.

In my opinion, too much has been made of the Ndamukong Suh being ejected from the game in the third quarter, and almost as though writers think it helped swing the momentum over to the Packers. I don't think the momentum changed because the Lions never had the momentum.  But losing Suh for the rest of the game was a problem. So many penalties were a bigger problem.

But let's not forget that some of the great teams of the past at times had lots of penalties and they kept winning. Tough, aggressive play will result in penalties, however there is such a thing as too many penalties especially when playing the best team, and that's what the Packers are right now.

Some of those great teams in NFL history also had tough players who made some very questionable and controversial hits on opponents, some were fair and within the rules of the game and other hits appeared like they were trying to intentionally injure an opponent. That was the worst part of the NFL, in my opinion! However, most football players were and are just playing the game and it is a very rough, physical sport. Suh is a great player and I hope everything works out for him, and that he figures out how to continue playing at the high level he's reached without too many penalties and distractions for his teammates.  I think he can continue to be great and play within the rules.

Well, getting back to what was and was not open last night... There was the local Wal-Mart superstore with more action than a football game.

In small towns, people go to Walmart the same way they used to pack into shopping malls. I have no idea where everybody is hanging out these days but don't see much going on at malls except for during the pre-holiday shopping blitz. Many people, I suppose, just sit at the computer, which is fairly safe, though that can be quite boring too.

Anyway, when I reached the Walmart parking lot, it was almost like looking for a parking space at a football game or a rock concert. In other words, a real pain in butt. Also good for causing tension headaches. Dammit! I knew shopping on Black Friday would be way too much stress for me -- on Friday (and I didn't go shopping Friday) -- but I had no idea there would be so many people on Thanksgiving night.

I drove over near Carl's Jr. through another large parking lot. I think all the small stores over there were closed for the night because it was around 10 pm.  Most of this other parking lot was filling up with vehicles just like the Walmart parking lot. I wondered if maybe there was something *interesting* (that would be a different and very limited definition of interesting) going on in Walmart, such as -- I was imagining -- what if a rock band is there. Don't get on me about an overactive imagination, because daydreaming helps me survive.

It turned out Thanksgiving, by Thursday night is only the beginning of Black Friday. Holidays have taken a backseat to money-making in America. We even forget which day it is now.

That noted, I got out of the vehicle and walked through two parking lots, and for some reason I had an earache. I saw many people walking there. A few were almost the size of football linemen, and maybe two or three looked capable of 'unsportsmanlike conduct' -- though shopping should never become a sport. But it's okay with me if searching everywhere on a holiday for open fast food restaurants becomes a sport. I could start training early next year and maybe even improve my shopping statistics. Oh yeah, I don't think there are statistics in shopping! So then I'm just kidding.

I'm also glad I didn't get tackled at Walmart, fumble my wallet, or get sacked by shoppers coming in when I realized I couldn't walk much of anywhere inside there, and decided to leave after about two minutes of absolute shock and horror caused by seeing so many people packed into one building. I don't know what the specials or discounts were but they must have been good.

I said there could be people getting into fights, and if there were a fire, it would be very dangerous and people could get hurt or die. Why doesn't Wal-Mart have managers who think this through ahead of time. I'm not a prophet or psychic, okay sometimes I get it right, but when I turned on Google News on Friday afternoon, the top story was about violence, fighting, and people getting pepper sprayed at Wal-Mart stores on Black Friday.  Not the local store, but still it's a problem that Walmart has created and needs to solve.

Shopping is a sport if the measure of a sport is how physical and tough the participants are but maybe it's closer to "Rollerball" or "The Running Man", or "Planet of the Apes", but I guess that last one wasn't a sport, though violent at times. (Of course all were movies.) Get your hands off of me, you d$$$ d$$$$ Walmart shoppers.  Just kidding. Oh well, I tried to bring this back to some kind of sense of humor though 'common sense' isn't too common and it's not something I want to mention in regard to the Walmart crowds and the Walmart management.  They'll have to show me they can do better first.

I'm not ready to refer to shoppers as athletes, but it might help to be one in order to go shopping these days. I'm a writer, sometimes in the past I picked which teams I thought would win (I'm opposed to gambling, I only wrote about it) and my best guess is that the shoppers on Monday or Tuesday will win more than the ones on Black Friday! I don't consider saving money and at the same time putting oneself in harms way to be winning.  I hate shopping a little bit more each day!  Yes, I used to like shopping but this year on pre-Black Friday, what I saw was just plain awful.