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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Judge not, lest ye be judged

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I don't often quote Scripture, but it came to mind this morning at 2:42 as I was taking this picture from the comfort of my warm, cozy Nissan Rogue outside the Best Buy at 76th and Layton in Greenfield, Wisconsin.


I assume there's folks in them there tents, and I didn't want to wake them up.  I know how surly I am at that time of day, and I'm used to getting up at o'dark thirty.

The denizens of this impromptu retail subdivision are no doubt spending the night before the night before Thanksgiving in 14 degree temperatures waiting for some sort of door-buster-Black-Friday mega-deal.   I doubt there are ovens inside there, or turkey fixin's, so the traditional holiday feast will probably come from the TGIFriday's next door. 

No, wait--chances are they'll be closed, as a lot of merchants used to be on Thanksgiving.

If someone wants to freeze their can off waiting to save a couple of hundred bucks on a flat-screen, hey, that's their choice.  Others drove hundreds of miles in recent days, sat out in bitter cold temperatures to shoot a deer. We all make our choices.  Judge not, lest ye be judged.

I don't do door-busters.  I prefer Thanksgiving.  I don't deer hunt, not so long as there's fresh meat in the case at the nearby Sendik's.  Some prefer the thrill of the hunt, be it for a bargain or the white tail.  Others of us aren't wired that way.  Deer hunting, though, is a generations-old ritual and part of Wisconsin DNA. Black Friday, on the other hand, is a retail money grab, pure and simple, and it tramples another great tradition: the nation shutting down for a day to dwell on what we have (food, family, football and various personal blessings too numerous to mention here).

The War On Thanksgiving continues, and to quote a famous comic strip character from back in the day when people read the funnies in the newspaper, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."  The folks in those tents and the millions more like them nationwide aren't doing anything morally or criminally wrong.  To some, the camping out and lining up before Thanksgiving is every much a rite as is a lodge up north, long underwear and Rickster's bad chili.  

Black Friday, though, isn't what it used to be.  We keep hearing that great deals can still be had before Christmas and after Black Friday, that what used to be the best time to buy is now what the Wall Street Journal calls "retail theater." Prices get slashed before the holiday season arrives, and they'll get cut right up until the last store closes December 24th.  And, you can bet your parents that if there was a way to monetize the days AFTER Christmas the way retailers have done with those before, the birth of the Lord would become a shopping speed-bump, too just as Thanksgiving is now.  Your neighborhood big box would be lit up like Clark Griswold's house in winter.  And THAT, my friends, would be the real "War On Christmas".

To each their own.  Shop til you drop--I'll be content to pick up the leavings.  While I like a bargain as much as the next guy, I like gravy, dressing, breast meat and my brother in law Al's Old Fashioneds even more.  Oh, and then there's sleep.  Take it from a guy whose alarm is set for 1:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, getting up at the crack of dark is no bargain, on Black Friday or any other day of the week.


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