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Black Friday shopping is 'running of the fools on the streets of Trample-onus' (Opinion from Ricky Thomason)

Please, I'd like to know why in the name of all cherished traditions is there such sound and fury over some retailers jumping the gun on the so called "Black Friday" shopping day.

You crawled from the shallow end of the gene pool anyway if you camp out in front of the doors of stores on Thursday night, or get up at 4 a.m. to be among the first to buy anything. I have long called this "the running of the fools on the streets of Trample-onus."

I see it to be akin to the beginning of a horse race; the bells clang, the gates bang "and they're off." You bet they are off in every sense of the word. Every year the herd tramples over countless slow pokes, overturn Hover-Round chairs, and kick crutches and walkers from under the lame. There are catfights, purses swung wildly, and cursing and screaming in abundance.

Much of that takes place just getting inside the stores. It really gets nuts when the items on sale are reached. It is mayhem, absolute chaos.

There is now a pool where you can bet on the exact number of shoppers and store clerks killed, the exact number injured (broken bones or blood required to qualify,) and an over/under total on the combined number of maimed and dead. With Alabama's new gun laws, shootings are likely as well. Maybe we need a new category.

This may sound like a cold thing to do, but I know this to be true because I started the thing. One may as well profit and have fun with Darwin's thinning of the herd.

Many believe that Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Snopes.com debunks that as an urban legend. Facts are Black Friday is often the biggest day in terms of the number of shoppers passing through the doors, but it lags in dollars spent because get this many people buy nothing; they just go to look and be a part of the crowd, the event. Unbelievable. Not even were the goodies free would I put up with that ill-mannered mob of greed.

In reality, the busiest day in terms of money spent is the last Saturday before Christmas, or the last day nearest Christmas if the holiday falls on a weekend.

If you really want to shop in comfort, join the growing number of us who eschew Black Friday for "Cyber-Monday," the Monday after Black Friday. We shop online; not only are deep discounts offered, most have free shipping.

I think Black Friday should be renamed Black December. Thanksgiving marks the last of the good holidays and launches us into the most un-wonderful time of the year: Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of the baby retailer and we have to watch how we talk and behave for fear of offending many competing complainers, including the biggest group of all who wants to run everything. Oh, well, at least it gets them to pipe down on the pre-football game ruckus and allows them to focus their loving anger elsewhere for a while.

I think I'll use this Black Friday to put Clark Griswold lights on our house. If I use LED lights and pegboards, I believe I'll spell "Bah Humbug." The wife says that's not happening. We'll see.

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