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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009


"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Black Friday: 'Ladies and gentlemen, start your shopping'

By Diane Denning

December 12, 2008 | The alarm clocked beeped at the disturbing time of 4:15 a.m. I rolled over to my husband with sleep filled taste buds and eyes and whispered, "Are you ready?"

The room around us was still, as black as the middle of the night. No footsteps were heard walking around upstairs and our bed was warm and cozy. I pulled myself out of bed and got dressed. I was told it can get pretty brutal so gym shoes are necessary as well as a sweatshirt to brave the bitter early morning cold of Idaho Falls.

With our teeth brushed, hair quickly combed, and make-up still on from the day before, I, with my husband Matt and my brother-in-law Dewey, headed out the door with the clock landing on 4:23 a.m. We picked up our sister-in-law, Melanie, a few miles away, separated into two cars, then headed to Black Friday headquarters -- Wal-Mart.

We pulled into the parking lot at precisely 4:53 a.m. Finding a parking spot was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Cars were parked in every stall of every parking lot anywhere close the superstore. People were running past us hoping to get to the deals before the other 10 people following closely behind them.

"Where is everyone?" I asked since this was my first Black Friday experience. People weren't crowding the doors like I had imaged they would. Instead, they were lined up inside the store, waiting for the clock to strike 5 a.m.

We entered the store and the sight I witnessed was beyond anything my imagination could have ever cooked up. Items such as Blue-ray DVD players, vacuum cleaners, HP printers, small home appliances, Legos, Barbies and motorized jeeps lined the main aisles of the store. Crowded around each stack of items were masses of people pushing to get as close to the stack as they could. They weren't allowed to touch the items until exactly five o'clock, but they were ready so one second after they could throw the items into their carts.

'"Ladies and Gentlemen, we welcome you to Wal-Mart this morning," the man on the intercom said. "We hope you enjoy your day. Remember to be pleasant and kind. Start your shopping."

With that said, the crowd went wild. Arms were shooting up from all directions. Screams of, "I got it, I got it!" echoed in the store. Carts were zooming from one part of the store to the other, but quickly came to a stop in what looked like a rush hour traffic jam of shopping carts.

Matt and Dewey ran to the back of the store to get $4 movies, while Melanie and I rushed for other items on our list. We had to stick close together; one step in the wrong direction could get you yelled at from a die-hard shopper, or hit by a shopping cart.

By 5:10 a.m. the 30 checkout lines were starting to wrap around the store. Melanie and I jumped in line to hold our spot and waited for the boys to join us. While standing there we saw shoppers with two and three carts piled high with all sorts of stuff. And some like one older gentleman standing behind us that braved the crowds for one item; a HP printer.

From Wal-Mart we advanced to Target. Immediately inside the doors, I saw movies on sale for $3. I called Matt to see if he wanted any. I was talking to him on my cell phone, while bending over to grab "Batman Begins" and "Transformers," when a white-trash lady took a step closer to me. I looked up just in time to see her growling like a dog directly at me. I was startled, but not going to give in to her animal demands. I grabbed all the movies I wanted then looked at her, smiled, and walked happily away.

Throughout the morning we spent approximately $225 and saved $450. Items purchased included black hooker boots and a three-piece luggage set which were both on sale for $20 from the original price of $80; a black cashmere coat for $50, on sale from $200; Lucky jeans for $30 on sale from $90-$110, and 35 movies on sale for either $3, $6 or $11.

The crowds were wild and very entertaining. I used to make fun of people who actually woke up at those unheard of hours to spend time at Wal-Mart. But, I must admit, I'm addicted - I am now one of them.


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