I went shopping today, as is my annual tradition. Mom & I go every year. We get up at crack-o-dawn, hit the sales, get breakfast at McDonald’s, then hit more sales. Those are the most important pieces of my Black Friday puzzle. This year was a bit more intense than usual, because we went with a friend who wanted to be in line at Wal-Mart at 4:30 a.m. to buy a Nintendo DS for her son.
Yes, that’s right. I got up, showered, dressed, and was in line at the Placerville Wal-Mart at 4:30 in the morning. This was a bit of a stretch for me. It seems like in the past we’ve hit mostly the 6 a.m. sales, maybe a few 5 a.m. sales, but I don’t recall being in line at 4:30 any time in recent years.
Was it madness? Most definitely. But there was a strange feeling of power in getting to the back of the store while there was still a pile of Nintendo Wiis, there for the taking, at the lowest price I’ve ever seen. I didn’t buy. I just looked, and thought, “Huh.”
In these modern times, we don’t hunt much. I think something about the day-after-Thanksgiving sales taps into that primal urge to HUNT. GO FASTER. PUSH PAST THE OTHERS. MOVE IN FOR THE KILL.
The other notable event of the day: I met them. The people who want “fullscreen” editions of their movies. Two different stores had “The Devil Wears Prada” for sale at an insanely low price. I enjoyed that movie, and I would have bought a copy, except that ALL of the copies at both stores were fullscreen. I don’t buy fullscreen movies. I stood there, looking at the DVDs, thinking, “Who ARE these people that buy fullscreen?” If I buy a movie, I want to see the WHOLE movie, thanks much. Then, as though summoned by my consternation, they appeared. A man in overalls, and his wife in a sweatshirt.
Woman (to her husband): “Make sure you get the FULLSCREEN one, Harold*.”
Harold then dutifully checks to make sure the DVD he is holding is, in fact, the fullscreen edition. A minute passes.
Me: “So… you like the fullscreen edition, then?”
Harold: “Yeah, I guess so.”
“Ah. I see. You like whatever she likes?”
“Yeah, pretty much. Well… isn’t the fullscreen the one that fills up the whole TV?”
“And the widescreen has those black bars?”
“I hate those bars.”
“Really? See, I was just here wondering why anyone would buy the fullscreen edition, because I always buy widescreen.”
“Well, what’s the difference, other than those bars?”
“Well, see – if they fill up your whole screen, then they have to cut off the sides of the film, so you don’t get to see the whole thing.”
“Oh. I guess I never thought about it.”
“I like to see the whole movie.”
“Well, it don’t make much of a difference, though – really.”
“I suppose not.”
So. There they were. The people that genuinely prefer, and are driving the market for… fullscreen movies. I don’t understand them, but I know that they exist, because now I’ve seen them with my own eyes.
Ten and a half hours later, I came home. And although we were out for a LONG time, I didn’t actually buy that much. But I really, really, really enjoyed the shopping. Spending a day shopping, perusing, browsing, wandering… is a luxury. While I was out, I saw some interesting things, talked to some interesting people, had some interesting thoughts, and I got to spend the day with my mom (also interesting).
Overall: A+++ WOULD SHOP AGAIN.
*not his real name.
*Post updated (twice) with this link and this link for those interested in learning more about widescreen vs. pan-and-scan.