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Black Friday, indeed

hobo's wal-mart

Gathering around a couple of different Thanksgiving dinner tables yesterday, talk inevitably got around to Black Friday shopping. The questions were all the same: Are you going? What time are you heading out? Did you hear there's already a line at Best Buy?

The answers were a consistant No; I'm not heading out; That's crazy! I had stopped the practice of Black Friday shopping after having two children and valuing my time snuggled warmly in my bed. Getting out at 4 a.m. was just not going to happen. Ever. Again.

Little did those of us discussing Black Friday shopping realize how crazy the day would become.

In New York, some poor temp worker at Wal-Mart was trampled to death by shoppers, so crazed and frenzied were they to score that Wii or flat screen teevee on sale, they could not be bothered to help a man up. This shopping business has become so hardcore-serious that those bastards outside that NY Wal-Mart broke down the doors at the hinges to get their shopping on.

Closer to home, local idiots opened fire in a TOYS R US in Palm Desert. That's right, I said Toys R Us ... you know, that place just teeming with children and babies. Two men were killed, and scores of children traumatized as they ran crying and screaming with parents running to hide in a nearby gym and Jiffy Lube.

"They were running fast straight into the car bays. There was a couple of ladies with little kids, about 3 years [old]. They were all pale. The kids were shouting, 'Mom, I'm scared.' We immediately closed the store," Diaz told The Times. His staff immediately locked the front doors and closed the car bays. "We took everyone into a basement bay, where we keep inventory," he said. [LAT]

Is there any electronic item, hot toy or pair of sneakers worth breaking down a door for and trampling a man over? Are there no places considered "off-limits" for gunplay? I used to think houses of worship, schools, playgrounds and hospitals and yes, even a Toys R Us would be considered "safehouses" by virtue of the little lives inside, and who'd ever guess a trip to Wal-Mart would turn violent, but such is the retail-consumer-culture mentality and the gangsta mentality that nothing and no one, not even scores of kids standing all around or pregnant women or babies in their mother's arms are going to get in the way of savin' a buck or settling a score.

This year I'm sticking to Hobo Shopping: charitable thrift shops and handmade goods from both the pint-sized artist in residence as well as local artisans.

No more Retail Black Fridays for me. Ever.