As a kid, I remember always wanting to go to a Black Friday sale. Even now, I couldn’t tell you what it was that drove the strange urge. It could have been true eagerness for that one of a kind deal, or to experience the chaos for myself, or to see if the rumors of shopping maddened moms fighting over brand name shirts were a reality. Since then, I’ve convinced my relatives to take me once or twice – at least until they grew tired of amusing me. When my sister finally caught the bug, it was her turn for the experience. All I’d received was disappointment. Never once did I see the fabled psychotic rush. Instead, there were just silver gates dictating where to stand while angry men in uniforms – who were none too happy to be on the clock – cast angry glares at anyone who tried to sneak up in line.
But now, with the wonder gone and jobs a real thing in most of our lives (remember that six hours of wages you lost waiting for that one shiny toy?), all I feel is bemusement. Bemusement, I say? Yes, with a hint of sadistic humor, all due to the hypocrisy of the whole thing. Only hours prior, those shoppers had given thanks for what they already possessed. Now, suddenly stricken with some sort of deal-lust that no thanks can sway, they shove and shout in search of new possessions. In that, I’m probably just commenting on America at its finest.
Of course, I also live in Cleveland. While I won’t be the pessimist that says that nothing happens (we have beer festivals at Melt – I can’t really complain), we certainly don’t have the hype that many of the bigger cities have. I’m fairly certain that many Clevelanders have the turkey eating art down pat, and we’re probably somewhat decent at throwing our thanks in one direction or another as well. Despite that, we are exquisitely poor at dancing through our favorite malls burning off those calories. Like the average person, most people here are much more content watching the news about another poor soul run over at a local superstore opening while nestled in the comfort of our couches.
That all said, this issue of The Athenian is about the ridiculous and the prodigious. Have you ever wondered how the sales really come about, or what you should take with you to survive the horde onslaught? We might be able to tell you, and maybe, in the meantime, manage to bite some of you with the bug so that you become our entertainment this year. We hope you enjoy this issue – and may the odds be ever in your favor.