A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
In a nationwide push to get people to part with their money earlier and with more fervor than ever before, 300 stores across the country will be opening the night before Black Friday to give customers 26 straight hours of frenzied saving.
The night before Black Friday, for those who live on some island where bartering with shells and tortoise eggs is still considered an acceptable form of commerce, is more commonly known as Thanksgiving.
You know, that holiday which is all about family and togetherness and giving and thanking and eating and laughing and drinking and napping and then eating again around 10 p.m. because somehow, everyone’s hungry again? Well, not hungry, but you could nosh. Just one last bite of pie, that’s all you really want. A few more bites. Okay, now one last few more bites. You’re standing up and not using a plate or a fork, so it doesn’t count.
It’s really my favorite holiday. It makes me feel warm and cozy and like eating carbs isn’t just okay, it’s important. It’s grateful. It’s downright patriotic! It’s a time to catch up with old friends and relax and wear clothing with elastic waistbands. It’s a time to watch old Charlie Brown specials on television not because they’re funny, but because it’s just what you do. It’s a time to stay home and appreciate what you’ve got, because if you can count cooked-in-bird stuffing on that list, you’ve got plenty.
It is not a time for rushing a big box store and checking fellow shoppers with liberal elbows to the face in order to get your hands on that Twilight doll while it’s still 25 percent off. It is not a time for standing at the automatic doors of the store at which you work, ready to greet psychotic shoppers, only to be possibly ruthlessly killed in a stampede that would make a panicked herd of wildebeests look civil and rational. It is not a time for putting on a uniform and dragging your butt to work so that you can help 4,000 people find the DVD of that movie that their kid liked but they can’t think of the name but it had a robot in it? Or maybe it was a duck? A robot duck—does that ring a bell? Oh wait, it wasn’t a movie, it was a video game for X-Box. No, Wii. No, that other thing. Or maybe it was a toy. Do you have that thing we just made up? Why not?!
No, these things can wait until morning, when the warm feelings of pie and stuffing and happy and peace are replaced with a looming blend of guilt and pressure to get great gifts for everyone on your list before all the great gifts run out. Best to set people loose on the world after they’ve had a nice, relaxing evening soaked in wine and Tryptophan. Do we really need to to speed that up? Can’t everyone just chill out for a night and get all nutso crazy in the AM? I get it. The stores need extra money and extra traffic. But people are going to spend what they’re going to spend, whether it’s at 11:00 PM on Thanksgiving or at 9:00 AM the next day.
I’ll tell you now, you won’t find me lined up anywhere next Thursday night. Or Friday, for that matter, due to my hatred of massive and unwieldy crowds.
Of course, after Friday, all bets are off. I’ve got sharp elbows, people, and I’m not afraid to use ‘em.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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