September 22, 2014
Around the Big Top

The most wonderful time of the year — not

Tim Barnum
Staff writer
Posted 12/3/08

Have you ever been on a dairy farm, in a milk parlor, right before the herd comes in for their twice or thrice daily milking? The cows stand cramped in a holding pen, and, depending on how a farmer does it, are forced towards the door to get milked.

Kind of like Black Friday.

The cows on Black Friday are eager shoppers. They crowd around the door and stare in amazement at all the pretty signs and bright lights inside. Then when the door opens, like cows, the shoppers rush the door.

But there’s a significant difference between the two groups.

Cows, if someone is standing in their way, will usually back away or turn around even though they are in desperate need of being milked. Humans, on the other hand, would rather trample somebody to death so their wallets can get milked, no matter how badly it desperately needs NOT to be milked.

Also if a cow is hungry and sticks its head in a stanchion to eat some delicious soybeans, grain, silage and hay, another cow that wants to eat the same thing will quietly find a different stanchion to have its meal.

If humans, on the other hand, would like to buy a toy and someone else has it, they opt for a much different method – pulling a gun and starting a shootout in a packed toy store.

Who would’ve known that the novelty of Black Friday would have become so dark?

I have never been one to get up at 3 a.m. and go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, probably because I don’t have kids fiending for the latest Guitar Hero or Elmo to buy Christmas gifts for, so let’s look at the pros and cons of shopping on Black Friday.

Pros: Good deals, get Christmas shopping done with or nearly done with.

Cons: No elbowroom, too early (meaning that people who do shop that day will be irritable the rest of the day), too competitive, people get shot, people get stampeded by the primates known as shoppers.

In fact, issues like this are leading to another milestone day in spending money, “Cyber Monday.”

This is the Monday following Black Friday where shoppers flood the Internet to make purchases.

We can’t really compare these shoppers to cows, but I imagine they are just as horrific to be around as the Black Friday consumer as they hop from Web address to Web address just begging for their identities to be stolen somewhere along the way.

Fortunately, though, we don’t have to see these attention-mongers pitching a tent outside the door of a Best Buy 24 hours before the new hot electronic gadget comes out. No, Cyber Monday shoppers probably don’t know how to pitch a tent.

They probably don’t know how to do much that requires them to be outdoors.

Now, I’m not saying everyone who shops on Black Friday or Cyber Monday is mindless cattle, or “scared of the sun” computer geeks, just 99 percent of them.

Unfortunately the ones who aren’t either end up trampled or empty handed.

Have a spectacular Holiday season!

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