Rob Miller, Lab Assistant to the Giant Squid: OK, I'm gonna level with you: I've pretty much never be very into the Black Friday thang. Folks get crazy about it, and I'm sort of a last-minute guy anyway, but, like, this one time, like, two years ago, there was this crazy deal on, like, flat-panel plasma TVs—which were totally a bigger deal back then, even though they are just sort of a regular thing now—and so I figured, what the fuck, right? I only kinda do Turkey Day with my fam anyway, and I'd spent Turkey Morning chilling with Lord A. and watching the parade, but shit got a little cranky, so I figured: Fuck it; I'll go to Best Buy right now and be the stone-cold first motherfucker in line. And, man, that fucking joint was a Ghost Town; it was getting into afternoon—everyone tucking in to their big gobblers and shit—and so the drive down was all post-apocalyptic I Am Legend shit; even where the Lodge freeway—which is like the big artery feeding and draining Detroit—hooks into interstate 696 (which hooks into 96 which goes all the way across the state to the Big Fucking Lake) and Telegraph (which is like the big 50-mph slide from the rich-ass suburbs to the poor-ass suburbs)—there was just, like, nothing. Seriously creepy nothing. After one red light went green, I started to go, then realized that there was no one else, so I put her in park and got out—right in the middle of a six-lane highway that's usually shoulder-to-shoulder cars—and laid my palm on the asphalt, which was warm from the sun even though it was so crazy cold out, and the wind was coming, and it was so crazy quiet . . . just, like, just like I was in a frozen field, an old corn field. I look up and there, under the overpass, there's a goddamn snacking on the Lay's potato chip bags in the drainage ditches. For real.
Anyway, Best Buy was right there, right were those big, empty-ass highways come together, and the parking lot—one of those big fucks that's like 6 acres all itself—had not a car. Just me, my lawn chair, my old school Star Wars sleeping bag from when I was a kid, and my five Subway five-dollar foot-longs. So I set her up right in front of the sliding glass doors, sit down, wrap up, lean back against the glass, and start munching down on my turkey subs, and the sun was setting into that snaggle of on-ramps and off-ramps and overpasses, and the wind was up and cold, but the sky and the roads, it was like being in a twist of weird fire and, you know, it was probably almost the best Thanksgiving I'd had in years; just so fucking mellow. There wasn't a cloud, and the sun went down, and the moon came up just so full and clear, and my belly was full and clear, and I dozed off. Next thing—seriously, it was just like my lids just barely dipped down for a second and then—BAMN! I'm awake, flat on my back half on the concrete and half in the wood chips and bushes next to the door. My head splitting, 'cause I'm staring just right into this blazing blue sky, and there's about a million people milling around, hauling their huge-ass TV boxes and all that. Pandemonium, you know? Like crazy fucking shopaholic pandas. My chair's gone, my sleeping bag's gone, and I'm up and in a panic and I rush in and, totally you guess it, there isn't a fucking flat-panel in the joint. Get back in my car and find that my keys are gone, too—which isn't such a big thing, since the lock-thingy that the key goes in is sorta fucked and I can crank it with these vice grips I keep in the glove-box because I'm always dropping my keys somewhere—but so is my weed and my papers and my wallet, and there's a fucking new-in-box-in-shrink-wrap iPod Nano in my jacket pocket, which I ended up giving to my mom for Chanukah, because, you know, she's OK. She's been OK about a lot of stuff.
Anyway, I forgot to cancel my credit card and bank shit and whatever until I got the next bill, and it turns out that the only extra charge on my Visa was 14 gallons of gas, $40 in groceries, and like $30 of stuff at Toys R' Us, so I paid that, 'cause, you know, Xmas and shit, right?
Then I canceled the card.
Molly Reynolds, Lab Director to the Giant Squid: I presume this questions is coming from someone, anyone over at the Borders Books and Buggywhips corporate offices. My heart goes out to you, but, honestly, it might be best to steal as many staples and post-its as you can carry and start wrapping them up as stocking stuffers; I doubt you're getting bonuses this year.
I saw that you can't even order some books from Borders anymore, they have so many unpaid bills. Say what you will about working for a megalomaniacal sea monster, at least we're solvent.
Mr. Leeks, Accountant to the Giant Squid: I begin my plans weeks ahead of time. I scour Fat Wallet and the Consumerist website for tips. There are a bevy of, shall we say, quasi-legal fora where I lurk for tips and print out hacked coupons. Right now on my desk top I have a map of the Metro Detroit area with virtual pushpins representing locales wherein I would like to shop to get he very best deals (calculated by taking the manufacturer's standard retail price and subtracting the sale price on Black Friday). I numerate these establishments in order of best value to least, then I allow for driving times and gas costs for my Volvo. I then attempt to acquire as many of these "high value" items as possible before the stores close. Some years this requires multiple car trips to empty out my station wagon. I have considered renting a larger vehicle—a U-Haul truck—just for the day, but I've found that the expense eats too far into the planned-for savings.
How was that? Did I answer the question well?
Trael, elementary-aged student on holiday break: Black Friday? My uncle say that a racist term. He say that since it be all the white people out shopping that day we should call it White Friday instead. But then his buddy Turtle laugh and say that in Michigan every Friday be a White Friday.
The Giant Squid, editor-in-chief of Poor Mojo's Almanac(k): THIS YEAR I HAVE STOCKED THE LARDER RICHLY WITH FINE DOGMEATS CULLED FROM THE DESERTED STREETS OF THE MOTOWN CITY. I PLAN TO GORGE MYSELF UNTO SICKNESS ON THE DAY OF THANKS IN THE MANNER OF ALL AMERICANOES. I SHALL SPEND THE BLACK FRIDAY THEN AS MANY AMERICANS DO: I SHALL COMPLAIN ABOUT MY WEIGHT AND WATCH SPORTING EVENTS UPON A TELEVISION OR INTERNET MONITOR. I WILL PERHAPS—OVER AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE—RECOUNT THE SOCIAL FAUX PASIM OF THE THANKSGIVING NIGHT, WHEN ONE'S AUNT OR AUNTCLE MADE RACIST REMARKS CONCERNING OUR PRESIDENT. I SHALL DO THE "DISHES" AND "NURSE" A "HUNGOVER." ON THIS MOST AMERICAN HOLIDAY, AND ON THE DAY THAT IS HER SHADOW, I SHALL LIVE AS ALL AMERICANS. OR PERHAPS I SHALL RETIRE TO MY TANK AND READ SOME POETRY?
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