Withering Glance: Dreck the halls on Black Friday

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK
  • Updated: November 19, 2011 - 2:40 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

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Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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RN: I know I'm going to come off as a hater, but honestly: What is it with Black Friday? The mourning-like name, for starters. It's creepy.

CP: I dunno. Every year my nephew and nieces try to convince me to wake up obscenely early and go to Shopko -- they live in Green Bay -- to get something we don't know we need for $1.27. And every year we just sleep in on Friday.

RN: Same here. I've never understood the compulsion to camp out in a parking lot in the dead of night, in sub-freezing temperatures, in order to grab a Blu-ray disc of "Notting Hill" for $2.99. Seasons greetings, right?

CP: Just because you're rich and can afford to pay full retail.

RN: Oh, please. Although if this is how you find out that my salary is exponentially larger than yours, well, so be it.

CP: Me, I love the thought of snapping up a 15-year supply of ibuprofen and a 79-cent printer, even if I may have to trample some slower, smaller shoppers along the way.

RN: To each his own. You want to jump low hurdles through Kmart at 5 a.m., have at it, with my blessings. My beef is with the corporations ruining their employees' holiday by opening on Thanksgiving night. Toys 'R' Us is starting at 9 p.m. Wal-Mart isn't flipping the switch until 10, while midnight is the witching hour for Best Buy, Target and Macy's.

CP: Look at you go, with the research and reporting.

RN: I'm guessing that by 2015, America will demand 24/7 shopping between T-giving and Xmas.

CP: Now you're talking. The big-boxers should never close. You don't see Scrooge taking a lot of senseless time off. Seriously, I bet most holiday workers are glad for the extra hours, the possibility of holiday pay and the chance to spend precious time away from their dysfunctional families.

RN: When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping, eh? J.C. Penney, bless its heart, is restraining itself by keeping the lights off until 4 a.m. Friday. "We wanted to give our associates Thanksgiving day to spend with their families," said senior vice president Bill Gentner. How sweet.

CP: That is kind of them. In these economic times, what could be drearier, in the middle of the night, than a giant sea of surface parking devoid of cars? Besides, Black Friday offers journalists a story for an otherwise slow news cycle.

RN: I'm beginning to associate Nordstrom with sanity. Not only does it refrain from hauling out the yuletide decorations until the day after Thanksgiving, but it's kicking off America's Craziest Shopping Day at 8 a.m. That's well after sunrise. Oh, and Neiman Marcus opens at 9. Civilization!

CP: Let's remember that the fall of Rome occurred not long after the emperor ordered the forum closed for his birthday.

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