What I learned during my first time as a Black Friday shopper is that, surprisingly, the process isn't nearly as terrifying or harrowing as it is generally thought to be.
I arrived in the epicenter of American capitalism—a suburban Walmart Supercenter—just before 8 p.m. on Grey Thursday, the newly minted bastard offspring of what is said to be the biggest consumer spending day of the year. Entering the parking lot, I saw something I'd never seen before: drivers circling the lanes like sharks, searching for open parking spots. The lot itself was packed from the building's northern-most end to the parking lot of the nearby Sam's Club, another arm of the Walton Empire.
I felt like I moved through a portal transporting me from the peaceful night air of Glendale, Ariz., to a surprisingly clean Middle Eastern bazaar. The aisles leading from the entryway were clogged with carts; the path to the back of the store was a slow-moving river of humanity. Value-priced products had already been flung about, with T-shirt packs becoming small, cotton speed bumps willing to topple any shopper who wasn't smart enough to watch where he or she was stepping. The Walmart's in-store McDonald's employees were even wandering through the scrum, selling coffee, soda and yogurt snacks to the crowds. One has to keep energy up for a rush on Tupperware, after all.
As I mentioned, the chaos wasn't actually all that chaotic—sure, the electronics department would descend into a free-for-all whenever a sales blitz was announced, and tempers flared over the number of registers that were open at any given time—but nothing happened that was very unusual.
The takeaway: Black Friday is an absurd concept, particularly when its start has been stretched to the day before. But if you're going to participate, do so in the suburbs—you may feel like you're in another part of the world, but you're less likely to be stabbed.
As was mentioned elsewhere in this paper, the Tucson Weekly's new editor will be my predecessor, one Mr. Dan Gibson. I worked with him during my time as an intern and gleaned as much knowledge of the job as possible from him; as a friend, I have been astounded at the weird range of general trivia he knows. I couldn't be happier for him and for the Weekly—let's just hope he doesn't crowd my space over here with his insistence that we cover Insane Clown Posse as much as possible on We Got Cactus.
"OH. SOUR GRAPES!!!! ... Such a disappointment for the Fridena-ites that they, fortunately, will not have a 'mouth-piece' on the (Pima Community College board of governors) to manipulate. They simply DO NOT understand the nature of our democracy and its inherent diversity of opinion. When such people lose an election ... they cry foul and conspiracy. Their reaction to this election is predictable and laughable."
—TucsonWeekly.com user "Francis" does not hold back his feelings on Richard Fridena's statement following incumbent Marty Cortez's election victory ("Richard Fridena: 'We Must Continue to Insist That [Marty Cortez] and the Other Trustees Represent Our Best Interests,'" The Range, Nov. 14).
On The Range, we told you about a politically charged gun-shop owner in the White Mountains; gave you ideas for alternatives to the Black Friday mess; followed the Tucson Unified School District's closure proceedings; let you know about the brand-new Smashburger; gave you your new Thanksgiving anthem; looked at Fiona Apple's reasoning for not making her South American tour dates; updated you on Mexico's possible name change; took a look at Chef's Kitchen and Catering; and more!
On We Got Cactus, we checked out a LCD Soundsystem/Miles Davis mashup; read a bit about Rage Against the Machine's 20th anniversary of their debut single, "Killing in the Name"; read Big Meridox's explanation of his new album; previewed the Delicate Steve show at Plush; kept up with the ongoing adventures of the Modeens; and asked Julie Reed nine questions, give or take.