Calling the Friday Black

Cidu Bill on Nov 25th 2012

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Marla’s supercilious attitude notwithstanding, I place most of the blame on the stores, not the customers, for creating scenarios guaranteed to create chaos. If you airdropped hundred dollar bills over Wrigley Field, and fans trample one another running down to the field to grab them, that’s on you.

Filed in Bill Bickel, Black Friday, Norm Feuti, Retail, comic strips, comics, humor | 32 responses so far

32 Responses to “Calling the Friday Black”

  1. Mike Nov 25th 2012 at 12:36 am 1

    That should be “fewer people”.

  2. MollyJ Nov 25th 2012 at 12:58 am 2

    You can’t blame fans at Wrigley Field for trampling one another to get to a free $100. They’re not used to having any kind of good luck.

  3. Cidu Bill Nov 25th 2012 at 01:08 am 3

    Wow. I can’t believe Marla’s comment annoyed me so much, I missed the “less people” part.

  4. mitch4 Nov 25th 2012 at 02:47 am 4

    If she’s not quite accepting the customers as really persons but rather a mass of crowd, then it kind of makes sense that she uses the “less” construction which sticklers would reserve for pairing with “mass nouns”.

  5. PeterW Nov 25th 2012 at 03:32 am 5

    And the deals overall aren’t nearly as good as the hype. It’s all just a stunt to drive profits.

  6. Terry Nov 25th 2012 at 05:47 am 6

    I’m with Mike. “Fewer.” And the comic’s not funny.

  7. Ooten Aboot Nov 25th 2012 at 08:41 am 7

    I’m sorry to say I think mitch4 #4 has a point. Sorry because the concept of a crowd as a mass of humanity rather than as a group of persons reflects the relentless decline of civility, and therefore of civilization.

  8. Mark M Nov 25th 2012 at 08:41 am 8

    Actually, I think the comic is indulging in a little exaggeration. I decided to venture out early Friday for the first time ever (mostly because I couldn’t sleep) and I didn’t think it was chaotic at all. Maybe times have changed and more people are shopping online now. But, really, drawing a guy flying through the air is a bit over the top.

  9. Jeff S. Nov 25th 2012 at 10:42 am 9

    I agree with Mark M. I work at a LARGE hunting and fishing supply store chain, and we opened at 5 am on Black Friday. I didn’t get to work until 4 pm, but even though there were obviously more shoppers than normal, they were orderly… they just never seemed to stop.

  10. Powers Nov 25th 2012 at 11:07 am 10

    That’s because all the lunatics were out on Thursday.

    Bill, the retailers may not have room to complain, but surely the employees still do? It’s not like it’s /their/ decision to have all these sales.

  11. Elyrest Nov 25th 2012 at 12:11 pm 11

    I’m with Powers. Having worked retail before, and as a manager, the decisions were with the owners and high management. The people who work in the stores don’t make the decisions on when to open and what to put on sale. It’s a chicken and egg thing though with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The retailers say the customers demand it and they have to compete or go out of business. The shoppers say if there’s sales and money to be saved, why not shop.

  12. Morris Keesan Nov 25th 2012 at 12:34 pm 12

    All I can say is that, except for less-frequent-than-usual trips to my local grocery, with bagpipe music in my headphones, I don’t plan to be inside any retail establishment before 2013.

  13. Timothy P. Callahan Nov 25th 2012 at 12:43 pm 13

    I don’t get why they don’t just send people in in groups of say, fifty or so. I went to Target a few years ago during Black Friday before they opened and that’s what they did, it was still crazy but at least it wasn’t Wal-mart crazy!

  14. Cidu Bill Nov 25th 2012 at 01:27 pm 14

    MarkM, here’s the live-action version of the comic.

    And of course I agree that the store personnel are the biggest victims here: they don’t have a choice about showing up, they have to be there several hours earlier than the customers, and they don’t even get hazard pay.

  15. Rainey Nov 25th 2012 at 01:40 pm 15

    Many stores ( and other workplaces ) are guilty of hiring too few people to manage their workload. Once I worked at a convenience store during third shift ( alone ). I did very well when we had the normal number of customers. However, after a while three of our competitors decided to close during the third shift hours. The customers that would have shopped at those stores then shopped at ours. This resulted in customers lining up and coming in every few seconds. Because of our customer supply quadrupling, I couldn’t get near as much work done in the store. I also couldn’t keep the shelves and cooler stocked because customers would keep buying our stuff. The manager got angry with me for getting less work done and not keeping the items stocked and thus fired me. This was the first time I was fired. I had quite a bit of explaining to do during subsequent interviews for another job as to why I got fired from that convenience store. I also learned that being fired from your last job puts one at a disadvantage with landing another job.

  16. Mary in Ohio Nov 25th 2012 at 07:41 pm 16

    Also, this is the last strip of an arc that has gone on all week, so Marla’s resentment has been building all week, and it’s pretty well explained why, for those of you who have never had to work under conditions like Rainey describes. (Yes, I have.)

  17. James Pollock Nov 25th 2012 at 07:43 pm 17

    For the people saying “it isn’t like that”, it’s only been a couple of years since someone was trampled at a Black Friday sale in a Walmart.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html?pagewanted=all

  18. Mark M Nov 25th 2012 at 08:16 pm 18

    Yes, there are horror stories of people getting trampled at WalMart. There are many places you can go on “Black Friday” and 99.9 percent of them are not like the chaos described when someone decides to record a riot going on over a sale item. I went to three different stores and didn’t even have to wait at the checkout for more than a couple minutes at any of them. Really it’s not the apocalypse because of a few idiots that make it to youtube.

  19. James Pollock Nov 25th 2012 at 11:23 pm 19

    I used to work in a place that was literally across the street from the regional mall, and maybe 500 yards from an interstate highway. There were times (not just black Friday, but all of December) that it could take over half an hour to negotiate those 500 yards.

  20. Inkwell Nov 26th 2012 at 02:18 am 20

    I dunno… Just because stores build up hype does not mean you are justified in repeatedly ramming a stranger in your path with a full shopping cart.

    Last year some lady had her cart so full she couldn’t see, and when she ran into me she just kept hitting me, rather than looking over to see what was in her way. I couldn’t move because she pinned me against a shelf. I can’t think of one reason it’s not the individual’s fault that they turn into violent morons when they’re excited.

  21. furrykef Nov 26th 2012 at 03:36 am 21

    Why do we distinguish between “less” and “fewer”, but we don’t distinguish between “more” (as in more people, i.e., countable) and “more” (as in more money, i.e., uncountable)?

  22. Christine Nov 26th 2012 at 11:09 am 22

    I think that Marla’s probably annoyed that the customers went along with the upper management’s stupid idea to have all this hype. All week she’s been annoyed with Grumbel’s plans. If she was more naive she’d have been hoping that the customers would know better than to fall for the hype and just make her life more difficult, but she knew better.

  23. Mike Nov 26th 2012 at 01:45 pm 23

    For me, the day after Thanksgiving is the start of what I call NaJeNoMaMo — national Jewish no-mall month. I don’t go anywhere near a mall or large retail establishment until post-christmas. Instead, I sit home smugly reminding people that I am not going to the mall and only have to buy presents if I choose to. You gotta take what fun you can get.

  24. Mark in Boston Nov 26th 2012 at 07:13 pm 24

    furrykef, I couldn’t care fewer.

  25. Jeff S. Nov 26th 2012 at 07:32 pm 25

    Wow… I’m embarrassed for these local idiots. There was a sale on hoodies that had PINK on the back at the Victoria’s Secret in the Tulsa Woodland Hills Mall…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnu6yZKo7u8

    A fist fight broke out as people stormed the store.

  26. Cidu Bill Nov 26th 2012 at 07:46 pm 26

    I love somebody’s comment on the VS video: “BRRAAAAS GET THE BRAAAAAAASSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!”

  27. Cidu Bill Nov 26th 2012 at 07:49 pm 27

    furrykef, why do we distinguish between “pound” and “pint,” but we don’t distinguish between “ounce” (1/16 of a pound) and “ounce” (1/16 of a pint)?

  28. jp Nov 26th 2012 at 09:26 pm 28

    Bill,

    Because “A pint’s a pound, the world around!”

    -jp

  29. mitch4 Nov 26th 2012 at 11:35 pm 29

    Ach, jp #28 beat me to it!

    I’ll add that the metric equivalent was at one time not only true but true by definition — the standard was in terms of water at 4 degrees Celsius (maximum density).

    There isn’t a nice little rhyme like the pint and pound. “A kilogram’s a liter, what could ever be neater?”. Naah.

  30. Kilby Nov 27th 2012 at 02:35 am 30

    @ jp & mitch4 (28 & 29) - That witty little ditty is only true as long as one maintains an American view of the world as one’s fishbowl.

    Years ago, I heard a complaint about the metric system that a “half liter of beer was just not as satisfying as a proper pint”. I thought this was rather curious, since 500 ml was MORE than the pint with which I was familiar (a US liquid pint is 473 ml). Only years later did I figure out that the (British) writer was referring to a traditional UK pint (568 ml).

  31. Singapore Bill Nov 27th 2012 at 04:13 am 31

    All the grammar foofaraw has me wondering if anyone cares about the story itself. Maybe Marla is the kind of person who would say “less” when it should be “fewer.” Are you denying the author’s right to allow the character to speak in her own voice? Does everyone you know speak grammatically? Why would you expect that this character must?

    I got hired by Best Buy for the Christmas season one year. I worked Boxing Day (the closest Canadian equivalent to this Black Friday foolishness). Awful. 12+ hours on my feet. The customer’s request is ridiculous because I’ll bet literally everyone on staff was working that day, including all us seasonal hires, just like my store on Boxing Day.

  32. Meryl A Nov 29th 2012 at 02:49 am 32

    Never want to buy any of the stuff onsale anyway. Everyone they interviewed on TV seemed to have bought clothes for themselves and “saved $100″. What would they have saved if they hadn’t bought the items? Also people don’t understand that the stores overprice the items so that they can mark them down to what they want to sell them for when they have a sale.

    Having said that, last year husband wanted an electronics item. It was on sale at Best Buy, and though it was not something that they would run out of (or anyone else would want) or was a door buster, he decided that he had to get it Thursday night or they would run out of it. So we waited in line for a couple of hours. (We are night people, so that was no problem.) The storm personnel walked up the line handing out sale circulars and handing out slips for items that were limited so that those in line first would have first chance at the items. Felt like an idiot as we turned down all the slips. When we finally got into the store, we found the item, but could not find a salesperson to give us one so we could buy it. I finally found one and we were out of there. They still had plenty the next day. A month later the mfgr said they would not support it anymore.

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