Happy Civilised Saturday

So you’ve survived Black Friday, but your shopping is still not done. What to do? You could always buy things online like you should have done yesterday because it’s 2015 for Christ’s sake, or you could do whatever it is you do to work up your nerves and then head back out to the stores to try your luck again. But should you decide to brave option two, this time you might find that the atmosphere around the shops is quite a bit different, at least if you live in England and enjoy books.

Over 100 independent bookstores around the country have gotten together to stage what they’re calling Civilised Saturday, an experience completely different from that of Black Friday, an occasion which Alan Staton of the Booksellers Association says is “antithetical” to everything that booksellers stand for. Leave it to a book guy to use a fancy word like antithetical. Let’s get him, fellas! And grab his DVD player while you’re at it.

So what can you expect should you choose to venture out into this strange new world? Food, drink, books and maybe even a wacky competition or two, say organizers.

Civilised Saturday events and offerings will vary from shop to shop, as each has interpreted the theme differently. At Book-ish Bookshop in Crickhowell, customers can sip prosecco and compete in a posture competition, walking down the street with books balanced on their heads.

The Bookshop Kibworth in Leicester is offering a day of relaxation-by-reading. “We’re going to invite people in the shop to take a seat in our specially delivered green velvet armchair, and get them to explain to us what they’re looking for and how they’re feeling,” owner Debbie James told The Guardian. “Then we’ll go about plucking titles off the shelf to bring back for them to look at in the chair. They’ll also be given tea and cakes, and a complimentary hand massage.”
Visitors to the Edinburgh Bookshop can enjoy “genteel” snacks and beverages. At Burway Books, they’ll find mince pies, mulled wine, art, and singing. Wenlock Books in Shropshire is serving afternoon tea.

As please shop in our store gimmicks go, this one’s certainly creative, so points for that. And it’s hard not to get behind something that doesn’t make the human race look like ancient cave people but without the manners, so maybe this just might be worth supporting if you’re in the area.

Black Friday Body Count: Companies Are Starting To Pander To Us, And That’s Ok

Here’s an article discussing the inevitable. Businesses taking advantage of anti-Black Friday sentiment.

I’m fully aware that there are companies that are going to use the public’s growing distaste for the retail holiday and its creep into the real holiday of Thanksgiving as a gimmick to make them appear caring and humane so that we’ll want to spend money with them instead of with the jerks who open when the rest of us are turkeying and footballing, and you know what? I’m fine with that. We all, or at least those among us with any media awareness, know what’s going on here. No business, no matter how principled, doesn’t want us to spend money with them. We know we’re being marketed to. But we also know what Black Friday has become. And sometimes it’s just nice to know that the powers that be, the ones who benefit the most from this shitty spectacle, are listening. If it means that the poor checkout girl at my local Target doesn’t have to deal with three times the normal amount of abuse when she just wants to be home with the kids or that the good sized stock boy doesn’t have to become the improvised security guard that gets killed when the doors fall down, market to me all day long.

Black Friday Body Count: Lol Target

I’m not sure if reporters Hadley Malcolm and Doug Stanglin have something against Target or what, but these are the only mentions of the place in their rather tame roundup of this year’s somewhat tame Black Friday happenings.

In Vauxhall, N.J., the fog-shrouded parking lot outside a Target was a virtual ghost town just after 6 a.m. Friday with less than two dozens cars. Inside, some aisles had more red-garbed store employees than customers.
“We didn’t know if they were open” said Noel Sweeney of Springfield N.J., who has taken a Black Friday jaunt with her cousin, Dana Migliozzi, every year for the past 15 years. “We come for fun,” she said.
But Sweeney said she appreciated the calm after the likely shopping storm the night before when the earliest bargain hunters prowled the stores. “It’s good because they start the night before,” she says, “so by the time we come, the aisles are clear and there are no crowds.”

On Friday, in Salisbury, Del., Mercedes Young and Ian Columna of Bridgeville, Del., were shopping at Target for their 2-year-old daughter. The couple started the night before at the Walmart in Seaford where they found deals on clothes, movies and other items. “It was crazy last night, but today’s not too bad,” Young said.
In a sign of the mixed messages some consumers are sending retailers, Kim Day, of Gloucester, Va., waited a half-hour in line at a Target in Falls Church to buy a Galaxy Note 5 phone, for a penny. How did she spend her time? Going online to dabble on Amazon, buying everything from Mr. Potato Head to a Fit Bit. “I feel fantastic,” she said.

What a burial. It’s the sort of thing that makes you wonder if Target is going to pull out of the U.S. the way it did Canada.

Black Friday Body Count: How To Make Shopping Less Miserable Today, According To Google

This comes my way a little too late to be of much help this year, but if you’re the planning type, it could be good information to keep on hand for 2016.

The people at Google crunched some data as the people at Google are fond of doing, and came up with some advice for taking some of the misery out of doing your Black Friday shopping out in the world. To me this is the most interesting part of Gizmodo’s recap of their findings.

While the popular image of Black Friday is a mob banging on the gates to get into a store at 5AM, Google found that foot traffic actually tends to peak in the afternoon for the majority of stores. 2 to 4pm is the worst time to be out shopping, so it advises being there either super-early or arriving for the evening shift, when most of the pushers and shovers have gone home.

And because many stores now open on Thanksgiving Day, Google says that department stores have seen a huge rise in foot traffic on Thanksgiving Eve–especially between 6-7pm.

The 2 to 4 part seems to somewhat fit what I noticed this year. In years past I’ve been flooded with riot footage at the start of the day, but today it didn’t start trickling in until the afternoon. Granted it takes time for things to start spreading around, but it shows that either more people are opting to stay home or that, as Google is suggesting, the troublemakers aren’t out as early anymore.

And please, stop going out to shop on Thanksgiving. You’re only encouraging them. I know you like electronics, but the slave wage people who work at the department stores like turkey and time off too, you know.

Speaking of electronics, the article also notes that believe it or not, most stores don’t do crazy high traffic on Black Friday. That distinction instead goes to the Saturday before Christmas. The exceptions to this rule are cell phone and electronics stores, which see foot traffic double in the case of electronics and increase by 1.5 times what’s normal the rest of the year for cell shops.

So if Google is correct, what we can take from this is that folks who shop at proper electronics stores may be more civilized than those who search out their games and televisions at Walmart, which isn’t all that surprising once you start poking around the site here for a few minutes and noticing where most of the videos come from.

Black Friday Body Count: A Video Of Videos

Black Friday Total Disaster, Chaos at Walmart

A guy runs through some of the riot videos floating around this year and gives his thoughts. If you know anything about my thoughts, you pretty well know what his are going to be.

As for the clips, we’ve got gems such as people breaking fences, kids having to be rescued from certain doom within crowds of people and even an injured guy being helped out of a store. Yeesh.

Black Friday Body Count: If We Don’t Get The TVs Now, We May Never Watch Anything Again

El Paso Walmart Black Friday Chaos

I’m not sure how many Walmarts there are in El Paso, so this may come from the same place where that guy tried to fight the cops earlier.

I don’t know if the problem is that these people don’t get out but once a year or that things are way different here in Canada, but you can pretty much get a nice TV for cheap 365 days a year anymore, I’ve found.

Black Friday Body Count: Kentucky Mall Brawl

USA: Shoppers brawl in Kentucky as Black Friday chaos begins

Here’s around 30 seconds worth of video from the Kentucky food court fight mentioned earlier.

I could really do without every person who films something being sure to yell to everybody that he’s got it on video, by the way. You can either tell your friends once you turn the camera off or let them be surprised when you send them a link later. Unless it’s an emergency and the fact that you’re shooting is important, just aim your camera and shut the fuck up unless you’re going to provide useful commentary.

Black Friday Body Count: And…Riot!

Black Friday Brawl 2015, crazy guy swings on cop

I knew it was just a matter of time.

The video above was taken at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart, by the way, announced earlier this month that they had plans to make the Black Friday shopping experience simpler for their customers. Good to see that’s working out well.

The New York Daily News seems to have a bit of a round-up going on, so here’s a link to that and here’s a sample of what they’ve found.

At a Louisville mall on Thanksgiving night, shoppers wrestled each other to the ground in a packed food court.
The fracas knocked a woman to the floor as shoppers at Mall St. Matthews gawked at the sight of two unidentified men slapping, punching and tearing at each other’s shirts.
A police officer broke up the fight, as shown in video capturing at least 30 seconds of the melee. It’s unclear who or what sparked the fight or if the assailants will face criminal charges.
At least one participant in the fight was shown being ushered out of the food court by his friends. He made sure to pick up a shopping bag he had dropped on the floor.

In addition, A fight video circulated on social media early Friday showing a scuffle between a group of men at a mall in Florence, Ky.
In both videos, onlookers shouted “World Star,” a reference to a hip hop website that aggregates fight videos into monthly compilations.

Black Friday Body Count: The Police Suck, Walmart Sucks And Losing A Loved One Sucks Most Of All

The New York Daily News recently caught up with the family of Jdimytai Damour, the Walmart worker who was killed in a literal doorbuster back in 2008. Not only do they talk about how much they miss him, but the story then goes on to detail once again just how terrible the people who run Walmart are and the lengths to which they went to wash their hands of the situation. The police don’t come out looking very good either, as in a detail I don’t remember from the time, they left long before things got truly out of hand because handling crowds wasn’t in their job description, they decided. If your police don’t do crowd control, just what the king fuck do they do, exactly?

I know we have a lot of fun with this whole Body Count thing, but if you remember, it was born out of my frustration with the whole stupid exercise. This is a great reminder of not only the senselessness of it all, but of the type of people you’re really supporting with your purchases.

The 6-foot-5 clerk was trying to hold back a throng of some 2,000 early-morning shoppers pushing against the store’s sliding-glass double doors when he was trampled to death.
“We always think about him on Black Friday and what could have been different,” his aunt Margareth Damour told The News this week.”
“Every time I go by the [Walmart’s] door I think about him.”
A worried Walmart supervisor called the Nassau County Police Department after the crowd surged past eight interlocking plastic barriers about three hours before Jdimytai Damour was trampled.

Responding cops used bullhorns to order the crowd back but later left after claiming dealing with the crowd was “not in their job description,” according to court records.
A group of shoppers soon pushed their way past the barriers again.
The store supervisor ordered the bigger staffers like Jdimytai Damour to guard the front door from the frenzied crowd. Right before the store opened at 5 a.m., the doors fell on top of Damour due to the mass of the throng.
“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” Walmart worker Jimmy Overby told the Daily News at the time.
Four other people were injured, including a pregnant woman who said Jdimytai Damour tried to help her before he was trampled.