…at least, that’s what Facebook and other social media sites would have you believe. Conveniently, dozens of your friends and family members have tripped over ISIS’s latest “target list,” and right in the middle of the top 10 targets is your town (or at least the closest metropolitan center)!
We’re all doomed! No. No we’re not. I mean, seriously, folks. You’re going to believe some random image post that came from god knows where that your town is #4 on ISIS’s hit list? Really? Please explain to me the important tactical or emotional reasons why this might be so… and how that same post has different towns listed in the key #4-6 slots depending on who’s sharing it (and from where). You’ll note it’s almost never your town on the #1 slot; it’s also almost never #10. Those are usually places like Boston, New York, Portland, Seattle, Vegas, etc.
There’s an interesting psychology lesson, there; basically, if you saw your town as #1 (and are not from a major metropolitan area or a heavily military or history related zone), you’ll scoff. “My home isn’t that important,” you’d say. If you see it at the bottom, you’ll assume it’s fake either because you tend to assume your home is more important than that, or because, “eh, it’s at the bottom of the list. Nothing to worry about.”
So whatever idiot started this crap, they’ve done an excellent job of promoting panic and stupidity across the internet… which was probably precisely the point.
But there is a grain of truth in that, you know. This coming Friday there will be terrorists let loose upon us all. Vile, filthy, disgusting, obnoxious, rude. Prepared to inflict emotional, mental and possibly physical violence against anyone and anything that stands in their way. They will flood the streets in the early hours, when all sane and law abiding citizens are sleeping off their turkey and egg nog, they will swarm commercial centers designed for the propagation of the almighty dollar and our evil capitalistic system, and they will leave broken hearts, ruined stores, screams and tears behind them.
They will come not to destroy consumerism and capitalism, but to claim they are worshipping it’s highest expression. The almighty sale price. The great god Black Friday.
They’re called shoppers.
They will scream, bitch, moan and treat every human who is not an extension of their family like dogshit to save 5 bucks on a book or video game, or 100 bucks on a television. If they fail to do so due to time or inventory constraints, they will become even more unpleasant. Each and every thing that does not go according to their meticulously planned patterns of attack will be marked as the fault of a fellow shopper or a hapless employee (who, given most retail outlets’ hiring practices, may well be new or almost new, is likely to be an unsure and possibly unstable teenager, and in all likelihood missed Thanksgiving dinner and most of their sleep to be there to service these despicable examples of humanity), a fault which will be punished with extreme prejudice.
This is serious business. People get shoved, screamed at, spat on, shit on. There have been stabbings and shootings. And this is from the folks we assume are civilized, normal human beings. This isn’t junkies, thieves or other criminal elements. This isn’t immigrants. This isn’t radical Muslims pissed off because someone drew a cartoon with someone they regard as important in it. This is your neighbor Bob, your coworker Jane or your cousin Stanley.
I know it won’t change. No business is going to not open up at 1AM (with special sales for those waiting outside since 6PM the previous day, but only for 20 minutes, so go fast, fast, fast, people!). Nowhere is going to chuck the concept of doorbusters or one-day only sales. Nowhere is going to hire armed guards and institute a cattle-processing line to make sure the bastard shoppers browse and complete their transactions in a polite and organized fashion. Nowhere is going to issue it’s employees psychological counseling before and after the sale or give them an extra day off somewhere else to calm down and cope, and they’re not going to arm them with tasers or put them behind auto-cleaning plastic to protect them from the spit, vomit and other substances that will be thrown at them (in fact, more and more, they’re making them interface directly with the customers on the floor, so as to provide “an experience, rather than a shopping trip,” to use the idiot pop terms for it).
So if it’s going to change, it has to be on these terrorists. “We just lay out the buffet. Not our fault the hogs come to it, or go berserk during,” say the owners of the retail outlets and malls. Very well. Then someone needs to teach the hogs to behave themselves.
So, if you’re a potential terrorist, already clipping coupons and preparing for the insanity, do this for me. Me being a 15 year veteran of Black Friday bullshit. Or if not me, then your cousin, your sister, your nephew, your neighbor, who work in this environment.
Behave yourselves. Keep shoving to a minimum. Keep your trap shut, unless something pleasant or inquisitive is coming out of it. Keep your hands to yourself. Do not go armed. If you miss a sale or an item is out, calm down and open the Amazon app on your smartphone. And for god’s sake, don’t ask anyone “Don’t you have some more in the back?” Because there is no magical back room where everything lives. Most places empty out their backrooms and drop it all on the floor, for the feeding frenzy. If it’s in the back, it’s still in their inventory list and they still know they have them.
Base rule? Don’t go out. If you must, act like a decent human being and remember the people out there, in front of and behind the counter, are human beings, too. And see my One True Commandment (Patent Pending) that all religions should go by:
“Don’t be a dick.”