My Thanksgiving meal was still digesting when I rolled out on assignment to cover "Black Friday"--that embarassingly greedy kick-off to the Christmas season. Yeah, I'm not a fan of the general materialistic air that Christmas has these days. Some people say that black friday is really about family and a challenge, as if it is some sort of bond-forming game. I'm not so sure, but I hope its true.
Anyway, it was eye opening to say the least. I was in a Target store at 1:30am, well before the doors opened, receiving a tour of the place and the special efforts to help customers "have the best shopping experience possible". Then later, as in 6:00am, I got to tour the inner belly of the Target Corporation. It is far more technologically advanced than I had realized. They were monitoring every store in the nation through ceiling-mounted cameras placed all over the store. Pretty amazing, and pretty disturbing too. It's not a fault to want more people to shop there, but I'd be lying if I said that the level they take it to does not wierd me out a little.
Go read Ann Zimmerman's account of the event on the WSJ's site: 'Controlled Chaos' Article
Whatever your take on shopping and spending and Target, I hope that the meanings of both Thanksgiving and Christmas are not lost. Neither is about "stuff", but you'd never know it to take a walk through your average US town. Sorry if I'm not feeling the Holiday spirit yet. It takes me a while to warm up.