Touchscreen smartphone

Oleksiy Mark

As you know, Thanksgiving is an extremely important holiday for retailers because without it, we wouldn’t have the day after Thanksgiving (a.k.a. Black Friday), the single busiest shopping day of the year.

Originally Black Friday was a buyer-driven event, with eager beavers ready to pop up and start checking off items on their gift list. Then one day, it occurred to some savvy retailer that there might be a way to encourage this behavior by offering early-bird specials and items that are in short supply (Yes, we’ll have them eating out of our palms in no time). Of course, why stop there? What if the store opened at 6 a.m.? What about 5? Well, if they’re opening at 5, then we’ll open at 4. And how will stores top themselves in 2011, you ask? This year, Black Friday begins at midnight. Your body won’t have even processed the tryptophan in your turkey yet, and you’ll already have to be ready for battle.

And just what are those indispensable material items that drain almost every ounce of spirituality out of the holidays? This year, we have the Kindle Fire. On a side note, the person these technology companies hire to give catchy little names to their phones and devices is overpaid. The easiest way to describe the Fire is to imagine a tablet and a Kindle having a baby. The technology continues with Garmin GPS, Apple iPad, Logitech webcams, car speakerphones and a mechanical partridge in a pear tree. Then, there’s the streaming player, allowing you to stream to an incompatible device. Unfortunately, in my household, I am the incompatible device.

If your midnight destination is the toy store, you will be clawing through the aisles for a Let’s Rock Elmo. That will be fun to listen to on Christmas morning. Then there are the Lalaloopsy Silly Hair Dolls—rag dolls with bendable hair. If you are considering shelling out $34.99 for this gift, call me. I have a Raggedy Ann and some pipe cleaners I can let go for, say, 10 bucks. The next hot item is the Ninjago Lightening Dragon Battle, a 645-piece Lego kit. May I just say if you have a child or a grandchild with the patience and focus to construct this, you don’t know how lucky you are. In my household, Legos were snacks.

Whatever your wish list, if you plan on braving the crowds and the cold, good luck. Oh and maybe grab a couple of extras for those of us who will be laughed out of the Apple Store on Dec. 24.

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