As American as Apple Pie and Brawls at Wal-Mart

It’s one of those rare moments when I’m proud to be an American: Contrary to projections that people would stampede any stores open on Thanksgiving, 9 out of 10 respondents to a University of Connecticut poll taken earlier this week said they would not shop on Thanksgiving Day. Almost half — 49 percent said they disapproved of stores opening on the holiday at all, while 37 percent of respondents said they didn’t care. Twenty-percent of people polled even said that they might be less likely in the future to shop at a store that opened on Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving is a holiday that cuts across all kinds of demographic boundaries in America, so it’s no surprise to see that people are wary about the possibility that it could become just another day to go shopping,” UConn poll director Jennifer Necci Dineen told UConn Today.

But now it’s “Black Friday,” and we’re back in the cultural gutter. MSNBC reported that a knife fight over a parking space broke out at a Wal-Mart in West Virginia, a man was shot carrying his new TV home from a store in Vegas and shoppers in Rialto, Calif., brawled over alleged line-cutting in a Wal-Mart. In Orlando, Fla., a man was arrested when he left his baby in his car in a store parking lot.

Shoppers showing their spirit for the season at a –you guessed it — Wal-Mart in Covington, Wash.:

And here’s a poor-quality mash-up of Black Friday shopping scenes that make me so happy that I am home and live nowhere near a Wal-Mart:

Don’t people just buy presents for those in their immediate families these days? Do they have to get something for everyone? I don’t understand why holiday shopping is this multi-week, cut-throat extravaganza. I guess if you have a bunch of kids, they’ll cry and complain if they don’t get a bunch of presents? Reason No. 3,458 why I don’t want children.