COLUMN: Thanksgiving sales make me proud to be an American

Aman Ali

For most people, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and eat until you are on the brink of vomiting your eyeballs out.

But for me, Thanksgiving is a time for me to ponder how much I love this country – by hitting up the Thanksgiving sales just to watch people beat each other senselessly. They call it “Black Friday,” or, to be politically correct, “African-American Friday.”

Thursday night, my two cousins, little brother and I huddled over a computer to figure out which store would attract the biggest fights. The plan? To head over to Wal-Mart for their 5 a.m. Thanksgiving sale.

Every year, the Wal-Mart by my family’s house in Columbus attracts the best of the best. In the past, I’ve seen children snatch a DVD player away from an old lady, only to trip over a shelf and drop the DVD player during the getaway.

Some critics may call these sales sad and disgusting. I, on the other hand, call it non-stop entertainment.

I jumped out of bed at 4 a.m. Friday and debriefed my three lieutenants for the chaos we were about to enter. The four of us hopped aboard my Tank of Justice, or as some of my friends call it, a “1997 Chevy Cavalier,” and headed over to the Wal-Mart battleground. My little brother and I stationed ourselves in the electronics aisle, while my two cousins were deployed to the toys section.

I looked at my watch and it was 4:35 a.m. Although the store was allowing customers to come in, Wal-Mart employees were instructed not to open up the pallets of sale items until 5 a.m. Most of the customers were focused on buying a computer on sale for $400. With only 10 computers available and at least 150 people in line for them, I licked my lips in anticipation for the bloodshed to come.

“Excuse me ma’am,” said a frightened Indian lady to an employee handling the crowd. “I’ve been waiting here since midnight for this computer. I’m a little bit scared of all these people, so do you think I can have the computer now?”

Re-read that quote again, except this time let me mention she had a really strong Indian accent. Freaking hilarious, I know.

My watch now read 4:59. The Wal-Mart employees cut open the plastic wrap over the computers. Once the wrapping was off, a voice came over the store’s PA system and said, “Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: Thank you for coming to our Thanksgiving sale today and remember the safety of others.”

But by the time the guy on the speaker said ‘safety,’ he was too late. Civil war in the electronics aisle had already erupted. I chuckled senselessly as mobs of sale-hungry shoppers trampled over two old ladies. All this for 10 computers that weren’t even all that good to begin with.

Within 15 minutes, the frenzy was over. The computers all had become prisoners of war and were carried off to the checkout aisles. The funniest part of this story? The Indian lady didn’t get a computer.

Seeing that Indian woman cry reminded me how good it feels to be an American.

Aman Ali is a senior newspaper journalism major and the assistant Forum page editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].