Die-hard shoppers wait all year for the day after Thanksgiving. They are the ones crawling out of bed in the pre-dawn darkness and frigid temperatures to be part of a retail free-for-all that incites normally rational human beings to act like Vikings raiding a big-box village in a quest to claim a plastic prize at a 50 percent discount. They are the ones who spent Thanksgiving poring over advertising inserts like generals mapping out a battle campaign. They are the ones who will be sound asleep by 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, a sense of accomplishment tucked next to that last Wii game they got to first, with the help of a quick elbow to the ribs of that grabby teenager.
According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 138 million people are planning to hit stores during the holiday weekend, up from 134 million last year.
But on the other end of the spectrum, groups around the world will be using this weekend to protest abject consumerism. In Boise, as well as the rest of the country, Friday, Nov. 26 is Buy Nothing Day, and events will be going on throughout the day in direct contrast to the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
Local event organizers are planning to start their day at 11 a.m. (allowing plenty of sleep-in time) at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, where participants are asked to show up wearing shirts covered in anti-consumerism slogans. The group will then travel via bicycle (while hopefully wearing a few layers of thermal underwear) to Boise Towne Square Mall, where they wander about acting and dressing like "consumer zombies" (and assuredly making fast friends with the mobs of shoppers they're mocking.)
At 2 p.m., the group will bike back to Boise, where they will have a vegan picnic in Julia Davis Park beginning at 3 p.m., followed by zombie tag in BODO.
Those of us who can't commit to either the retail or anti-retail path will be the well-rested ones sipping warm beverages next to the fire and appreciating our still-full bank accounts.