There are two types of people in this world, those that shop on Black Friday and those that don't.
I fall under the shopper category. No, I'm not one of the shoppers who are there to see the doors open at 3 a.m.. I always go just a little later so as to stay safe yet still be there early enough to be entertained. There isn't a more entertaining crowd to watch than shoppers on Black Friday.
Something about amazing deals in the wee hours of the morning morphs perfectly sane people into vicious beasts. Innocent children and elderly women are shoved aside as mobs of shoppers sprint to find their on-sale items. Carts turn into bumper cars and purses into weapons as shoppers frantically run at a full spring down aisles, grabbing anything and everything in sight.
Black Friday is a strong example of Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest. Only the most aggressive shoppers with the sharpest elbows survive. The rest are left with claw marks and bruises with not even a Tickle-Me-Elmo to show for it.
To me, Black Friday signals the beginning of the Christmas holiday, giving the green light to listen to Christmas music, begin Christmas shopping, and start expecting snow. Obviously there are about a million other Americans who think like I do because retail sales skyrocket on Black Friday, sending stores into the black while leaving most of us in the red.
In the spirit of shopping, here's a list so you can find out which type of person you are. You might be a Black Friday shopper if ...
* You return home having spent a small fortune plus next year's tax return.
* Your receipt is longer than a small dog's leash.
* You tag-team for your Black Friday "mission."
* You and your "comrade" use walkie-talkies and code names as you dart about the store.
* You can expertly maneuver three carts at once.
* You purchase an item at the fine jewelry counter that you have no intention of keeping just so you can check out there instead of waiting three hours in the lines at the front of the store.
* You reach the checkout stand out of breath, having no idea what exactly is in your cart.
* You spend Thanksgiving night in a tent outside the doors of Best Buy.
* You take bribes from people wanting you to buy items for them because you're at the front of the line.
* You stash the soon-to-be-on-sale items in a plastic Rubbermaid at the back of the store Thanksgiving Day so they can easily be retrieved and purchased the next morning.
* You become best friends with the person in line in front of you and leave the store knowing their birthday, Social Security number and everything about their children.
* You become emotional when you find out there's a rebate on an item.
* You end up with such a great deal that the cashier owes YOU money.
* You spend more time with the shopping ads than your family on Thanksgiving Day.
* You buy shoes three times your size because "they were such a great deal."
* You leave one of your children in the store in your haste to get to your next stop.
* You refer to Thanksgiving as "Black Friday Eve."
* You have to walk two miles to reach your parked car.
* You cancel Thanksgiving altogether because it's become "too much of a hassle with all the shopping going on the next day."
* Five or more items on this list apply to you.
I guarantee I'll be shopping on Black Friday. And I'll personally attest that if you make the effort to wake up early enough and hit the stores, you'll wish you'd brought your camera to take pictures of the mobs of shoppers. But you never know, the store may be having a sale on cameras -- and you can buy one there!
Allison Foster is a senior at Fremont High School and would love to hear your Black Friday horror stories. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.