Bad juju coming, people.
Certainly, the holidays are a time of love and joy and magic, and of peace on earth and goodwill toward all. But before we can experience that most wonderful time of the year, we must first pass through one of those less-wonderful times. Black Friday -- the fateful day that falls on the first Friday after the fourth Thursday in November.
There are only three shopping days left until Black Friday, the closest we in this country come to an actual zombie apocalypse. Think about it: Hordes of sleep-deprived, angry creatures, staggering out in the middle of the night to mass in parking lots and try to force their way inside large, lighted buildings. And each one of these mindless minions would greedily devour your internal organs if you got between them and a really good doorbuster sale item.
In past years, the day-after-Thanksgiving shoptacular has seen more than its share of problems. Fights. Rioting. Even, as I recall, a death or two. Forget that truism about a woman scorned. The full extent of hell's fury is reserved for a serious holiday shopper denied a $39 Blu-ray player after waiting in line outside the store, in the bitter cold, since 3 a.m.
Calls to emergency services and public safety departments around the Top of Utah lead us to believe we are simply not prepared for the carnage ahead. At Ogden Regional Medical Center, as far as they're concerned, Black Friday is just like any other day at the emergency room, according to trauma services director Deanna Wolfe.
"We have not had any casualties from Black Friday," said Wolfe.
And it's not like this is her first rodeo; she's been working emergency rooms for 28 years.
"I think Utah tends to be a little kinder and gentler than other parts of the country," she explained.
Then again, Wolfe admits that maybe the carnage is out there, but they're just not seeing the aftermath at the E.R.
"I honestly think we don't see injuries here because nobody wants to come in and miss out on the deal of a $299 TV that usually sells for $399," Wolfe quipped. "Unless it's something like a broken leg, they're not coming in for bumps and bruises."
A friendly woman at the Layton Police Department said officers don't see an increase in trouble on Black Friday, either. "Nothing more than usual," she said.
Nor are we seeing any increased chatter on the Internet. Black Friday warnings are conspicuously absent from local police and fire websites, and on its home page, the Utah National Guard has no intention of raising its readiness status based on the potential for Retail Armageddon.
Compounding this glaring lack of preparation is the fact that Black Friday no longer falls on an actual Friday; it's been moved up to Thursday. Call it, for want of a better term, Dark-gray Thursday. Folks will be leaving their homes on Thanksgiving afternoon to start their Christmas shopping well before the turkey has been digested. (This inevitable Christmas Creep, by the way, has been shifting the start of our holiday shopping earlier and earlier, to the point where our children -- or perhaps our children's children -- will one day be kicking off the holiday shopping season with the "Moonlight Madness Holiday Sale" on Halloween night.)
The disturbing part is if this Dark-gray Thursday catches on, it's going to upset the careful balance in your average Utah home. Let's face it, on the official list of traditional Thanksgiving Day duties for men and women, the one sex almost always ended up purchasing the food, preparing the meal and cleaning up afterward. The other sex, meanwhile, was tasked with the responsibilities of watching the football games, eating the meal and, in extreme cases, taking a well-deserved nap. (Hey, eating and watching the Dallas Cowboys is hard work.)
But now that the sales are beginning on Thursday afternoon, where does that leave us? I'll tell you where: Immediately after the big meal, the womenfolk are going to announce they're headed for Target, leaving the menfolk behind to -- what? -- just ignore that mess in the kitchen?
Those dishes aren't going to wash themselves, you know.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/mark.saal.