Out in the COLD…REALLY???

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By Kenneth Justice

Where have you been Kenneth?” was the first question out of my friend’s mouth when I stopped at the coffee house this morning.

The short answer is that I’ve been sick for the better part of a week; no blog articles, no coffee (only tea for my very sore throat), and stuck in bed for more hours than I care to remember.

It didn’t help my body, that in the midst of being sick it was also Thanksgiving week here in the United States. Not only did I have all of the festivities surrounding this strange holiday, I also made the poor decision of going out on Thursday and standing in the cold to see what deals I could get at Target.

I had spent the better part of two weeks looking at all of the Black Friday (actually Black Thursday) deals that the various retailers would be offering; since I was in the game for buying certain electronic gadgets it was actually Target that was offering the best deal; $100 gift certificates for every gadget I purchased.

So there I was standing in line on Thursday at 5PM in 25 degree weather. I was the seventieth person in line, and while that may have seemed far back; when you consider the fact that there were nearly 700 people behind me, I was feeling pretty good about my chances of getting what I was there to buy.

There’s a weird social comradery that occurs when you stand in the cold with a bunch of stranger; everybody was talking to me. It’s a weird experience since so much of the time strangers ignore each other. The mother and three teenage daughters in front of me were there hoping to buy $500 televisions for only $120, the three computer nerds behind me were hoping to purchase a 60 inch television for $119, the twenty-ish college girl in front of me was hoping to score an Apple I-pad. And while the first ten minutes or so were people talking about what they were hoping to purchase, the conversation soon shifted to people’s lives;

—-) One girl recently broke up with her boyfriend of four years and this would be her first holiday alone

—-) A grandmother was there with her daughter and grandchildren; black Friday has been a holiday tradition they share together for the past twenty years

—-) A guy and girl behind me were clearly into each other but they weren’t officially dating; this experience was for them a bonding experience to help move their relationship to the next level

Humans are strange creatures. We line up in front of a big box store on Thanksgiving at 5PM in the cold. None of us were dressed for such cold weather, usually the temperatures are in the high forties, so most of us were only wearing hoodies and sweatshirts. Thus, for the better part of an hour people were jumping up and down, blowing on their hands, and cuddling close together to stay warm…….all for a few bucks off a couple purchases or for a gift certificate.

Actually, it really wasn’t for the electronics or the deals that we were there. It was because for the hour that we all stood in line, we were connected. We shared an experience with each other, and even if none of us ever see each other again, it is an experience we will all remember.

Sometimes you have to stand in line out in the cold to remember all the things we’ve lost in society.


(Still no coffee for me as my throat is burning like crazy)

Categories: Culture & Society

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39 replies

  1. Hope you get well soon.


  2. Coffee might help your throat (as long as you don’t drink it with sugar and cream)! The warmth soothes the throat. 🙂 Oh, that wasn’t the point of your blog post? Yes, connection is lovely. And I find that most situations like you mentioned spark conversations. It is a bonding experience after all! Something about waiting in long lines brings people together, I think.

  3. You are braver than me. After all the horror stories I’ve heard, I run from Black Friday. However, I will admit that the bonding time with strangers may make the time worthwhile.

  4. I appreciate the connection with you, Kenneth, today.

  5. I rarely am able to ignore those standing in line with me. I love to chat…

  6. I wouldn’t have pegged you for a black Friday shopper, Kenneth. I really liked your perspective about it all… “It was because for the hour that we all stood in line, we were connected. We shared an experience with each other, and even if none of us ever see each other again, it is an experience we will all remember.” Hope you’re feeling much better now and fully recovered from your sore throat. 🙂

  7. While I hate to concede your point, Black Friday being a point of fraternal connection as opposed to crass, cash and carry- I got mine , this piece does invoke romance of the rush to buy. Well done and feel better.

  8. Love your posts. So well written. The cold, however, has effected your writing. Didn’t need the last few lines. The message was clear. And my cynical view of Black Friday has changed. 🙂 Hope you feel better soon.

  9. You are braver and have more stamina than me! LOL! Sorry about your illness. Sometimes I take a spoonful of honey and it makes my sore throat go away. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. I also garggle with warm diluted Hydrogen Peroxide and that helps when the honey doesn’t. (Just be careful not to swallow it. It won’t hurt you, just tastes terrible! Ha!)

  10. Get well soon!

    You’re quite right, standing in the cold is a great way to rediscover that human connection. It also works well in natural disasters, when bridges are closed, trees down in the road. That camaraderie and bonding experience just pops up and suddenly we’re all humans again, acting the way we’re supposed to. LOL, there’s just nothing quite like mutual suffering, even when it’s self inflicted 😉

  11. Sorry about you cold, a real Black Thursday,
    which explain why?.. absence in your blog 😆
    You got to give to get; a connection you’ll never forget. Hope you enjoying your electronic gadget.
    Stay warm, stay inside! 😊

  12. I love those spontaneous connections with strangers. Momentary Friends I call them. I wrote a post about it awhile back. That’s why I like your blog because of your stories about interactions with strangers. Hope you feel better soon. Happy Holidays!

  13. I personally do not shop on busy days. I though do understand the standing in line for a purpose though. I stood in line for the midnight showings of some of my favorite movies. My family does it for certain movies that come out. The reason we do it is not to see the movie but for the experience that we have. Everyone there has something in common. We talk about the movie and other things in the same genre. We get to know others. I can see the movie anytime (even cheaper it a matinee) but as a family we enjoy the time together and the time to be with other humans with similar interest. Knowing that together we are all going to experience something that in reality only a handful of other humans are going to do. It is fun. It is also tiring. 🙂

  14. Our Walmart had extra security, police and firemen on hand because, as every employee kept reminding all of us there, “last year we were the ones on the news for the violence”, but you know, I’ve always found wonderful people partaking in the adventure with me, and while I didn’t get everything on my list while at Walmart, we did hit Target the next and day and scored big! 🙂 Hope you feel better soon!

  15. Sorry to hear you’re ‘Under the Weather’ – hope you get well soon.
    (and hope that you scored some good deals to make that sore throat worth the effort standing in the cold).

  16. Did you get what you were after?

  17. Hope you are feeling better now …c

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