The Washington Post

Happy Black Friday! Watch out for the pepper spray

This man survived, but at what cost? (Jin Lee/BLOOMBERG)

Actual Headline: Police: Woman uses pepper spray on other Black Friday shoppers, 20 injured.

“[Police Lt. Abel Parga] said she was apparently after some electronics and used the pepper spray to keep other shoppers at bay.”

Let’s take this apart for a moment. Does this woman always carry around pepper spray with her, just in case she needs a light snack? (It is, after all, a food product, according to Fox’s Megyn Kelly.) Or did Black Friday roll around and she decided that, if she were to have a chance at the electronics, it would have to come down to an Every Woman For Herself bonanza?

She must have scored well in training.

These Games may seem barbaric to some, but they’re a modern tradition. They get the Shoppers in from all districts of the nation, train and groom them, and then release them on the fateful morning towards the Cornucopia of electronics-related bargains and plush towels. They have been training for this their entire lives.

The shopping is quick and brutal.

You know what to do. Ignore the shiny displays by the cash registers. Run in and find the iPhones, and then look for a source of water. Never turn your back on the adversaries. Arm yourself and protect the spoils with all your might.

I saw a man stepping out of the Apple store, a beatific expression on his face as he cradled a bag containing what I assume was a new iPad. Then he coughed blood and collapsed into my arms. I turned and saw the other Shoppers, weapons at the ready.

There are fisticuffs over in housewares. In the toys section, a man emerges triumphant from a pile of his adversaries clutching a plush angry bird, only to collapse on the point of a woman’s javelin.

“This — is — WALMART!” she bellows.

Ah, Black Friday. Head to Best Buy for the deals, stay for the climactic, gladiatorial battle on Aisle 6.

Ah, Black Friday. The day that reminds us that we are a sane and reasonable nation. Meanwhile, there is audiovisual torment. It is, apparently, time for the early Christmas songs. Justin Bieber’s new holiday album blends uncannily with the screams of the wounded.

Ah, Black Friday. It’s all the fun of living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland devoid of order, combined with all the fun of maybe getting 30 percent off a Blu-Ray player.

If you survive, that is.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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