Christmas Dies Hard

Posted On: May 24, 2022   |   Posted By: The Atlantic

We knew the doors were about to open when “Ride of the Valkyries” began to boom over the public-address system. By 4 a.m. on Black Friday in Athens, Georgia, several hundred people had lined up outside Best Buy in the predawn chill, supervised by police straddling motorcycles and ambassadors from a local Chick-fil-A handing out free breakfast biscuits wrapped in foil. Our most dedicated patrons had been sitting outside in folding chairs since the day before. At the front of the line, some people clutched sheets of paper handed out by managers guaranteeing a deeply discounted laptop or camera. (Best Buy devised this ticketing system during my tenure as a salesperson in the mid-2000s to avoid the sort of stampede that makes the news every year.) But many more people had come out in the middle of the night, not to buy a particular product, but to bear witness to the bacchanal of extreme shopping itself and maybe pick up a $5 DVD. I'm still not sure whether, in the Apocalypse Now scene that “Ride of the...

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