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What's in store on Friday can't top an old country store - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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What's in store on Friday can't top an old country store

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Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:00 am

I’m old enough to remember when times were simpler and an exciting shopping trip was getting to ride with my dad to the country store a couple of miles from our farm. There I might get a small tub of ice cream and a wooden paddle to eat it, a pack of baseball cards or even an RC Cola and some salted peanuts to pour into the bottle before I sampled the treat.

Maybe I’d get a chance once a week to go to the big town, San Angelo, for a trip to the dime store where new marbles and maybe even a new spinning top awaited.

Little did I know that I’d one day be caught up in what is now known as a global economy where you can shop for all sorts of labor-saving gadgets with the click of a mouse.

Back in the good old days, a mouse was a pest. And it still can be when your computer is on the fritz and won’t obey the commands you’re clicking at it.

Anyway, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around something called Black Friday, a day set aside for shopping madness. It’s designed to give the willing combatants a jump on Christmas buying.

Something known as ‘big box" stores are opening at midnight and featuring big specials on items such as GPS devices (whatever happened to navigating by the position of the sun during the day and the stars and constellations at night?), big-screen televisions and all sorts of toys.

All these electronics are mind-blowing for a guy who thought he’d entered the technology age when he got a transistor radio that cost his parents 44 bucks for Christmas one year. Since then he’s learned that you don’t buy the latest editions of anything until the prices have come down.

Anyway, I discovered that Toys "R" Us will give 250,000 free Crayola 64 Boxes with any purchase on Black Friday. Giving them away! Man, that assortment of crayons was a treasure when you’d get a box at the start of school each year. Now they’re just a throw-in.

Anyway, it’s a fact that millions of folks across the country will be lining up in the dark to try to get cut-rate prices on computers, Barbie dolls, all sorts of electric hand tools, computer games, appliances and even vehicles. It’s all part of the push to get the economy jump started again.

And for the folks who can’t stand crowds and who would rather not be trampled in the quest for a good price on a digital camera, some retailers are offering online specials. All you have to do is click around, risk financial ruin from identity theft and sit around watching football while you wait for your bargains to be delivered.

As for me, I think I’ll skip the big event. Maybe I’ll wait until the furor dies down, try to find a Coke or RC Cola in a bottle, splurge on a pack of peanuts and then break out some of those old baseball cards I still have from my trips to the country store. The faces on those cards all have a story to tell. And I don’t know of any store that is running a Black Friday special on great memories.

Odessa, TX

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