Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jaws loves Macy's

Last year Psycho Bambi encountered Black Friday for the first time. How could a grown woman not know the glory depravity that is Black Friday, you ask? By having a zombie-like schedule, that's how. You see, despite being a voracious style maven, my nurse friend Psycho Bambi works twelve hour night shifts and has for years, so she never shops during normal hours. Plus, she doesn't watch television so she misses all the ads.

Imagine her surprise when she stoped at Union Square for a "quick" shop and discovered pandemonium. Did I mention Union Square is rich as Croesus? Yeah. It is a one block plaza that is the heart of shopping in San Francisco. All the usual department stores are there – Macy's, Forever 21, Nordstrom, H&M, etc. – as well as the insane high-end – Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Barneys.

How insane is the shopping? Even the soap at Barneys runs up to $500. Basically, the whole area is a monument to excessive consumption, which I completely love. Unless I actually need something nice to wear. Then, it is a slog of tourists, homeless people, and rich snobs. All of which I want to punch in the face by the time I'm done shopping.

Needless to say, deal hunters descended on this area like maggots on meat on Black Friday, catching Psycho Bambi completely unaware. Imagine you just worked 12 hours at a high stress job where people die on the regular (let's hear it for nurses!). All you want is to buy gifts for your family before you catch your plane home for the holidays. Then you find yourself in a herd of crazed people trying to get high-fashion clothes for 50% off…

The next thing she knew, Psycho Bambi had wandered in front of a line of women waiting for a high end boutique to open. She felt their eyes boring into the back of her head and turned to see them straining at the ropes. She said it was like being a fish who found itself between a pack of ravening sharks and a giant bucket of bloody chum. She leaped out of the way just in time.

sharks like shopping

Once the adrenaline wore off she jumped right in and bought all her presents. Her favorite part? Neiman Marcus' ostentatious lack of sales signs, queues, or bargains of any kind. Basically a big fuck you to the plebeians who need a discount. Heck, she said even Bloomingdale's had early morning sales.

Until I heard this story I always thought of Black Friday as ludicrous and somewhat sad because I saw it through the lens of people being trampled to death or people desperate to save money and dragging their kids to early morning rushes. Psycho Bambi told me another side of it. She said she often feels isolated from the greater world because she works nights. In the winter especially, that can be lonely. But being in the midst of Black Friday she felt like she was part of something communal. The other shopper were generally very nice and everyone talked and laughed and told stories. Apparently, humans can make even gladiatorial consumption into a community.

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  1. I took you for way more cynical. And think that Psycho Bambi has brought us all a new perspective. Even in a crowd of shopping sharks, there's still nice people. Perspective is a gift you give yourself. And Neimans' unapologetic state of exorbitance is awesome. What would it be like to have enough money to not care. Sigh.

    1. Oh I am, but I like shiny happy feelings too. People can be awesome even in stupid situations.

  2. I truly appreciate this blog post.


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