Tofurky as the crowning jewel, my wife and I set out for a traditional Thanksgiving evening ritual.
At midnight on Thanksgiving, we found ourselves in a queue line for The Disney Store at the Hamilton Mall, just outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two Disney Store employees were monitoring the flow of customers into the store and pacifying the anxious by passing out printed fliers highlighting special limited-time offers. From behind a cloth-tension line barrier, we observed a mall alive with bustling bodies, each laden with many bagged purchases. In front of us were two women busily discussing their buying strategy and listing the potential recipients of their discounted scores. They also commiserated about the wretched children they left at home and how they toyed with the idea of sleeping in their cars to avoid returning to the afore-mentioned, child-packed abode. Behind us, we overheard several more women having almost the identical conversation. Yet, they were in line, at midnight, on a family holiday, at a store that stocks items targeted to the 2 to 9 year old demographic.
I turned to my wife, a lifelong passionate shopper, and said, "It's midnight. Our son is 23. And we don't even celebrate Christmas. What the fuck are we doing here?"
"Social experiment.", she answered.