Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Why are all those people in line, in the cold?

by Lisa Seiser

December 01, 2011

Not every single week there is a topic that I want to write about in the whole column. Some topics would require too much rambling. However, they are pertinent for a few inches of copy.

In advance, I am sorry Sports Illustrated for stealing one of your note column titles.

Here are some “Things I think, I think?”

Black Friday shopping

As I headed home Thanksgiving night on my favorite road in the city of Lake Geneva — Edwards Boulevard — I couldn’t help pull in at the Best Buy.

It was about 9 p.m. and there were cars parked all the way to the road. Because I drive that stretch a lot, I knew I had never seen that sight before. So, I pulled into the lot to see what was going on. On the Milwaukee television stations, the news folks were talking about people lining up at stores ready to bust in and grab their low-priced loot on Black Friday.

Call me silly, but for some reason I didn’t think of people in the Lake Geneva area doing the same thing. But, they sure were. Apparently, it was that $199.99 deal for a 42-inch Sharp television many had their eyes on. Maybe it was a $39.99 Toshiba Blu-ray Disc player or the $299.99 Samsung laptop computer. But, whatever they were waiting for late Thursday night, there were many people lined up. They sat in lawn chairs covered in blankets, others stood all bundled up in winter coats, hats and gloves.

The line of people moved in front of the store and then around the corner and there were more people walking to get to the line. They still all had another three hours before the doors would open and they would make a mad rush so their materialistic desires would be met.

I can just imagine the scene at midnight. Doors open, people flood in and start running toward the item they wanted. After awhile, if there weren’t enough of the item, there may be people arguing over who got to it first and maybe even some fisticuffs. It could be that’s not the way it is at some stores. But, based on previous tramplings, injuries, arguments, fights and deaths during Black Friday shopping, that picture probably is more typical than it is rare.

That’s why I slept soundly as midnight came and went and stores across the country opened for those shoppers looking for the best deals. I have never stood in line to wait for a store to open on Black Friday or any day in fact. I don’t think any deal is actually worth it, although that Sharp TV was slightly tempting. I guess it’s a sign of our times. Either people are really in need of deals or materialism in this country has run rampant. The answer is probably a lot of both.

Helping is doing something

Earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, I stopped by at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church free Thanksgiving meal. It was their first one and there was no way to know who or how many would show up.

Organizers took fliers to food pantries and handed them out to anyone who was in need of a meal or in need of companionship that day. On Thanksgiving Day, at about 1:30 p.m., I walked in the church gymnasium. All the tables were set up, it was decorated in fall and Thanksgiving colors and there was food everywhere.

There also were disappointed looks on the faces of the volunteers. With high expectations for attendance, 32 turkeys and the fixings for about 300 people was prepped and ready, turnout was low. There had been only a handful of people who had come for the free meal and during the day, the amount of volunteers often far outweighed those who were in need and eating.

But, this group of wonderfully giving people tried all they could to help their community. It may not have helped the number they had hoped, but providing an opportunity is all that we can sometimes do.

I recently read a fiction book about finding a solution to save our civilization. The answer in the end was “Do something.”

These people from the church did something. For that they should be applauded, no matter what the result turned out to be.

Far too many people sit on the sidelines and talk about what they should do or what others should do, but they never make it happen. Being a person of action is the only way to make a difference.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.