Friday, November 24, 2017

Fun Friday Facts #122: Black Friday Edition Two, Electric Boogaloo

It’s Day 24 of NaBloPoMo and I almost forgot to write a blog post! So buckle up, guys – this one will be pretty slipshod, as I only have 52 minutes to research and write it.

Thanksgiving is over for another year. We’ve celebrated family, friends, and togetherness; we’ve given thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. And by now, we’ve also participated in that other most American of holiday traditions – trampling a stranger to death as we rush to fistfight another stranger for some slightly-discounted electronics.

I didn’t go Black Friday shopping this year, because I never go Black Friday shopping, although I did consider going to Lowe’s to buy some of the stuff I constantly seem to need to keep this dump I live in from falling down around my head. But I stayed home, because I had heard that West Virginia is the 10th most violent state on Black Friday, and I didn’t want to risk it. I’ve been to most of the states, and I can tell you that West Virginians are hands-down the friendliest in the country. If the friendliest people in the country are among the most willing to bludgeon some rando with a handbag, I think that’s saying something.

I can’t say I participated in Buy Nothing Day, because I bought gas and lunch at McDonald’s, and I also made Jim buy us groceries. We’re going to be married soon so his money is my money now. That’s how it works, right? Buy Nothing Day is a day of international protest against consumerism; it’s held on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the U.S., the UK, Finland, and Sweden, but on the following day in more than 60 other countries. I guess that means I can still have a chance to participate. I’ll probably forget and buy something.

It’s ironic that my future father-in-law was working on unblocking his kitchen sink this morning, because Black Friday is more than just a big shopping day – it’s also the busiest day of the year for American plumbers. According to Roto-Rooter, there’s 47 to 50 percent more business on Black Friday than on other Fridays, and the four-day Thanksgiving weekend sees a 21 percent boost in business for plumbers when compared to other Thursday-to-Sunday periods throughout the year. Chris Rainaldi of Rainaldi Plumbing in central Florida told ABC News, “We work from 7:30 in the morning [with a full schedule] up until 6’o’clock at night.” What’s causing all those plumbing problems? It’s mostly kitchen drains and garbage disposals clogged by Thanksgiving prep and clean-up, but plumbers also have to deal with sewer mains clogged by things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, like turkeys. Kidding, it’s usually cotton balls and tampons and stuff like that.

If you went Black Friday shopping last night, you may, like one of my Facebook friends, have witnessed the very moment when the shops started playing Christmas music. Christmas lights are already burning in many towns and cities, and those lights are collectively bright enough to be seen from space. According to data from NASA and the NOAA, Christmas lights cause some major American cities to glow 20 to 50 percent brighter at night during the Christmas season. Lights start getting brighter on Black Friday, and continue until New Year’s Day. Light intensity increases the most in suburban areas, which can be 30 to 50 percent brighter during the Christmas season, while central urban areas are 20 to 30 percent brighter.