Ahh, Black Friday—the capitalism-sponsored commencement of the American holiday season dedicated to marathon shopping, bargain hunting and trampling people to get into Wal-Mart. But it actually doesn’t start on Friday anymore. It now starts the day before—on Thanksgiving—around 7 p.m., after most families have finished stuffing their pie-holes with turkey and mashed potatoes.
The twisted irony of encouraging competitive shopping just hours after celebrating a tradition (supposedly) rooted in being thankful is a Jedi mind-trick at its finest—as is Thanksgiving, for that matter. Remember: History books left out a few bullet points detailing just how dirty the colonists played the indigenous people. (I must admit, however, I love the fact I get a day off. So, there’s that.)
Based on what we did to the Native Americans, I guess it’s only natural for us Americans to want to beat the shit out of one another in order to ensure a Hatchimal appears under the Christmas tree. Acting like self-centered barbarians is truly the way of the USA—just ask our president!
Thankfully, the Black Friday craze has sparked a boycott movement. Shout out to Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI, for closing all 151 locations on the biggest shopping day of the year. Aside from giving the middle finger to capitalism, and thus, America, shutting down an entire business chain kind of debunks the theory that Black Friday has to be the biggest money-making day for retail businesses.
Rather than flock with the crowds of sheeple to South Coast Plaza, Best Buy or any other big-box outlet the masses flock to hours before doors even open, here are a few tips on how to avoid the soul-crushing chaos.
You can always drink yourself into oblivion, and Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa offers a pretty classy way to do so. It’s hosting a Ribera del Duero & Rueda Tempranillo tasting on Friday. Although Napa’s wine is considered some of the best juice in the world, it’s also way overpriced—don’t fall for the scam! Spanish (as well as French and Italian) wines are some of the BEST wines the Earth’s terrior has to offer. And the Hi-Time staff are among the friendliest groups of people. There’s also an extensive beer and liquor section with pretty much every type of booze your heart could ever desire. If avoiding the stress of Black Friday and the holidays ideally involves alcohol for you, this is the place to get lost (and plastered) in. Just be sure to catch a Lyft out of there—Newport Boulevard is the DUI death trap of Southern California.
If you’re aiming to make healthier choices, hiking on Black Friday is a sure way to make you feel alive—and tack on the good karma, too. Red Rock Canyon in Lake Forest offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in Orange County, with rock formations that resemble the intricate prehistoric landscapes of Joshua Tree, but there’s far more greenery to observe here and no prickly yuccas or Joshuas. If your soul needs a refresher, but you don’t have time to leave OC, this is one of the best local spots to recharge your spirit.
Laughing until you cry is another solid way to avoid the holiday drama. At the Irvine Improv, you can catch Fullerton’s Brad Williams, who is often confused for Wee Man from Jackass. C’mon, people! That is so offensive. You can make it up to him by going all three nights he’ll be in Irvine.
For a night of mystical magic—and wine, head to the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. Illusionist David Minkin from The Magic Castle performs while the audience samples curated treats, tasty hors d’oeuvres, wine and desserts. And maybe—just maybe—if you drink enough wine, click your heels three times, and get sprinkled with a splash of Minkin’s pixie dust, you’ll be transported to an alternate dimension where Black Friday doesn’t exist, Donald Trump is a brand of toilet paper and the world thrives off sustainable energy. . . .
But if the need to shop on Black Friday feels as urgent as having to urinate, there are a few places where you can get your shopping fix and manage the stress of the deranged weekend. There are 17 legal dispensaries in Santa Ana that’ll undoubtedly dole out the greenery for the holiday scenery. Bud and Bloom, 420 Central, Blüm OC, New Generation, MedMen, and Evergreen are among the collectives that not only sell safe, quality cannabis products, but are also known for fantastic deals. Their Black Friday bargains will surely be praise-worthy—just be sure to bring your doctor’s recommendation with you.
Because music and weed go together like Orange Sunshine and Deadheads, you should stop by the Cypress Library Record Club afterward. The fact that record clubs still exist is shocking; society is losing its ability to enjoy anything that doesn’t involve scrolling, swiping or communicating with people via a screen. But here, you’re asked to bring two songs (in any format) to share with the group, then everyone will discuss them. It’s a music nerd’s wet dream. Groups such as this are dying, but it’s imperative to keep them alive so we don’t lose the capacity to synthesize creativity and intelligence. If we do, the human race might as well call it quits, as we’ll be depriving our souls of enrichment.
The world in which we live makes it so difficult to not spend money, but if there’s any day to avoid mindless spending, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. And Cyber Monday, too. . . . Oh, God, don’t get me started on Cyber Monday!