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Ken Burns' Black Friday

Support for “Batteries Not Included” comes from The Andrew W. Ross Foundation for Chickens That Don't Understand the Music of Paul McCarney, The American Board for the Furtherance of the American Board Tomorrow Today, The Flood Cleaning Frog Team Fund, and Readers Like You. Thank you.

Many people don't know how big an impact the yearly tradition of Black Friday shopping made on the American family in the early 2000s. Houses were divided against each other on which store to go to. Backwater Walmarts all over the south broke out in civil shopping wars, and untold millions was caused in damage. Postal workers developed gangrene after being trapped under mounds of packages for months and months. Recently, a letter from a husband to his wife, written from inside a big box department store, was discovered. We hope in presenting it that it sheds light on what it was like to shop on Black Friday.

My Dearest Delilah,

I don't know when I shall see you again my love. This store has become a battlefield, and I am currently trapped in the garden department. I thought I was prepared this morning when the alarm rang at three AM in order to start the big push, but no one could have readied themselves for something like this. Hordes rush through the doors of the store in a frantic pace. A young stock boy fell, and as I reached to help him, he said “Go on, save yourself.”

I grabbed a cart as quickly as I could, and began going around trying to knock things off the shopping list you gave me in an orderly manner. Order has become a rare commodity in here. The first part of the store to fall was the Electronics Department. A throng stormed it demanding the latest video game systems for their loved ones, and they were told there were none to have. I felt a disturbance, as if a hundred shoppers cried out at once, and then, were silenced.

I made it halfway through the list when I had to stop for a break. I was able to make it to the toy department and got all on the list, but I barely made it out alive. You don't know what hell is until you've seen someone bludgeoned with a Barbie Dream Car. Fittingly, the garden department has become an island of peace. On either side of the aisle I am on, it's a mess. I've seen people being treated for shock, and carried away on stretchers. One man, wrapped up in a blanket, can be heard muttering “Da Horror, Da Horror” over and over.

Nourishment is scarce, I just managed to get in and out of the cafe in time with a super pretzel and a venti latte. The pretzel is nearly gone, and the PA system tells me that the next big push will be in the clothing department. I don't want to go in, but I have to. I'm doing it for you, my love, and for our daughter that really wants that damn One Direction shirt. I may not make it out, but I know that somehow, someway, I will return to you.

All my love,



  1. The year we entered the fray, there were carcasses of buggies left by those unable to carry on that were being picked over by the soul-less hordes. We saw children crying in the pets department unable to comprehend the madness. We made it out that day but have subsequently suffered Post Black Friday Stress Disorder and have difficulty even watching the commercials for it.


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