Not for the faint-hearted

Or claustrophobic. Or just extremely irritable.


Macy*s Herald Square a.k.a. Hell On 34th Street

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone — the first Thanksgiving in four years that I wasn’t around for. My most vivid memories of it are in 2005, when my mother flew to Manhattan to meet me during Thanksgiving break, her first time in Manhattan since we moved to Florida eleven years prior. And the one thing I remember the most clearly about that Thanksgiving was Black Friday, when all of America was out risking life and limb for the 80% discounts that were only available on Black Friday and Boxing Day.

The Macy*s Black Friday sale in Herald Square, Midtown Manhattan, surpasses all other sales and flea markets. Security is increased significantly, and there is traffic control within the store, not to mention lines for the escalators and elevators. And even though everyone knows full well that it will be hell on earth, they still go for it, getting in line long before the crack of dawn to ensure they’re among the earliest in.

That was the first and last time I ever went for the Macy*s Black Friday sale. Or any Black Friday sale, for that matter.

A few days ago, I thought of attending the FJ Benjamin Warehouse Clearance that was going to be held this weekend. Not the sale for the common masses that will be held tomorrow and Sunday, but the HSBC Cardmembers’ Preview that’s on today. I had decided I would ask my boss for an hour off, run over to Parkroyal Hotel when the sale began at 10AM, and dash back to the office after seeing what all the brouhaha was about. But then yesterday I was informed that I would have to attend a meeting scheduled for 9:30AM this morning, which promptly threw a wrench in my plans. Which turned out to be a good thing, because a very reliable source attended the sale and barely made it out alive, it was that crowded. “I can so picture you running out of there as soon as you get in!” he later told me.

Needless to say, I no longer felt as though I’d missed out on anything. As much as I had wanted to check out Raoul and Banana Republic (which is only worth it when on sale, even in the U.S.) for clothes for work and Gap for my everyday knock-around T-shirts, I figured fighting the masses wouldn’t make it worth it.

My point to all this is that I hate crowds. Hate them. Loathe them. [Insert synonym here] them. The human traffic during sales is exactly like the vehicular traffic on the streets during the holiday season — teeming and uncivilized. Even the Isetan sale — which incidentally begins today for members and I’m still contemplating attending — walks that extremely fine line I draw between Crowded and Insane. I can’t stand the shoving and elbowing, and that sudden bout of possessiveness that overcomes shoppers when they’re determined to keep others from their own prospective purchases. And everything that looked so appealing before the sale began suddenly looks ratty and knocked around, thus taking all desire for it out of my system.

For now I’ll stick with Gardens, Bangsar Village and Pavilion. Silent and empty though they may be, at least I’ll emerge with all body parts intact.

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