This Week in the Mercury


Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday The Right Way

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Black Friday sounds to me like hell on earth, and I've never done it, but I think most would agree that the big-box stores are the real danger zones. If you are recovered enough from your food coma that you can bring yourself to pull on some boots and get out there, though, we've rounded up a pretty darn comprehensive list of locally supportive, non-corporate, non-violent ways to get your holiday shopping done in one manic swoop. Heck, there's even one store that's marking the occasion by showing Frederick Wiseman's The Store, a 1983 documentary about the Dallas flagship Nieman Marcus, on loop, with the comment, "Naked capitalism is very close to what we've always heard about the nature of pure evil—it's banal." From a New York Times write-up on the year of its release:

''If you are going to have theories about American society, you've got to look at all aspects of it,'' [Wiseman] said during a recent interview in his Cambridge studio. ''You've got to look at how the images are created that affect people's lives and the choices of consumer goods they buy.''

To this end, ''The Store'' focuses on the institution, which to many, symbolizes Texas prosperity. During the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, Mr. Wiseman's unobtrustive camera zeroed in on virtually every aspect of life within the renowned department store. Among the collage of images: a society matron who spends several days each week in Neiman-Marcus' luxurious dressing rooms trying on various ensembles with the aid of two saleswomen; in the fur salon, a customer wearing a full-length sable coat ponders the purchase of another but only if she can get the same inner lining in the new one; a member of the sales force telephones a customer for whom she is handling the Christmas shopping and reports: ''I don't have the reindeer. But surprise - I do have the angel''; an exercise teacher greets a group of saleswomen and leads them in smile exercises; the expected and countless staff meetings with various executives and staff members, addressing marketing strategies, security, sales techniques and staff morale.

Check the full list out here, and stay tuned for updates on more (ever more) events leading up to the new year over on MOD.

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