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The Great Toys ‘R Us Traffic Jam of Twenty-Ten

IMAGINED COMMUNITY

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This might be an unreasonable question, but I still have to ask it: Is it really necessary to buy your kid a Sing-A-Ma-Jig before the glazed ham has even cleared your colon?

by Scott Daniel // November 29, 2010

Black Friday LineTraffic crept at a snail’s pace for more than a half-hour on the West Baltimore Pike late Thursday evening. We left a family friend’s home in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, at around 8 p.m. after a plentiful Thanksgiving bounty. The trek back home to the other side of the Philadelphia suburbs was long enough by virtue of distance alone. The sluggishness occasioned by the unexpected congestion threatened to keep us on the road until Black Friday.

Surprise bottlenecks like this one often give rise to speculation that ahead lies a gruesome car accident or a set of orange vests and traffic cones. That was certainly my theory. After twenty agonizing minutes trapped in the stock-still Cherokee, slowly, but surely, the gait of the autos ahead hastened. Fifty yards later, we cocked our heads to the right to catch a glimpse of the nuisance fluorescing in the distance. The glowing letters affixed atop the God-forsaken Toys ‘R Us cast the luster of mid-day upon objects below. A throng of vehicles, driven by people we can only assume are physically adults, poured into the parking lot to join scores of others queued single-file in the relentless cold.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Mom whispered in dumbstruck awe.

I was right. It was Thursday, and we were still on the road for the early arrival of Black Friday.

Really? Really.

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