Black Friday Gets Closer And Closer As Stores Greet Mobs On Thursday Night

They’ve taken over the local department store by spreading their seeds like a virulent strain of kudzu. They innocuously tempt from the television, promising great deals on life-altering items like a 96-inch flat screen television, a guitar-playing Tickle Me Elmo and a gold-plated chain bracelet that comes with a variety of gaudy, ridiculously annoying charms. They’ve even made themselves comfortable in the form of asinine ads in your inbox: “Black Friday starts on Thanksgiving!” “Don’t be left out in the cold, get your gold!” and “Get an early start with these spectacular deals!”           

And those, I am saddened to say, are the relatively tame ones.

But there’s something different about the day I like to call “brain fry-away day” this year which really has me questioning the limits of humanity: that stores will open at 8 PM on Thanksgiving Day.

Picture this: a wholesome-looking, J. Crew-outfitted middle-class family bonds all Thanksgiving Day over the creation of some GMO-laden, factory-farmed Butterball turkey and quasi-barbarically stuffing the carcass with twice-steamed rice. They then consume the damned thing amidst prayers of thanks and “mmms” and “ahhs” and exhortations about how delicious the spread was. Then they go watch The Nutcracker together, all Father Knows Best-like.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?

This year, instead, die-hard shoppers will probably pile into the family station wagon, a turkey leg in hand (or in a Ziploc in case they get peckish later) and a soda in the other, a fully charged iPhone with all their digital coupons pre-loaded and ready to go, and gang way to the nearest Wal-Mart in the vicinity, because they simply need to have a PS3 for $150, like their livelihood depends on it.

Considering the earlier and earlier pattern of store openings on Black Friday in recent years, it’s not totally unexpected. Last year, stores started opening at 10 PM on Thanksgiving (which isn’t even Friday anymore), while the years before that, they typically opened at 5 AM on Friday, which was bad enough.

"The name of the game this holiday season is who can do it best," National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis told the Chicago Tribune in a recent interview. "When (early openings) started in 2009, things were a little bit worse off in terms of consumer confidence. At that point it was very necessary for retailers to get out there before anybody else, and that literally meant before midnight."

Nevermind that people have actually died because of rabid, zombie-like, discount-hungry Neanderthals. In 2008, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by a 2,000-man horde of Black Friday shoppers, who didn’t even wait for the store to open—they pushed against the locked polycarbonate sliding doors so hard, it finally gave way, snapping at the hinges. And they started “shopping.”

What kind of world do we live in that would allow and encourage this kind of behavior? Even if you play devil’s advocate and say that it wasn’t the shopper’s fault—it was how irresistible the deals were—you’d still lose, because that just means that Black Friday would be the only day to get items at a reasonable price… so why not offer those prices on other days of the year? Wouldn’t our economy and morale be better off?           

Understandably, store associates are not happy about having to clock in at an hour that should be spent with family and friends (though in all possibility, they can quit—it’s entirely in the right of the stores to open whenever they please), not strangers ready to horde a car full of one-dollar microfiber towels.

Over two-hundred thousand signatures have already been added to a Change.org online petition created by a store associate, urging Target not to open on Thanksgiving night, a move they decided to make after learning of Wal-Mart’s 8 PM opening hour.

Here is an excerpt from the petition letter to Target’s CEO, Gregg W. Steinhafel:

“I’m not complaining about being a minimum wage worker (kudos to her for that!). … How can you expect workers to spend time with family and then stay up all night… You are most likely tucked away in bed while workers are in the stores pushing back a rabid crowd of shoppers trying to get an iPod. A 9 PM opening disgusts me and symbolizes everything that is wrong with this country. The world won’t end if people have wait 7 more hours to buy useless junk that will be outdated in a year anyway.”

Sadly, the petition will in all likelihood do abso-fricking-lutely nothing. Retailers don’t give a damn about values, common courtesy, or family time—all they care about is money. And it’s the willingness of a blind, soulless, materialistic flock of consumerist sheep that makes it all possible.           

According to a news broadcast by CNBC, ten-percent of all holiday shopping is done on Black Friday itself. That amounts to the 226 million shoppers that showed up last year—and the amount of money they will grow higher still—by 4.1%—projected for this year’s debacle.

That’s right, the real culprit is not Wal-Mart, Target, Toys“R”Us or Best Buy—it’s US (double entendre 100% deliberate). We make the madness happen. We are the ones flooding the stores, wreaking both havoc and economic growth upon the nation. We are the ones who will make a mad dash to buy a Wii U for $89, because we can.

But that doesn’t mean we should. 

Gaga and That Thing on Her Head Vogue for ‘Vogue’

Looks like the latest Gaga fashion move is to emulate an Italian Diana Ross: in the new behind-the-scenes fashion video for Vogue, Mother Monster dons an impossibly tall blonde ‘fro while she macks for the cameras. Set to none other than her very own song, “Hair” (how apropos), Gaga puckers her lips, looks super bored as a wind machine blows her false ’do, and shows off some dead foxes on top of her head. Because a soulless star wearing dead animals is always en vogue, right? Check out the video below.

Spice Girls to Reunite, Close Out London Olympics

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want: to see the Spice Girls reunion at the Olympic Closing ceremony! The fab five are officially confirmed to be performing at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, and zig-ah-zig-ahhed onstage during a recent rehearsal at the historic Ford car plant in Dagenham yesterday to prep for their performance.

Mel C originally fueled rumors of a Spice Girls performance at the Olympics earlier this year. “I’d be really upset if the Spice Girls weren’t included in the Olympics, whether it be the opening or closing ceremonies or any other playlists, because I think we absolutely represented Britain in the 90s,” said C, AKA Sporty Spice.

“We literally flew the flag—and Geri even wore it—around the globe. We were proud to be British and to be successful internationally, and we were the last band probably to do that,” said C. “So I think it would be a real shame if we weren’t acknowledged in some way at the Olympics.”

Victoria Beckham had also added to speculation when she said she’d love to do a reunion performance with her fellow Spices. “Who knows, maybe some day we’ll do something else with the Spice Girls. I would love nothing more,” said Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice. “I don’t know about a comeback tour but I loved being back with the girls.”

“There was a lot of fun, we did so much together and we’ll see. If they’re up for something then I certainly am. We are so proud to be English and we are very excited about the Olympics,” said Beckham.

Other stars at the rehearsal included Brian May, the Pet Shop Boys, Jessie J, Annie Lennox, Tinie Tempah, and George Michael, who revealed the news of his performance via Twitter. The ceremony will also feature comedian Russell Brand, British supermodels Kate Moss, Lily Cole, and Naomi Campbell, and possibly Kate Bush. It’s sure to be a bloody good Brit-stravaganza, indeed!

‘90210’ Cast Members Have a High School Reunion for Old Navy

It’s about time Old Navy got rid of those creepy mannequins! For their new fall line, the mega-cheap clothing hawker reinvigorates life into their newest ad campaign with an old recipe–using the original cast of Beverly Hills, 90210.

Featuring Jennie Garth, Jason Priestley, Luke Perry (where has he been?), and Gabrielle Carteris (what, no Donna?), the 30-second shorts introduce the scrappy gang of four as teachers at “Old Navy Funnovations Prep.” If only school was actually this bright, bouncy, and celeb-filled, maybe I wouldn’t have been playing hooky 90% of the time.

The first video is titled “Why Choose?” and has a radiant, barely aged Garth teaching a class about the science of getting just the right fit in jeans (why don’t they offer real classes like that?). She later struts down the hallway with her co-ed entourage and then has the delightful task of choosing between Priestly and Luke, to which she cheekily exclaims, “I choose jeans… all of them.” Ah Donna, how we’ve missed you!

In this second viddy, titled “New Girl,” Jason Priestley introduces a new kid to class, with the premise that she’s not actually a new student, but her fresh-from-China clothes would suggest otherwise. Mmm, how I love the smell of fresh silica!

Finally, in the last short, Priestley demonstrates how to avoid pantsing with a Schoolhouse Rock-esque cartoon clip. The moral of the story: wear a belt and buy some rad cat-head boxers.

Let’s Blow This Hot Dog Stand: Trojan Gives Away Free Vibrators

Sex-starved humans of New York City rejoice: today and tomorrow only, Trojan will be handing out 100% free vibrators to usher in their new products: 5,000 units of the Tri-Phoria (retail value $40) and 5,000 of the Pulse (retail value  $30). Even better: they’ll be dispensing it from oh-so-double-entendre-welcoming hot dog carts, which they’ve renamed “Pleasure Carts,” emblazoned with the orgasmic phrases that scream “Getcha Vibes Here!” and “Relish the moment?” I’ll take two, hold the mustard, please.

Here’s a handy chart that’ll help you find the, um, treasure, courtesy of Gothamist:

Supposedly, the goal behind the 10,000 vibe giveaway is to make the vibrator akin to a hot dog. “What we’re doing is taking something like a hot dog cart that is so everyday and so mainstream and we’re showing people that vibrators are mainstream,” said Bruce Weiss, vice prez of marketing at Trojan. To which I must ask, can I get a dildo with my Mr. Softee vanilla cone? 

Lady Gaga Shows Off New Album Title in Tattoo Form

Always one to eschew traditional mediums in favor of edginess, Lady Gaga decided to ink the title of her new album right onto her wrist, then instagrammed it for the whole world to behold. SO EDGY! I might just die right now, with my paws up.

"New ink new album,” she tweeted last week, along with a Hudson-processed ‘graph.

And just in case her ever-so-intelligent followers didn’t know how to follow proper AP style, she followed up with: "Make sure when writing about my new album/project ARTPOP that you CAPITALIZE the title, it’s all in the details good morning twitter!" 

Yeah, because capitalizing every letter is SO EDGY. The edgy-as-fuck album is expected to drop in late 2012 or early 2013.

‘Magic Mike’-Themed Bar is a Go-Go

Now I can finally properly justify all the time spent perfecting my pitcher’s arm in the junior softball league: a Magic Mike-themed bar will be opening in New Orleans, opened by none other than that luscious piece of man-meat, Channing Tatum.

According to InStyle, the 32-year-old strip-star bought brothel-style pub Saints and Sinners (fitting, no?) along with best friend Keith Kurtz, with plans to renovate it in time for a blowout party in November.

Ladies, get your Benjamins ready, because it’s about to go down-down-down in the Big Easy! This means I’m that much closer to crossing “me as the meat in a Manganiello—McConaughey sandwich” off my bucket list.

US Girls Gymnastics Gets the One Direction Parody Video Treatment

It was bound to happen sooner or later: the NOC just released their own One Direction-inspired parody of the Fab Five from the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. The group had previously parodied Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” with Ryan Lochte (following last week’s video featuring members of the the swimming team).

Titled “What Makes You Flexible,” the video features a balding, geeky middle-aged dude wearing Ray-Ban glasses, jumping around a deserted gym with a guitar, and singing the parodied lyrics. Choice shots of Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney, and Jordyn Wieber are scattered throughout.

Though last time I checked, none of the girls are as short as 4’4’’. Time to fact-check next time, NOC!

Also, I don’t know about you, but watching a grown up dude playing with a purple streamer by himself, sitting in a garden of colorful foam cubes, and going super close up to his slightly creepy face does kind of give my stomach the willies.

Colonel Sanders Wants You to Know That KFC Loves Gays

Fear not chicken lovers: the latest Funny or Die Chick-Fil-A parody sends a message of goodwill to cheap, unhealthy, fastfood-deprived gays, complete with a cheesy harmonica soundtrack and a chicken-slinging John Goodman. “It don’t take a boney-fide Einstein genius to know that I’m an oldy-fashioned sort. But when it comes to the subjuct-ification of marriage rights, I reckon I’m a bit more progressive than my pals down at Chick-Fil-A,” says Sanders.

“Yup, let it be known that Colonel Sanders LOVES the gays. Hell, I might even be gay!”

The Colonel goes on to effuse his undying love for his favorite Bette Midler album, Thighs and Whispers.

To really provide a convincing argument, he promises that he’s not just pandering to get more “gay business.” “Hell, I don’t actually give a shit. Gay or not, you’re all just a bunch of big ol’ money mouths walking around, talking and eating.”

Now that’s more like it: no more beating around the cockamamie bush! Best of all, they’re open on Sundays… and who can beat the portability of a handy, indestructible, grease-shielding bowl?

I’ll always choose you, KFC, for all my midnight hormone-laden chicken cravings from now on, promise.