They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming./They're just waking up, I know just what they'll do./ Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,/then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, "Boo Hoo.'
That's a sound, said the Grinch, that I simply must hear.
Yesterday, before dawn, when the sensible Whos down in Whoville were still asnooze, the valiant, the thrifty, the brave, the desperate, the greedy, and the addicted to shopping, lined up outside stores and malls across America, visions of bargain-priced laptops and exorbitant but rare Xbox 360s dancing in their heads. At a Wal-Mart near here hundreds gathered behind a rope waiting anxiously until a clerk pronounced the Christmas season underway with, according to one shopper, these festive words:
"On your mark. Get set. Kill each other."
Then, reports Tony Lystra of the Times Herald-Record:
The crowd rushed to the back of the store, hoping to snatch up what customers called a dismally scarce supply of cheap laptops, portable DVD players and cell phones.
Jessica Redner, 31, of Middletown, said she saw several women pushed to the floor.
"You can't stop to help them, because you're the next one down," she said.
As a 300-pound man pinned Redner's small frame against a cash register, employees began screaming expletives at the crowd, she said. And the crowd shouted back at them – and at each other.
Yesterday afternoon, Redner said her arm still bore a scrape from the debacle.
"It's disgusting," she said of her experience.
John Becht, 36, of Mount Hope, was also in the crowd, pinned in a corner. Employees, who looked frightened and bewildered, began hurling DVD players into the crowd, he said.
Somewhere in that crowd was a team of seven women, seasoned shoppers, veterans of many a Black Friday, women who were ready to fight for their bargains like Blondie and Trixie at Tudbury's. They were equipped with walkie-talkies, detailed lists, and a plan that they abandoned when they heard the blood-curdling screams and saw the small appliances begin to fly.
Kristina Wells of the Times Herald-Record was along to tell the tale of a shopping Dunkirk:
Lynn Hayes leaned on her shopping cart – which, of course, had a busted wheel – and watched a packaged Hewlett-Packard laptop computer sail through the air.
Shouts. Screams. Discount-hungry humans reached out for the descending loot, the crowd ebbing and flowing toward the computer box.
"Oh, my God."
Deeply discounted portable DVD/CD players and LCD TVs soon followed as Monroe Wal-Mart employees mounted a countertop and tossed electronic swag into a sea of hands about 5:45 a.m. yesterday.
"This," Hayes said, shaking her head, "is, like, total madness."
Too much even for Hayes of Highland Falls, a seasoned Black Friday buyer who for the past 10 years has led an elite unit of savvy shoppers into bargain battle.
"I'm getting out of this mess," Hayes shouts into a walkie-talkie to her girlfriends fanned out across the discount department store. "I'll be in Orange County Jail if I don't."
"I'm not doing well at all," says Christine Rodriguez, who didn't get the $378 laptop computer she wanted, but didn't really need. "I've never seen it this bad."
Colleen Gilman, sans cart, crosses paths with Hayes and utters: "I got nothing. I'm scared of everyone."
The team rendezvoused at a local diner where they admitted to being discouraged, but not defeated. They'll be back, they vowed, next year.
He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming,/it came just the same...
And the Grinch with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow/stood puzzling and puzzling, "How could it be so?
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!/It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"
He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore/Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store./Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more...