Monday, November 21, 2011

A Black Friday story you might consider

If I'm a reporter covering Black Friday, I could write my script today. It's the same everywhere, local and network, from every reporter. The opening nat sound of the store security chain going up, the hordes rushing in. The soundbites with a few shoppers who scored bargains and a store manager who says business was great. Nat breaks of gifts being scanned at the checkout counter. Shots of people in sleeping bags (who aren't interested in Occupying the Store forever.)

Seriously, do we have to see the same damn package every year?

Many years ago I got sick of doing this story. I mean, if I was going to get up at the crack of dawn (which you all know I hate) I was going to do something fun and different.

Hence the advent of "This season's most obnoxious toys" package.

I got the idea when I was at a dinner party at the home of a couple who had a demon child that simply wouldn't go to bed. Nothing but adults in the house, and this kid kept getting up and annoying people. Finally he started following me around wanting to play a game. I asked him if he wanted to play hide and seek, told him to go hide, and never looked for him. Problem solved.

So it occurred to me the couple that had spawned this hatchling from Hades needed a little payback and a taste of their own medicine. If their kid was gonna annoy others, he might as well annoy his own parents.

We set up a story with one of the biggest toy stores in the area and I asked the manager to round up the noisiest, most obnoxious toys in the store. He didn't disappoint. A mechanical Santa that did nothing but rap. A CD of the chipmunks version of "Achy Breaky Heart." A battery operated chicken that squawked incessantly. You get the idea. It turned out to be a hilarious package. And then it became an annual affair, as viewers got a real kick out of it. I often wonder how many parents received these lovely stocking stuffers and maybe got the idea their kid wasn't Macaulay Culkin.

Anyway, you might float that one by your ND if you want to get out of the usual Black Friday mold.


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