Saturday, November 29, 2008

All American Holiday

As I understand it, Black Friday is a day of unrestrained capitalist greed, a day to wake up at 4 am and stampede the greeter at Wal-Mart. Such was not the Black Friday I encountered. At the food court of Valley River, Eugene, I found a warm hearted American holiday sweetened by frozen yogurt and temptations of Cinnabon.

Waking from a tryptophanic turkey coma at 11 am, after nearly 13 hours of sleep, the family convened to discuss the days shopping. Cell phones falling apart, jackets zippers broken, and a host of other small needs criss-crossed the breakfast table airways. Stacks of Consumer Reports ignored, internet consulted, and a phone number called, we settled on going to the Valley River mall. As is usually the case with my family, we managed to buy little, but strangely, we did enjoy our visit.

"All American Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, and Smoothies" was destination of choice. Like most vendors in Valley River, All American is brightly backlit. Brilliantly dressed young people with creamy skin and well kept hair serve with a smile. I went with white chocolate macadamia nut, dutch chocolate, and black berries on top. I was hungry and I was overdressed, dressed to walk around in November temperatures, not season-less mall temperature. My belly met frozen yogurt, and enjoyed it. As to the flavors, I can say that they did taste like macadamia nut white chocolate and dutch chocolate- if these things came from flavor tubes and were made out of sugary-syrupy substances. The blackberries were reddish and sat in a syrup of their own. The overall mixture was both tasty and satisfying. Thank you, All American. We then watched, entranced, the Cinnabon artisans roll dough and sugar. If only the Lipitor salesman had been there too, he could have been handing out free samples.

In the food court people were genuinely enjoying themselves, and not only the usual 15 and 50 age group- whole families filled the food court. Couples and kids young and old forked teriyaki sauce, rice, and meat into grinning mouths. I wonder if the satisfaction of Thanksgiving, that holiday we devote to family, cooking, and sharing, had rolled over into Black Friday, the one we usually give up to greed and capitalism. Perhaps this is the silver lining of the crashing stock market- we can still shop even if we don't have to buy buy buy; we can still stroll through palace-like malls devoted entirely to purchasing power, even if we don't purchase.

For the first time in quite a while, my folks and I walked through the mall as if we were in a mediterranean town, to see people, shops, and to relax. Thank you, All American.

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