Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Caption This 14

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From a driver caught hitting on a girl to giant neon fairytale flowers, Jersey Joe crowns the winners of Round 14 of Caption This.

THE 411

Name: Caption This

What: online Twitter and Facebook game on @JerseyJoe50’s feed



Keep and eye on my Twitter feed for another edition.  Also, join me for MATCH JERSEY JOE GAME – every Wednesday afternoon.  Let’s have some fun on social media!


[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Alexa’s Valentine’s Day Pick Up Lines

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Alexa, the Amazon Echo device, has a few computerized pickup lines — that may or may not work on your lover this Valentine’s Day.  Can she charm Jersey Joe?

THE 411

What: Alexa love and romance skills

For: skills for Amazon Echo personal assistant smart device

Cost: free


The vast amount of skills that are available for Alexa (the Amazon Echo device) is amazing.  More and more skills are being developed every day.  As more fun skills are available for this smart device, you can look forward to seeing more on my web show!

blog 135 Alexa Valentines Pick Up Lines.00_01_11_22.Still009

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Caption This 4

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Jersey Joe and his social media friends create hilarious captions for funny pictures!  Could you write a funny caption for an IRON COCK?  See what these social media fans have come up with!

THE 411

Name: Caption This

What: online Twitter and Facebook game on @JerseyJoe50’s feed



Keep and eye on my Twitter feed for another edition.  Also, join me for MATCH JERSEY JOE GAME – every Wednesday afternoon.  Let’s have some fun on social media!


[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] The Great Ketchup Challenge: Could You Tell the Difference?

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Heinz, Hunts, or generic?  We all use ketchup, but in a blind taste test can you tell the difference?  I assembled a panel of 9 friends and co-workers and put them to the test.


Ketchup or catsup is a delicious red sauce made primarily of tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar.  Generally used as a condiment for hot foods such as French fries and hamburgers, it can also be used as an ingredient to add additional flavor when cooking.

ketchup taste test 1

The first form of ketchup (I’m not calling it catsup) was originally made in 17th century China, where it was a brine for pickled fish.  The sauce was discovered by English explorers a century later and then made it to the new colonies in the United States.  The Chinese pronounced it kay-chap, but when the English got a hold of the sauce, it was changed to our common word, ketchup.


While there are many variations on the recipe, the American tomato version was first created and published by Sandy Addison in 1801.  The English version used at that time contained anchovies!


As the 19th century went on, the popularity of ketchup skyrocketed.  Being made and sold by local farmers, Americans could eat the sauce without having to worry about the shelf life of tomatoes.


In 1876, the Heinz foods corporation was the first to launch a mass produced ketchup to stores and advertised it as “Blessed relief for mother and other women in the household.”  Years later, after concerns over sodium benzoate, Heinz changed the recipe to remove the controversial preservative.  Ketchup now has an additive, usually xanthan gum, which gives it a thinning property.  The harder you slap or shake the bottle, the more liquidity it will become, allowing it to be removed easily.  Once it is no longer in motion, the ketchup will return to a more solid, thicker state.

ketchup packets

Heinz ketchup main rival in the United States in Hunts.  Hunts started out as the Hunts Bros. Fruit Packing Company of Sebastopol, California in 1888.  It wasn’t until the 1930’s after a company takeover they decided to focus on canned tomato products and prepared tomato sauce.


As with most common household products, most stores have their own private label generic brand products.  For this taste test, I went with Shop-Rite brand generic ketchup, but the store name was not disclosed until after I finished the test.

ketchup taste test 2

I placed a small serving of each in secretly labeled clear plastic cups and then gave one cup each to my panelists.  7 of them tried the ketchup with standard French fries, 1 with sweet potato fries, and 1 ate some off a knife because we ran out of fries.


I asked three simple questions:


  1. Pick your favorite
  2. Tell me which is Heinz, Hunts, and the generic brand
  3. What brand do you usually buy?


They each first picked their favorite.  The brand was not disclosed at this point, but here’s what they chose:

favorite ketchup



Heinz                            3

Hunts                           3

Generic                        3


It was split right down the middle.  Not even the lottery has these kinds of odds!


“I was really stuck between Hunts and generic,” said Mike from Jersey City, New Jersey.


But, when I asked them what brand they usually buy:

 brand usually purchased



Heinz                                   5                      2 incorrect

Hunts                                  0                      2 incorrect

Generic                               3                      1 incorrect

Doesn’t buy ketchup     1


Three of the panelists missed identifying their favorite brand in the blind test.  One Heinz buyer picked generic and one picked Hunts.  One generic buyer picked Heinz as their favorite.  One Hunts buyer picked generic, while the other picked Heinz.  The third Hunts panelist said he usually doesn’t buy ketchup.


That means that 33% of those taking the taste test could not identify their favorite brand.


“Heinz is the gold standard in ketchup,” said Max from Cranford, New Jersey.


When asked to name which brand was which, based on flavor, here’s how many out of the 9 panelists got the brand correct:

correctly identified



Heinz                            5

Hunts                           4

Generic                        5


More than half of the panelists correctly picked both Heinz and the generic brands.  3 panelists got zero correct, while 4 guessed all three correctly.


Many of the comments they made stated that Heinz has a distinct flavor and texture.


My ketchup taste test underway.

The ketchup taste test underway.

“You can tell one is sweeter and one is saltier,” said Jeremy from Bayonne, New Jersey.


“The generic is watered down,” said Michael from Los Angeles, California.


Our test can conclude that the generic brand is pretty darn close to as good as Heinz, the most indefinable product.  When I did the test, I felt that the generic had a very strong flavor and I was surprised when I mixed it up with Hunts in my blind taste test.  I always buy Heinz and was able to easily identify that.  But, the generic really did have a strong flavor and I did like the taste of all three brands.


But, when you look at the ketchup aisle in the store it can be a bit overwhelming.  While there may be only a few select brands to choose from, there are dozens of different varieties.


On some bottles ketchup is labeled as “fancy,” meaning it contains a higher amount of tomatoes and solid concentration, beating FDA standards.


In the Philippines, ketchup is actually made from bananas and has been since World War II, when there was a shortage of tomatoes.  To compete with tomato ketchup, it is dyed red.


The number 57 on a Heinz bottle means nothing.  Founder Henry Heinz simply thought the number was lucky.  There are more than 60 Heinz products on store shelves.

ketchup taste test 3

Should you refrigerate ketchup?  An open bottle will last one month in the cupboard, but an open bottle in the refrigerator will last up to six months.


Most ketchup sold in stores contains a large amount of sugar.  Something may people forget when they are on a sugar restrictive diet.

 ketchup taste test 4

For quick comparison, according to the bottle, 1 tablespoon of ketchup from each the three tested brands contains:




Heinz                                  20

Hunts                                 25

Shop Rite generic         15




Heinz                                  0g

Hunts                                 0g

Shop Rite generic         0g




Heinz                                  4g

Hunts                                 4g

Shop Rite generic         4g

ketchup taste test 5

THE 411


Name: ketchup or catsup


What: tomato based condiment popular in the United States


First recipe in US: 1801


First sold commercially in US: 1876




It’s Heinz all the way for me and I was easily able to identify it during my blind taste test.  (Yes, I admit I got the other two confused…)


However, you may want to try this test yourself and see if you are purchasing what you and your family really like.  You could even collect some sample packets that are given away at restaurants and see which you like best.


Image credit – David Copeland

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Put Your Shopping Carts Back

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After you’ve walked up and down the aisles of your local store, stood in line at the checkout, and the finally make it back to your car… do you ever return your shopping cart to a cart return, or back inside the store?  Meet the baby that does!



Baby Esme Poglein sure knows how to return the shopping cart, right?  This video was given to me by the Poglein family to share.


shoppingcart1One of the earliest designs for a shopping cart was created by Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain in 1937.  He was looking for a way to entice shoppers to buy more groceries and got inspiration from a folding chair in his office.  After tinkering with his design, he was issued a patent from the federal government for his invention in 1940.


Shopping carts were not popular when they were first introduced.  Men found them effeminate and women found them similar to pushing baby carriages.  Goldman had to hire men and women models to demonstrate and greeters to push for their use.  Americans quickly fell in love with the carts.


In 1946, American inventor Orla Watson came up with a way to nest the carts together for easy storage that we use today.  After scoring a patent of his own, Goldman was forced to pay Watson $1, after filing a patent for a redesign that was too similar to Watson’s.  Goldman also worked out a licensing right to allow for the modifications of his design and the mass production of modern shopping carts was on!


While most stores in the United States, offer cart return facilities in the parking lot, many customers choose just to abandon theirs right where they park, and leave.  While this is not illegal, it can lead to accidental dents and scratches to cars, when a driver accidentally hits or brushes up against one.


In Canada and Europe, to encourage customers to return carts to the store, they must place a coin deposit to remove one and get their coin back when the cart is properly return.  Most Aldi supermarket store locations in the US as well as a few Costco warehouse stores, use this system.  In Australia, it’s the law.


Later shopping cart designs feature a small basket toward the rear that can be used to store small items, or for mothers to place small children where they can be supervised while shopping.  However, 24,000 children are injured by carts each year.  To improve child safely, many stores now offer special “kid carts” where the child can be placed in a special set under the cart that is lower to the ground.


In the past few years, Sears department stores have introduced shopping carts and check out lines for customers, which the company says has led to an increase in sales.


An abandoned shopping cart.

An abandoned shopping cart.

While shopping cart designs haven’t changed much in the last 50 years, Target stores have introduced a completely plastic cart, that not only makes it easier for the store to repair and replace parts, but it also won them multiple design awards for innovation.


Depending on where you are, shopping carts can be called a shopping trolley, shopping carriage, wagon, lunga, barrae, or shopping buggy.


A typical cart costs a store $75 – $400, depending on the model.  Remember that, the next time you see one abandoned along the road!


THE 411


Name: shopping carts


What: carts designed to allow shoppers to carry large quantities of goods around the store and to their cars


Introduced: 1937



It drives me nuts seeing tons of abandoned shopping carts littering store parking lots.  My vehicle has been hit and scratched by them again and again.  Stores provide cart returns for a reason.  Be polite to your fellow shoppers and use them!  If Baby Esme can return her cart, I think we all can, too!


Image credits – Sharon Drummond, malavoda, Chris Orbz, Lis Bokt

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] I Ate Inside a Train on the Roof of a New York High Rise

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letrainblue10You take an old fashioned train car, park it on top of a New York high rise and you’ve got one of the city’s best kept secrets that’s been there for decades!


Recently, I’ve undergone a new philosophy – and that’s to break out of my normal pattern and find new places to eat, drink, visit, and dine.  Working in New York City, my options are just about endless.  I’ve ate and drank everywhere from a log cabin, to a trailer home, and now a railroad car parked high in the sky!  We’ve shared many of these experiences in my blog and I’m happy to share another with you!


Le Train Bleu is parked on top of the 6th floor of the Bloomingdale’s flagship department store at 59th St. & Lexington Avenue in New York City.  The restaurant is named after an actual French luxury train that would travel from Calais via Paris to the French Rivera from 1886 – 2003.


Le Train Bleu as seen from an over head view via Google Maps.

Le Train Bleu as seen from an overhead view via Google Maps.

While the restaurant is listed on Bloomingdale’s web page, only a few little signs inside the store actually list its existence.  Zoom in on Google Maps and you will see the strange train parked on the roof of the original building.


The Bloomingdale’s flagship offers multiple dining options on various floors.  The most notable are Magnolia Bakery and a David Burke restaurant, with other side cafes and a Starbucks. But, I was looking to try this unique train car experience.


A co-worker and I ventured over for lunch – and it was that, an adventure!


To access the restaurant, you will want to enter on the Lexington Avenue side and take either the elevator or escalator to the 6th floor.


One of the few signs directing hungry guests to Le Train Bleu.

One of the few signs directing hungry guests to Le Train Bleu.

Upon arriving on floor 6, there are no signs directing to the restaurant.  We had to circle the floor for a few minutes (and this store his HUGE, so it did take a little time) and finally started smelling some yummy food, so we knew we were close.


The stairs up to the platform where Le Train Blue awaits hungry Bloomingdale's customers.

Stairway up to the platform where Le Train Blue awaits hungry Bloomingdale’s New York City shoppers.

Indeed, that yummy was coming from a coffee shop area at the rear of the floor.  But, right near the coffee, is a big sign on the ceiling pointing to a carpeted stairway.  We walked down an aisle of a zillion Keurig K-Cups and arrived at the steps with a sign displaying the menu for Le Train Blue.


Upon climbing the steps, you actually arrive on a train station platform with a waiting train car!


While there are two sets of doors, the restaurant uses one as an entrance and the rear doors as the exit.  So, we followed the paper sign, entered into the train car, and were promptly greeted by a hostess.


This must be a replica train car, but that doesn’t mean that the inspiration for the interior pieces aren’t from a real vintage train.  If they’re not, there’s no way to tell.  The car is wider than a standard train to allow for two rows of tables and a center aisle.  There are doors at both ends, with one leading to the kitchen (the restaurant has its own kitchen up there) and the other leading to the platform exit.


The inside is decorated in early 20th century wood that features two long overhead racks, just like in a passenger train where shoppers can place their coveted Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bags.  The walls are covered in green velvet and the tables with white linens and cloth napkins.


Overhead racks, just like those found in a real train car, are ready to hold shoppers bags at Le Train Blu at Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York City.

Overhead racks, just like those found in a real train cars, are ready to hold shoppers Big Brown Bags at Le Train Blue at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City.

This restaurant is a little upscale, as is the Bloomingdale’s flagship store, but not like dining at the White House.  We were both dressed appropriately in our work clothes.


Could this be outdoor seating?

Could this be outdoor seating?  A spectacular view of New York City, Upper East Side high rise apartment buildings.

We were seated at a table by the window which offers a view of the neighboring high rise apartment buildings and a little roof porch.  Maybe at one point, they offered outdoor seating?


While, the train could hold probably 200+ diners, only one other table was taken at 2pm and with that, only one other group arrived for lunch.  With so few diners, the wait staff was basically waiting around, but was spot on with attention.


The Le Train Bleu menu.

The Le Train Bleu menu.

I feel bad that I don’t remember the name of our server.  But, she promptly greeted us and it felt like she’s worked there for decades.  Her attitude was electric and she was like your New York City mother that makes sure you’re taken good care of.  She loved to joke around and definitely enjoys her job and the unique location.


The lunch menu features everything from simple burgers, crab cakes, and salads to upscale continental cuisine such as steak frites, pecan chicken, grilled sea scallops, and sautéed calf’s liver.  Sounds like the menu on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen TV show, right?


You can also opt for the Prix-Fixe menu which includes an appetizer, entrée, and desert for a flat $42.  They also offer an extensive menu of wines and other limited adult spirits, along with a kids menu.


Butter... Le Train Bleu, style.

Butter… Le Train Bleu, style.

We decided to go al a carte.  I ordered a Caesar salad and the Sirloin burger.  After taking our order, she was right back with a basket that contained several types of bread, and offers us a choice from the basket.  She also gives us a large bowl of butter with the restaurant’s logo embossed in wax paper on the top.  Classy!


The Caesar salad arrived and it was huge!  It featured large slabs of Parmesan cheese with toasted rye bread croutons.  It seems like there was almost a whole head of lettuce in there!


While starting on our appetizers, I noticed our waitress was attentively waiting off to the side and was right there the second we needed anything, including refilling our water.


Le Train Bleu burger.

Le Train Bleu burger.

About 20 minutes later, our burger entrees arrived.  These are not your typical greasy spoon platters.  Each featured bacon, sauteed onions, and Gruyere cheese.  They were accompanied by a generous helping of steak fries and a hidden bonus underneath – beer battered onion rings!


All of the food is hand made to order.  There’s no reheating a food service bag, here.  Those were honestly the best onion rings I ever had.  I could have done with an entire plate of those!


The burger was awesome and cooked to medium-well perfection.  There’s definitely a blend of spices inside and the burgers were huge.


I was barely able to finish the meal, but it was so good, I was disappointed when it was over.


We got the check and were on our way back to work.  Lunch was quick and the whole experience took around 50 minutes.


Bloomingdales opened their first New York City store in 1861.  They moved to the present Upper East Side location in 1886 and eventually grew to take over the entire city block.  The store is huge and encompasses several interconnected buildings, one as high as 10 floors.


The store is a throwback to the grand old days of downtown department stores.  Before malls, stores like these were a destination, where families could shop for hours – hence the need for restaurants.  This location is also known for their over the top Christmas display windows that draw large crowds every year.


There is another unrelated upscale Le Train Bleu restaurant located inside the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris.


Interior of Le Train Bleu, situated on the 6th floor of Bloomingdale's flagship department store, New York City

Interior of Le Train Bleu, situated on the 6th floor of Bloomingdale’s flagship department store, New York City

THE 411


Name: Le Train Bleu


What: restaurant located inside a train car on the 6th floor of Bloomingdale’s flagship department store


Address: 1000 3rd Avenue, New York, New York, 6th floor


Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:30am-5pm; Thursday 10:30am-7pm; Sunday 11:30am-4pm


Website: (New York City, Upper East Side location)




What a great, unique experience!


I asked other New York friends if they knew about this place and only one, did.  This is a great experience for both tourists and locals and I will definitely make another visit.  The hours are limited, so make sure you check their schedule, and remember they are not open late into the evening.


The total cost of my meal: $36.99 and was absolutely worth it for the experience.  If you’re looking for a fun place to splurge in the Big Apple… this is it!

[Desert Droppings] Black Friday stuffs Thanksgivukkah Thursday!

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Once in 70,000 years, it happens (no, not another collision with a meteor carrying extraterrestrial life forms- another?  Yup.  Where do you think quinoa came from?). I’m talking about Hanukkah, which as an ABQ Jew I celebrate.  November  28 is an astronomically rare chance to revel in Hanukkah and Thanksgiving on the same day.  The media, ever ready to wallow in shtick, has dubbed this cosmic convergence “Thanksgivukkah.”  The turkey shaped menorahs, menurkeys, are selling like Sunday morning lox at the deli (if ABQ actually had a deli). Recipes for pumpkin-cranberry latkes are claiming full -page spreads in that fish-wrappers’ friend, The ABQ Journal.
But, all is not gobblers and gelt in the Big Q and elsewhere.  There’s a conspiracy, a plot, a Wall Street ploy to send families scurrying  from Mom’s drumsticks and brisket to the MALLS!
Black Friday store openings have oozed like The Blob onto Thanksgivukkah Thursday. Thanksgivukkah, a once in a lifetime celebration of two legendary (ie not quite believable) events has been transformed into a frenzied feast  – a Two Tums Up experience.

So, with apologies to Hallmark, get ready for my Thanksgivukkah card to you. Imagine on the cover a sweetly smiling multi- generational family lighting Hanukkah candles before a steaming golden-brown turkey.  Holy Norman Rockwell!
Inside the card, in huge Target-red letters, the inscription, NOT THIS YEAR!…and this verse:
Forget over the river and through the woods.
It’s race to the stores and snap up the goods.
Quick! Spin the dreidel,  ’cause you can only play ’till
The Gates of Greed swing wide.
Count your blessings and your coupons
Say a fervent thanks to Groupon,
And shove your way inside.
Inside Walmart! Inside Target!
Anywhere your shopping carts get.
Snuff the candles. Freeze the meal.
Line up for that early bird deal.
Thanksgivukkah comes once an eon,
But who cares, it’s buy 2, free 1!
L’Chaim!  Cheers!  Good will to all!
God Bless America and our local mall!

Happy Thanksgivukkah !
Anyone for leftover latke-encrusted turkey cutlets?

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] How to Beat Black Friday

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blackfriday2You’ve seen the commercials for at least a week, the Sunday paper was jammed full of ads, and now we’re only a few hours away from BLACK FRIDAY.  Well, that’s what it used to be until this year when more and more stores are opening tomorrow to ruin everyone’s Thanksgiving.  It’s not for me – and I’ve got a fool-proof plan that beat’s the system, every year!


Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, where stores have knock out sales to lure in Christmas shoppers that rake in a huge profit.  Most stores open in the very early morning offering blockbuster savings such as a giant 52” HDTV for a mere $99.  Bargain hungry shoppers, most of whom are non-retail workers that are off of work and school for the long holiday weekend, wait in line and rush in as the doors open to score the sale.


The stores have the complete advantage on this day.  Most offer rock bottom prices with very limited quantities that are often gone in mere minutes.  This leads to stampedes, shootings, injuries, and even deaths of both shoppers and workers.



Every year, the stores seem to open earlier and earlier.  A few years ago they opened at 6am, then 4am, and last year – midnight.  Now, many are opening on Thanksgiving Day.  The almighty dollar has finally ruined a great holiday with family and only the stores’ bottom line will win.


Will you see me out and about at Black Friday this year?  I say – screw that!



There’s no way that I am waiting in line in the early morning to cash in on a super limited sale.  There’s no way that I am leaving my grandmother’s Thanksgiving dinner to go buy some electronic device, Thursday evening.  But, I do cash in on these sales all the time and I’ve never once waited in a Black Friday line.  My secret to beating the system – THE INTERNET!


Customers camp out in front of a Minnesota Best Buy store for Black Friday bargains.

Customers camp out in front of a Minnesota Best Buy store for Black Friday bargains.

Stores are so desperate to get your dollar this time of year, that most offer the same or better sales online.  While you can’t go to the store and view the item, just look for those that offer FREE SHIPPING and/or FREE RETURNS.  You’ll be surprised to find that most do.  Many will allow you to return an item to a physical store, if need be.  I always stick with either the traditional big box retailers, small town stores that have been around for a while, or


Buy it online and get it shipped right to your home.  So, you go ahead and stand in line… I’ll b doing my shopping at home, nice and cozy, while watching Star Trek.


Before Black Friday existed, stores would often use big Thanksgiving Day or early Christmas parades to show off their goods and sales.  Most Thanksgiving parades feature Santa at the end, to officially kick off the holiday season.  Another big ad lure was for departments stores to create elaborate holiday window displays with a grand unveiling, but that practice has gone by the wayside, since most mall locations don’t have display windows.


In 1939, order to get an additional week of shopping, President Truman moved up Thanksgiving by a week, but all he really did was tick everyone off leading to that year’s holiday to be called Franksgiving!


Customers volley for a Black Friday sale.

Customers volley for a Black Friday sale.

The name Black Friday was first used to describe the financial crisis of 1869, but the current meaning originated in Philadelphia in the early 1960’s, where it was used to describe the large amounts of pedestrians and vehicle traffic that would clog the downtown streets the day after Thanksgiving.


Retails have an alternate use of the term.  Traditionally, they operated at a loss from January through November and these big after Thanksgiving crowds would be the day their books go “in the black.”


In 2011, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, and a few others opened their stores at midnight for the first time.  The crowds came and last year, Wal-Mart decided to open their stores at 8pm on Thanksgiving and the crowds came.  This year, many more stores and even shopping malls are following suit.


That is except in Massachusetts, where blue laws prohibit stores from opening on Thanksgiving Day.  Applause to you fine people!


While stores and shoppers will no doubt benefit from the extra hours, the big losers are the store employees.  Sure, they may make a few bucks more on this day, but most are forced to leave their family dinners and celebrations to run to work, just to be there for money grubbing shoppers.  Those that volunteer to work win – but most stores require a full staff and extra security for the crowds, so you can bet that many are not so happy to be there.



There are certain jobs where you understand that you will be working on Thanksgiving and that’s usually known well in advance.  Hospital emergency rooms, fireman, cops, TV news, movie theatres, Dallas Cowboys players, etc.  Now, we have to officially add retail workers to the list.


Opening stores a few hours early on Black Friday is one thing as some families actually enjoy getting up early and going together for all the excitement.  But, opening on Thanksgiving is just wrong.  Everyone loses the family time, employees are forced to work.


A few stores have vowed not to open on Thanksgiving, which is now unofficially Black Thursday.  PC Richard & Son, a New York electronics chain, is running ads on how they refuse to open on Thursday so employees can have the day with their families.



Thanks to Black Friday’s success in America, other countries now have Black Friday’s of their own including Canada, United Kingdom, and Mexico.


An entire website,, is devoted to finding the best department store deals for the day to help shoppers plan their store to store shopping sprees.


And since 2005, the biggest day for online shopping is now known as Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Black Friday.  Small Business Saturday has been around the following weekend for the past couple of years, to encourage shoppers to support their local stores.


And by the way, all those long Black Friday lines at the door = long Black Friday lines at the check-out.  Double Whammy!


Black Friday shoppers wait in a long check out line at a Wal-Mart store.

Black Friday shoppers wait in a long check out line at a Wal-Mart store.

THE 411


Name: Black Friday


What: day after Thanksgiving where stores offer mega discounts to lure holiday shoppers


Origination: Philadelphia






Take advantage of the Black Friday deals, but do so from the comfort of your home.  Buy what you need online and look for the stores that offer FREE SHIPPING.


I get all of my Christmas shopping done in about an hour that way.  This is the 21st century, let technology do the work.


When the stores open at 8pm on Thanksgiving, my grandmother will be passing out the wine and baked goods.  Our family’s celebration will keep on going for hours and it certainly not involved standing in line at a department store!  But, it’s up to you to make your own family tradition.


It’s not worth ruining the lives of retail store employees – just to save a buck.  I really think it’s shameful what Black Friday has become and the videos posted in this blog prove that point.


If you do decide to partake in the Black Friday madness, just remember one thing – manners.


Image credits – Michael Muni, Wang Shein, David Haines, Beth Rankin, and laurieofindy