Black Friday, FliteStar, and beyond…

November 28, 2005, 10:34 PM

Let me tell you… the day after Thanksgiving, when Wal-Mart had its blitz sale, was interesting.

First of all, I was somewhat disappointed about the results of my efforts to get coworkers to wear all-black with me. I bombed badly on that front, as I was one of only two people wearing black on that day.

Anyways, though, I worked 4:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon, as scheduled. I arrived in the parking lot at 4:15 in the morning. The lot was packed. Coming into the store, it was full of people, most of whom were kind of hanging around, waiting for the big sale to start at 5:00. Many told me that they’d been in the store since 3 AM waiting.

My exact reaction was to think, that’s hardcore. Me, I’ll happily pay full price and not deal with the crowds and chaos.

At 5:00, our store manager came over the PA to announce the beginning of the sale. At my position on the self-checkouts, I could see straight up one of the main aisles, and my comment to a coworker was, “Look at ’em go!” as people started grabbing all kinds of stuff and loading it up. Also at 5:00, the less-serious among the shoppers flocked into the store. I’m thinking, you’re too late – it’s been picked over!

Otherwise, though, the day went smoothly, and I was glad when 1:30 came around so I could leave. I ended up going up on the Parkway, and rode down to Buena Vista, as I often will do. It’s a nice drive up there. My only complaint is that the restrooms aren’t open during the late fall and winter. I pass two sets of restrooms – the facilities at Humpback Rocks, and the ones at Whetstone Ridge. This time of year, they’re locked up and they even take the “MEN” and “WOMEN” signs. They don’t open up again until April. So we deal.

Then on Wednesday, I’m going to do the Lynchburg and Roanoke loop again. I haven’t been to Lynchburg since April, when Katie and I went and did that photo set. So that will be nice to do again.

Meanwhile, I finally ordered myself a FliteStar safety vest today after work. I originally called Head Lites last Wednesday, but the lady I needed to speak with had already left to start her Thanksgiving. I gave them my information, and they’d call me back. So they called me back, and they got me all set up. Great deal! I’m getting one just like WMATA uses, and it should be here by the end of the week.

And why am I getting it? Not just to have, but for functional reasons as well. First off, for some of the photo sets I’ve done, particularly at night, it’s helpful to have. Right offhand, I can think of the Staunton portion of Downtowns Revisited, where I was not just near the street, but also in the street. Really any of my night photography sets might be good candidates for using the safety vest. Also remember that earlier this year, before Hurricane Katrina came and took a hit on my wallet, I was going to go to Breezewood, Pennsylvania to do a photo set on the old turnpike alignment. I planned on using it there. That trip has been postponed, but is still on my to-do list.

Then I’m also going to keep my FliteStar at work most of the time for when they need me to do carts. We have high-visibility safety vests for use already, but they’re either ill-fitting, or kind of gross – dirty and/or stinky. So I’m getting my own, which no one else will be allowed to soil.

So there you go.

Web site: The "Santa quote" about Santa being a stalker. I get such mileage out of this old quote each Christmas...

Song: I'm currently working on a WMATA Rohr simulator (for BVE) with a friend, and so what I've got going through my head is the recording I have of me making all the station announcements for it. The bloopers, by the way, are funny. Thank goodness I'm not doing them live, as I inadvertently made a few wrong-side door announcements. And opening the doors on the wrong side would drop someone right on the third rail.

Quote: "Hmmmmm..."