More importantly, for Black Friday isn't just about the bargains. For many shoppers, it's just fun to be part of a huge crowd. Those who hit the malls at midnight are driven in part by the same impulse that drives a million people gather in Times Square each New Year's Eve. We humans are pack animals.
Well, at least half of us are. The National Retail Federation predicts that up to 147 million Americans will shop over Thanksgiving weekend. And the half of our population that stays home this weekend will no doubt gape at these frenzied masses in incomprehension. Which is fair enough: We don't have to live alike to love alike.
-- Eoin O'Carroll
Updated 10:37 a.m.
Shoppers who hit the stores on Black Friday are promised great bargains, and, if news reports are any indication, they are also offered something more abstract: the assurance that, by snapping up TVs, video games, and laptops, they are helping the US economy.
In a story that ran on Sunday titled "Will Black Friday save the economy?" CBS MoneyWatch spelled out what's at stake: