16. Black Friday

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It was the morning after Julia's first Thanksgiving in the United States. The night before, she had a huge dinner with her friend Elizabeth's family. Before eating roast turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, each person at the table had to say something they were grateful for. Julia appreciated that she was able to participate in this holiday that recalls the Pilgrims' first harvest after arriving from England a long time ago.

Julia's phone rang at four in the morning. It was Elizabeth. Elizabeth invited Julia to go shopping with her. "We are going to the stores so early?" Julia asked sleepily. Elizabeth explained that the day after Thanksgiving in the United States was called Black Friday. Stores, which held special sales, started very early. "It's the official start of the holiday shopping season," Elizabeth explained.

Julia and Elizabeth were outside the local shopping center by five in the morning. Julia was surprised to see that not only were all the stores open, but they were crowded. Elizabeth told Julia that this was nothing. Some people camped outside the mall all night so that they could be among the first to enter and get extra special deals called "door busters". Many times these "door busters" were electronic items at extremely reduced prices. Often only a small number of these items are made available. Sometimes they are only available to the first 100 people in line.

Julia thought it sounded violent and wondered aloud if people really broke down doors to get into the store. "Sometimes there is a lot of pushing," Elizabeth explained. Some people have even been hurt, or killed, because of physical fights over limited products. At 5 a.m. though, the door busters were gone and the cash registers had long lines. Many shoppers had full shopping carts of presents they intended to give away for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.

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