As I write this column on Friday morning, hundreds of thousands of people across this great country are in the thrall of Black Friday bliss, or licking their wounds from shopping battles that started at 5 a.m. or even midnight.

I don't get it.

It's not because I'm male. I know plenty of men who were planning to be the first ones when the doors opened at Home Depot, Kerr's Ace Hardware and Sears waiting to take advantage of mighty sales on driver sets, sanders and power saws.

I spoke with a friend of mine earlier in the week. She had her heart set on buying a computer that went on sale at Walmart at the stroke of midnight. The store was offering only 10 computers at that price. She was determined to be the first to get one. I didn't have the heart to tell her there would likely be 30 other like-minded people waiting in the parking lot that night. I suggested she wear a helmet.

I don't get it.

Another friend of mine sat down at the table with the Fred Meyer advertising inserts, using pen and paper to strategically plan her family's invasion of the store. She would send her son to the electronics department while she marched upstairs to the sock department. Her other son would infiltrate the toy aisles. They planned to regroup in home furnishings before jumping into the fray in sporting goods. Last I heard there were no casualties.

That was not the case at a Walmart in Southern California. According to an Associate Press report Friday morning, 20 people suffered minor injuries after a woman pepper sprayed her follow shoppers Thursday night in what the media is calling "competitive shopping

"Somehow she was trying to use it to gain an upper hand," Abel Parga, a lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department, told the Associated Press.

The woman reportedly used the pepper-spray tactic in different areas of the store to gain quick access to the deals on her list, including an Xbox 360 video console.

At a Walmart in upstate New York, a man was arrested after two women were injured in a fight that broke out.

I don't get it.

The incidents come as a record number of shoppers were expected to head out to stores across the country this weekend to take advantage of discounts of up to 70 percent. For three days starting on Black Friday, 152 million people are expected shop, up about 10 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

The Associated Press reported Friday that about 600 shoppers were in line at a Target store in Brooklyn in New York when it opened at midnight. Nearly 2,000 shoppers wrapped around a Best Buy store in St. Petersburg, Fla. by the time it opened at midnight. Mall of America, the nation's largest mall in North America in Minnesota, had 15,000 shoppers for its midnight opening. And more than 9,000 people were outside the flagship Macy's store in New York's Herald Square at its midnight opening, up from 7,000 a year ago.

There were no reports yet on how many pepper spray canisters were pulled or how many knuckle sandwiches were thrown.


Millions of years of evolution and this is what humans have become?

I don't get it.