Black Friday Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    On this, my 8th black Friday since my post retirement retail employment, keep this poor benighted Luddite in your thoughts and prayers.

    BTW, leftover soda bread makes excellent French toast. Just saying.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I see a possibility of a horrible, no good, debilitating, 24 hr bout of food poisoning in your near future. You will survive it. Which is more than can be said of working Black Friday.

  3. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Now that you mention it…

    I’m normally the guy who comes in @ 8 for the 9 am opening and works 6 hours, 3 days a week. Today, I’ll work till 10 and get paid for a full shift. Besides, every else is up the road at Best Buy and Walmart.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The law and order party:

    The family farming company of a Republican candidate for the US Senate was found liable on Tuesday in a plot to fix the price of eggs. Rose Acre Farms, which claims to be the second-largest egg producer in the country and until September was chaired by John Rust – now running as a Senate candidate for Indiana – was accused in a civil suit of cutting supply to raise prices.

    Food giants including Kraft, Kellog, General Mills and Nestle filed the suit in Illinois federal court, arguing that between 1999 and 2008 Rose Acre and other producers – Cal-Maine Foods, United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers – “unlawfully agreed to and did engage in a conspiracy to control supply and artificially maintain and increase the price of eggs”.

    Jurors agreed, finding that the egg suppliers had exported eggs to cut supply in the US market, as well as limiting the number of hens, reducing flocks and killing chickens earlier than they usually did.

    Huh. I thought Biden was to blame.*

    I suppose in fairness I should note that, “Rust did cast his ballot as a Republican during the 2016 primary, but voted in Democratic primaries from 2006 and 2012, according to the Indianapolis Star.” tho god only knows why he did so. Maybe his mother’s third cousin was running for mayor. (in STL, if you want to have a say in who is mayor, alderman, etc, you vote in the DEM primary)

    *truth is, the bird flu hit flocks very hard. Mine was thankfully spared.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I was envisioning you as the door greeter at a Walmart. The horror. I’ve got my fingers crossed you survive the gauntlet.

  6. Bill Jempty says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    On this, my 8th black Friday since my post retirement retail employment,

    You aren’t the one I heard about writing their memoirs titled ‘I am a fugitive from a chain store’?

  7. Bill Jempty says:

    Talking about writing, I’m still working on that new book of mine. It is over 170 pages and 53,000 words at present and I’m probably about 2/3 done.

    Another two story ideas* are rolling around in my mind. One is ‘Cor blimey’ a tale about a cockney in Hong Kong set at the time of my current story. The other one is ‘Up Hill’ about an elderly hermit living on a mountain who is acting stranger than ever.

    My imagination is going as crazy as ever, I just wish my typing and mind were in sync. I’m sometimes writing stuff like relative instead of resident, litter instead of little, etc. This same author once wrote elephant instead of elevator. Sometimes I honestly think I’m losing my mental capacities due to my cancer struggle. This writing craziness has been getting increasingly worse the last year.

    Be happy none of you are my editor.

    *- Both short stories to be saved for after I go traditional publishing.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Your wife wants to see you’: 18th-century Spanish letters seized at sea by British published online

    The papers are among documents and artefacts from about 130 Spanish ships captured by the British during the war of Jenkins’ Ear (1739–48) and the war of the Austrian succession (1740–48), the first tranche of which are now available online through the Prize Papers project.

    José Pascual Marco, the Spanish ambassador to the UK, said the papers were invaluable “to understand the world, in its fine grain, in its flesh and blood, in its complexity – and that is what we have in these papers”. They provided, he said, “the human story of the Americas”.

    Between 1652 and 1815, British privateers and naval vessels captured roughly 35,000 ships. They seized hundreds of thousands of papers, including 160,000 undelivered letters in 20 languages that survive to this day as the Prize Papers, which are being digitised in a 20-year joint project between the UK’s National Archives and the University of Oldenburg in Germany.

    The newly released Spanish papers include two beautifully illustrated volumes from the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, a treasure galleon captured on the way from Acapulco to Manila in 1743, whose cargo included a fortune in silver minted as reals and pesos. Others include a dispatch to the governor of the Philippines in 1742, on behalf of King Philip V, instructing him to grant refuge to Danish ships.

    Also, letters from ordinary folks to other ordinary folks. Pretty cool snapshots of life back then.​

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Sad to say, it’s probably just one of the many indignities of advancing age. I saw a neurologist about such maladies about 10 years ago (55 yo) and he said, “I do the same things.”

    OK then.

  10. Thomm says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: honesty, I am looking forward to work today. I am now managing a cigar lounge and expect to be a bit busy, but have more than a few customers taking refuge in our cigar rooms where I get to play host and let my shih Tzu be store mascot.

  11. Kathy says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I’ve two lifelong typing issues.

    One, I hit all the right letters in a word, but not in the correct order. This can and does include the space bar.

    Two, I sometimes start with the wrong letter, thinking I’m hitting the right one. I get abominations like whould instead of should.

    I’d be completely incoherent without a spell checker

  12. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Next year, on this date, please acknowledge Native American Heritage Day, which is today.

    It seems, for many North American indigenous peoples, that Thanksgiving is not a day of celebration.

    Thank you.

    ps. Yeah, I’m a shopping sucker still. Got a great deal on my year’s worth of pet meds from Pet Megastore in Australia. They rock.

  13. CSK says:


    Do they still have greeters at Walmart? I thought they took too much abuse for the practice to continue.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Thomm: Good for you, glad I am that you have a job you enjoy.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yes they do, but their real purpose is to check people’s receipts to make sure all the unbagged items (12/24 packs of soda, etc) are paid for. It’s not just the self checkers they are worried about, it’s easy enough for a cashier with 7 people in line to miss such an item still in the cart because the shopper doesn’t want to lift it and it’s hidden behind the counter/register.

    eta; I have never seen anyone get abusive with them. I’m sure it happens but not in my experience.

  16. Kathy says:

    Part of the space travel problem lies in the dimensions of rockets. For instance the Xalcon 9 is the width it is, because it’s near the maximum that can be towed on a highway by a truck.

    Also, you may have noticed the payload is stored inside a fairing on the nose at the top of the rocket. This is due to aerodynamics, and the fact that the section below carries the engines and fuel. It makes complete sense.

    And yet there were two exceptions. If we picture the Shuttle (properly the orbiter) as payload, that which is intended to reach orbit, then it was carried on the side of the stack. The Soviet’s version of the space shuttle, the Buran, also rode on the side of a rocket, the Energiya.

    Unlike the US design, the Soviet shuttle had no engines. These were located on the rocket’s main body, what corresponded to the fuel tank on the American design. So the Energiya could also launch other payloads, all carried on the side of the stack.

    Alas, they did this only once, and the launch failed to reach orbit. All told, this launch plus the Buran’s sole test flight were the only two uses of this rocket.

    Other reusable orbiters, like Xtarship or the finally-soon-to-be-flown Dream Chaser, ride on top of their stack.

    I wonder, though, whether oversize payloads, not necessarily orbiters, could be launched on the side of a stack designed for the purpose. I suppose it’s not economical enough, or all the private launch companies would be hot on its development.

  17. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, I run “check spelling as I type” in every application that supports it (but not autocorrect). It’s the whole-word substitution that forces me to proofread more than I used to. When my fingers type littoral, correctly spelled, rather than little.

  18. Kathy says:

    Not to derail the swing state thread, I’ll post this here.

    My fantasy result for 2024 is an EC/Popular vote inversion, where Biden wins by a substantial EC margin but loses the Popular vote by small amount, say around 100,000 votes.

    I know this is extremely unlikely (hence my use of the term “fantasy result”), but if it happened, then the Republiqans would denounce the Electoral College as a Satanic, Communist, Socialist, Democratic Tool of the Devil, designed to cheat Adolph trump of another election.

    This might yield reform at last.

  19. CSK says:
  20. Kathy says:


    Hygiene and sanitation are among my minor historical interests.

    They vary a lot over time. My impression is the past stank to high heaven, and BO might have been the least of it. There were open sewers in some places, others where people just threw out wastes on the streets. Lots of animals ambled or lived within villages and cities, and they went where the need struck them.

    Roma famously had public and private baths, which included toilets), and wastes were collected in underground sewers and large amphora collection points. Urine was processed into ammonia, which had many uses. But they still had animals roaming the street, and who know what the poor people had access to, especially before several emperors built the large public baths.

    Animals used for transportation were a big deal. As recently as the late XIX century and the beginning of the XX, NYC had a horse manure problem.

    Our era of widespread sanitation and personal hygiene is very new, and yet many places still lack such amenities.

  21. Jen says:


    There’s another reason for in-store greeters, and it’s psychological. When I worked at a high-end retail store, we were instructed to greet everyone coming into the store. It’s to deter theft. When you make eye contact with a customer, you’ve sent a signal that you’ve noticed them. People are apparently far less likely to pocket something if they feel they’ve been noticed/feel like they are being watched.

  22. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Nah, the office supply superstore was exactly a mile from the house when I hit the post chemo point where I wasn’t sleeping 20 hours a day, and they viewed my retail experience at 7-Eleven 40 years earlier as an asset.

    @Bill Jempty:

    Nope, not mine. Wasn’t that a bio and movie (snarky). Mine’s more likely to be 30 years under the gavel . Don’t mistake me, I loved most days herding attorneys, even though most were closer to Denny Crane than Perry Mason .

  23. CSK says:
  24. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    At the office supply superstore, we don’t deal with too many crankies. However, the downside for me is that the sincere Christmas Carol music channel has loaded (I personally prefer my carols with a hefty dose of snark). The worst by far for me has been Justin Bieber’s cover of Santa baby. It’s just so wrong on so many levels from my perspective.

  25. becca says:

    Well, Thanksgiving with the family was scuttled by Covid-flu-or something like that. Our 6 year old granddaughter came home from kindergarten last Friday with a fever and sore throat, the twelve year old came down with an ear infection. Then, Wednesday their mom got sick. So Mr Becca and I dropped off some treats for the kids and cranberry sauce that afternoon and stopped to get a fresh turkey and a few other things and had a quiet dinner and boat ride by ourselves on Thursday.
    I think I’ll bubble wrap them all until Christmas.

  26. Kathy says:

    Remember the item about how the British king could have elected to be known as King Arthur? It seems King Ra’s Charles Ghoul would have been more appropriate.

  27. Thomm says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Yeah….that is why my Bluetooth speaker stays permanently playing a jazz station out of Pittsburgh in the store.

  28. dazedandconfused says:


    The Covadonga was one of Anson’s victims. The story of Anson’s “successful” expedition is a tale in which “successful” requires ignoring how few of the men he left Spain with made it back…or even as far as Acapulco. Total s$^@ show.

  29. Kathy says:

    I’ve been playing a bit with MS’s Copilot feature on the Edge* browser. I find it useful when I want a question answered, rather than a general search. It cites what links is uses as sources, too.

    I’ve also found the ChatGPT it’s based on useful in one respect. I’ll feed it a story segment and ask it for a summary. It does rather well, and lets me check whether what I wrote conveys what I intended to say (not always a given).

    I may ask it to help draft emails next…

    *BTW, in Europe at least, it will be simple to uninstall Edge from Windows devices. I have occasional use for it, so I won’t remove it. But it’s good to know that after so many years, Netscape has finally won the browser wars.

    Oh, wait.

  30. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Late update on the Black Friday gig. Actually pretty mellow. Steady busy. I left early when backup wandered in. Opening at 9 meant no early horde of idjits. And no big boss, so I kept my earbuds in like a hearing aid and enjoyed jazz and classical music. Worked 4 hours (3 with customers) and got paid for 7. And no Bieber!

  31. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I’ve been tasked with going through my parents’ ranch books and getting them put into Quickbooks. They’ve had a recurring $9.99 charge for Netscape for TWENTY THREE YEARS.

  32. Kathy says:


    I recall Netscape sold as shareware for a price, but I thought it was once and done. That’s how software worked back in the 90s. Of course, you had to buy it all over again when the latest version came out, but these were usually every few years.

    I’d no idea there was a recurring fee.

  33. Jax says:

    @Kathy: My Mom probably just thought it was “part of the internet”. Despite the fact that she pays for broadband wifi now. I am a bad child for never asking about it before, but then again….like….I wasn’t privy to her books, and I never would’ve signed her up for Netscape. 😐

  34. Kathy says:

    Apparently Derek Chauvin was stabbed in prison.

    It goes without saying this is a bad thing, and no one should be stabbed, in prison or out. But then, no one should kill an unarmed man by slowly suffocating him.

  35. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Unfortunately for him, the only person more reviled and likely to die in prison than a pedophile is an incarcerated ex-cop.