On a whim, a buddy of mine and I met up at a local Best Buy for their post-Thanksgiving midnight opening. We got there about half an hour before the doors opened. While we'd expected a line, we didn't expect to see several hundred people in a line a couple of blocks long. Once in line, I started chatting with folks, asking them what they were hoping to get. Answers: A lot of people hoping to get the $200 LCD TV set. Some people mentioned the HTC Thunderbolt (which prompted a discussion of smartphone cost of ownership.) Overall I was quite impressed. The people in the line were well-behaved and good natured, despite the cold, and despite having to wait in line 45 minutes. Once the doors opened, the line moved forward steadily, and I give the BB staff credit for letting people in at a measured pace. There were a couple of cops in front of the store. And the crowd ethic made absolutely certain nobody cut in line. Inside the store wasn't terribly crowded. Busier than a typical day, but nothing compared to the crush you'd experience in a big European city. There were large bins, clearly marked, containing many of the Featured items from the BF advertisement. And there certainly didn't seem to be a shortage of many of them. The Best Buy staff seemed generally good-natured and quite helpful. Maybe by 4 or five in the morning they'd not be so chipper. But still. My buddy and I made our selections, and got in line to check out. Again, the line was long, but moved steadily and fast. There were plenty of competent checkout staff. And since the customers were a) generally pretty young and b) not returning anything - this wasn't surprising. I did notice Best Buy had stocked the checkout area with high-margin "impulse" items, some of which I would pay money NOT to have in my house. I was glad I went, and felt like I'd participated in a cultural event with my fellow tech fans. But there was underlying all this an element of sadness. What have we done to create this? Of all the items on sale in that store, I'd bet virtually none were made in this country. The jobs we've created by this shopping event seem to be of the $8/hour variety that require smart, talented young people give up half their Thanksgiving holidays.