Friday, November 29, 2013

My Struggles with Black Friday

I'll admit it: I went out at about 5:30 on Thanksgiving Day to grab one specific item from one specific store.

I was also "shopping" throughout Thanksgiving Day and in the days prior on Amazon, which has basically turned the traditional "Cyber Monday" online deals into a "Black Friday week".

And in years past, stores weren't usually open on Thanksgiving. Some may have opened at 10pm or 11pm, but most either did midnight openings and did morning sales on Friday as well.

And in years past, I often went out at 11pm, grabbed a Steak N Shake, and went to a nearby Meijer for midnight sales. I was very careful never to go for the cheap TVs or Blu-Ray players or whatever. I knew what I wanted, and I never spent more than half an hour in the store.

There was no Steak-N-Shake this year, because I didn't go to Meijer, but I went to another store.

A store that is more notorious for having some of the worst Black Friday experiences out there.

A store that, in at least one instance, had a worker trampled by a mob of people. That worker died at a hospital earlier this morning. Several other workers were also treated that day for non-life threatening injuries.

But I didn't have that experience.

In fact, in the several midnight sales I've attended, I've never had that experience.

Everyone was very calm and orderly.

In years past, the Meijer stores are so big, they just put the big deals at stations throughout the store.

Wal-Mart is a bit more cramped, but they did a similar thing.

Kids were playing on their video game consoles or phones. Parents were chatting. I had a book with me, and there were some taking in the sights.

I have to give credit where credit is due: There was a lot more hired security, and at least a handful of Marion County Sheriff's Deputies and IMPD officers throughout the Wal-Mart as well.

Some people might've gotten a bit claustrophobic but that might be the worst experience.

Hats off to the public safety officials locally, and the retail workers, for what has been a safe shopping experience. I'm very glad that our state is showing that it can be done safely, with no one getting hurt.

I know some out there really believe that Thanksgiving should be a day off. But I think it really hasn't been a day off for a lot of people for a long time. There were two or three NFL games on yesterday, and that required a lot of people to be working. Hotels, gas stations, airports, and many other essential services practically have to stay open.

I, as a former hotel worker, understand that some workers like working holidays due to the overtime pay. But I also know that in some cases, especially wit temp agencies, the "choice" to work isn't so much of a choice.

But if a store is being run by ethical people, that there is additional preparations made in terms of staffing and security, and maybe giving the opportunity for some staff to have the day off, I have no qualms about stores opening on Thursday night.

Stay safe out there, and remember, there's always Amazon.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Clerk White to Run for Secretary of State

To nobody's surprise, Marion County Clerk Beth White has set up a website and held a rally announcing that she'll be running for Secretary of State.

Like several of the other state-wide non-Gubernatorial offices, political parties choose their nominees via conventions rather than primaries. There typically aren't too many contested conventions, and White has been making the rounds around the state for some time.

After a rocky first year in office, Clerk White has been running the Clerk's office with great efficiency. The county clerk's duties are very administrative, and honestly, there's a whole lot of them.

As a candidate who ran for office in 2011, I found the election division staffed by professionals. I was never treated any differently just because I was from a minor party. Whenever I've had to talk to a employee from the Clerk's office for any reason, they've been incredibly attentive and helpful. I really can't complain about the job Beth White has done within the office.

There are a few of her votes on the bi-partisan Election Board that I can quibble with. But I'm okay with that if it meant running and modernizing the Secretary of State's office as she has with the Marion County Clerk's office.

The question now is if Beth White can take out incumbent Republican Connie Lawson. Lawson was appointed by then-Governor Mitch Daniels after then-SOS Charlie White was forced out of office due to several felony convictions.

Lawson is a former state Senator, but running a state-wide campaign is a whole different ballgame.

On the other hand, these non-Gubernatorial offices tend to be much closer to baseline votes. People tend to vote their political party affiliation since these campaigns tend to be fairly low profile and candidates usually don't get the big bucks and the media coverage.

It could be an interesting race to watch.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Today, A Very Special Civil Discourse Now

Civil Discourse Now will be broadcasting live from 11am-1pm today at Rehab Bar and Grill at 5135 S Emerson Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46237.

The show's topic will be focused on breast cancer. Among the guests, of sorts, will be my very own mother and sister. My mother, Nancy Stone, is a breast cancer survivor. While I couldn't get the entire family in for the live show, I did pre-record an interview with them earlier in the week.

It was a very different kind of interview because I don't usually interview people I know on a personal level. Most of the interviews I've conducted are people I know in a professional sense in the world of politics, government, or media. It was a difficult interview for me to do, and I kind of took the night off after I did it, but I felt it went well.

On a related matter, I'll be joining Civil Discourse Now on a more regular basis over the next few months. In addition to being a panelist, I'll be doing pre-recorded segments that will air during the live show.

You can tune into Civil Discourse Now via its own Live365 channel and from Indiana Talks. To tune in via your mobile device, just download the Live365 app from your phone/tablet store and point it to 7bitsofinfo.