Black Friday morning I stood outside a Staples store waiting for it to open at 6:00 so I could purchase a few things on sale. Fry’s opened earlier, but I deliberately decided not to go there until after the opening rush. I had a list of a few things from the various stores that I wanted, but highest on the list was a $100 shredder on sale for $20. That is how low I have fallen!

Not many years ago, Black Friday was a real adventure with a sheaf of ads and a mapped out course. Several times I arrived home with over $600 worth of rebates to fill out. That might have been the peak of Black Friday sales because for the last few years, I have only noticed some good prices on a few high-end things and a spattering of other bargains.

Or it might be my own perception. After all, I now have at least one of anything you could ask for, and more flat screen televisions that is polite.

Still, there I was in the pre-dawn darkness standing in a cold line outside a store with a few hundred colleagues, who were not talking as much as they used to in the heady old days of bargain hunting camaraderie. Having this time more or less by myself, my mind wandered a bit. First off, I was uncomfortable because it was 36 degrees outside, and I pay good money to live in Southern California were that is not supposed to happen. Long gone are the days when my friends and I in Michigan would walk between classes in jeans, a shirt with light sweater, and wind breaker-and not feel particularly cold. I would think that my discomfort was due to many years of being spoiled by good weather, but later I saw a bulky young man walk out of the store with his goodies. He was wearing shorts and tee, and looked quite comfortable. No, I fear age is more responsible than weather.

So do you agree with me that the Black Friday luster has faded? The hoopla is still there, even greater, but the substance seems to have faded.

Still, I think it is a nice touch that the various store have adopted the civilized habit of passing out vouchers for the most highly desired items to people standing in line in the order they arrive. That avoids certain mayhem at the laptop and television counters. Another nice touch is the line monitor who makes sure the checkout goes smoothly. After standing in the cold for hours and then pushing through to get that special laptop, people get a little testy when they are in a 45 minute wait to check out and someone cuts in front.

What was your experience?