Mall Rats

6:00 AM – Did anyone really leave the house this weekend?

From today's fake news pile:

FORT WORTH, Texas – Shoppers woke up before dawn on Friday, braved frigid weather on Saturday, and stood in long lines all weekend in search of Christmas bargains. But this year the media covering the busier-than-usual shopping days have become the season's biggest downer.

"I can't find a place to park because every TV station in town and about 20 cable news outfits have a satellite truck out here," says Jim Vittles, a local resident shopping at Hulen Hills Mall.

"And I can't stand in line anywhere without a wire service reporter peppering me with questions about how frustrating it is to shop after Thanksgiving," Vittles groused. "Can't I shop at Wal-Mart in my sweats without worrying about appearing on the front page of every newspaper in the free world?"

This year's media were joined by several thousand bloggers, all of whom demanded to be treated as well as the national broadcast media outlets.

"Why shouldn't we get premium parking spaces, catered lunches from retailers, and generously discounted merchandise?" asked Walter Fatwell, editor of Bloggyblogblog.com, a blog that focuses on the prominence of bloggers in the media.

Fatwell created his own controversy after one store let him in early to "cover" the shopping action. The store's manager asked him to leave as shoppers outside pounded on the store's glass doors when they saw Fatwell filling basket after basket with stuff for his family, rather than objectively fiddling with a camera or a notebook.

"That guy was a total fraud. He was just trying to get to the deals before everyone else and he gave us proper bloggers a bad name," said Arnold Sneedle, editor of Bloggyblogblogsucks.com, a site that tracks instances of bloggers posing as real media and then acting like cretins.

"The real sad thing this year is that my store is completely full and sales are way down," says Owen Glen, manager of Bigg's Toy & Hobby in Southlake. "At one point we had a camera crew on every aisle filming shoppers. One producer even paid two patrons to start a shoving match so his station could get a ratings boost."

Of course, not everyone was upset by the odd schedules, the scarce mall parking, or the ever-present media.

"I've been an actress for 11 years and I never get as much major network exposure as I do on the shopping days after Thanksgiving," said Kyla Blossom, from behind the returns counter at Macy's.

"While I'm back here I change outfits a few times a day to keep my look fresh," said Blossom, who plans to send her holiday coverage to reality TV producers in Hollywood. "I spent my lunch hour pretending to shop and I was interviewed and photographed by four different magazine journalists."

What a world. If anyone needs me, I'll be standing outside a dressing room, holding my wife's purse, and waiting for my fifteen minutes to run out.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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