Well, ho, ho, ho and Merry Melee.
Just about the time Modesto starts feeling good about the holiday season, we get a punch to the gut. Or maybe a slap to the ear. Definitely a kick in the ribs.
There’s nothing new to report about the melee that broke out in a crowded Vintage Faire Mall sometime Friday. It came and went like a summer squall during Black Friday – or, if you’re the city of Modesto, Black-Eye Friday.
The cellphone video we posted of the shoving, punching, kicking episode went viral.
Though the participants appear to be very enthusiastically pounding on each other, no police reports were filed, no arrests were made and there were no injuries we could see. From that point of view, it was more like a hockey fight, without the penalty box. And like a hockey fight, our guess is the incident will be largely forgotten as soon as some other slapping match goes viral later this week.
What we hope lingers far longer are all the good feelings shoppers, crafters, cooks, parents, teens and others felt while strolling through downtown Modesto on Saturday night.
Hundreds of people filled downtown – bundled against the damp chill, pushing baby strollers, sipping cider or coffee, oohing and ahhing over hand-made objects and delectable edibles – with nary a cross word to be heard. It was the fourth Mod Shop event, and if you didn’t mind the close proximity of so many mostly smiling happy-to-see-you people, it was a success.
As one shopper told The Bee’s reporter, “it feels good down here.” Said another, “it just has a really good vibe going.”
Actually, the same was entirely true at Vintage Faire Mall for 99.998 percent of the day. The mall was open for probably 20 hours, with thousands of shoppers moving in and out of Modesto’s biggest concentration of retail stores. For 1,198 of those 1,200 minutes, people were happily grabbing up holiday bargains or not-so-happily waiting in line to pay for them; no shoving, no bickering, no nastiness.
Then 2 minutes of mayhem.
It’s impossible to know from the video what caused the dust-up. Some bad turkey? Christmas stockings on too tight? The last Beach Barbie fell into the wrong hands?
But it’s not difficult to know what made the downtown event the following night so successful – smiling customers, music, laughing kids, decorations, free cookies and 90-plus stores and vendors happy to have customers. It all made for many fairly merry moments. The kind of merry moments we hope come to mind whenever people think of Modesto – whether they’re shopping downtown, at the mall, McHenry Village or anywhere else.
While you’re out this Christmas season, try to remember that shopping isn’t a contact sport.