These days, the sight of blockbuster lines in the wee hours conjures up images of natural disasters and handouts of coffee and soup. But, a few minutes shy of midnight, there they were in San Francisco, snaked around the corner and waiting Best Buy's bewitching hour.
Come dawn, however, the crowds -- and, we can assume, a good deal of pricey electronics -- were gone. Cruising down San Francisco's main thoroughfare this morning, your humble narrator had remarkably little company. Those out on the town seemed to move a bit aimlessly, and blinked as if they'd emerged from a burrow. Crowds gathered near the Westfield Mall -- naturally -- but nowhere else.
San Francisco is a town well known for both drawing its population from elsewhere -- for years, Sean Elsbernd was the only locally born of the 11 supervisors -- and squiring remarkably few children. As a result, on Thanksgiving San Franciscans go home. And on the day after Thanksgiving, perhaps the least productive non-holiday of the year, the city takes on the ambiance of a quasi ghost town.
We called the city's Department of Human Resources to gauge how many city workers take the week of Thanksgiving off. But, predictably, no one would pick up the phone. That department, like many throughout the city, is closed today.
Throughout the city, SF Weekly was unable to pin down any desk-bound government employees (albeit in a brief binge of around two dozen calls). Voicemail message after voicemail message announced returns to the office on Nov. 26. One hilarious message noted a subsequent return to the office and a retirement the next day. In short, it's impossible to determine, on this day, how many city workers are toiling on this day.
SF Weekly was also unable to determine, in a pinch, what percentage of residents are locally born -- though, anecdotally, it figures to be a low number. (Per the census, around 36 percent of San Franciscans were born overseas; the data does not reveal, however, how many residents were sired in different area codes. We'll work on this).
So, for the San Franciscans left in town to read this, enjoy a near-perfect Northern California day. The city may be eerily uncrowded and no one is going to answer your calls about a pothole. But Muni is running a "weekday non-school schedule" to accommodate Black Friday shoppers. So there's that.