One of the good things about the Thanksgiving holiday is the day *after*- no, not when your family goes back
to the rock from whence they came home; I’m talking about Black Friday. The time of year when you can get a lot of stuff for about half the price- if you’re willing to get up at or not even go to bed after your dinner in order to get the “perfect” gift for someone for Christmas- and save yourself some money- but your trade-off is usually a big headache.
Now, I’m a fair-weather fan of Black Friday personally. I have partaken in the
insanity event for a few years now; but only to buy a single item each time later in the day- a bigger ticket item that we’ve been wanting, but not willing to spend the money (okay, I’m a tightwad with money, but I figure a good deal isn’t worth passing up, right?). This year was different. I had a total mission, due to money being scarce and not wanting for my kids to have a crappy bleak Christmas. I had a plan. I mapped out which stores had the #1 item on Cutie and Junior’s list- and was prepared to hit the stores (because of course they are at different places and across town from each other) and brave the crowds to get the item for them. Lucky me, Junior’s gift store opened their doors at 10 pm Thursday night. Sweet! I don’t have to cut into my beauty sleep to get it by getting up at 2 am. Cutie’s store however didn’t start their sale until 5 am Friday morning. Oh well, at least I should get about 6 hours of sleep, and who am I going to impress with my sleep pants and slippers at 5 am? So, the plan was set and I was ready.
Since the sale started at 10 pm, I was going to get there around 8pm. I figured 2 hours of waiting in the parking lot is *more* than enough time to wait sipping my coffee to get his gift. Like I said, I’m a fair-weather fan, so Bill and I head out to the store. Imagine our surprise to see a line formed around 3 sides of the not-so-small building. Now, when I say a line, do you think I mean a single-file line? No. I’m talking 5 people wide, tents (not kidding), little bonfire portable pits, and police directing people where to go. Are you shitting me?? *and* there were more people coming in droves behind us with headlights lighting up the otherwise dimly-lit roadway from the mall. So, this fair-weather fan of Black Friday is now distraught on what to do. There is no way in Hell, I’m going to be able to get Junior’s #1 gift now, because I’d be lucky to get in the doors by 3 am with the limits imposed by the police department for the health and safety of the public *and* I run the risk of not getting Cutie’s gift now either if I wait. Shit. (More expletives said here, but to be fair to those who I might offend I won’t list them- but seriously if you’re offended by expletives quit reading my blog.) Now what?
We head back ‘home’ dejected in desperate need of a new plan. A light from the heavens came from above, oh wait, that was the police helicopter looking for delinquents in the area that happened to shine on me and I came up with a *new* plan. A big name store does price matching *if* you have the ad fully stating the price of the item and they carry it. They have their big event happening at 5 am, so we’re going to go there and get our shopping done *before* the crowds get there around midnight. I grab Bill
lucky him and have him come with me on my new quest, so he can enjoy live this experience with me.
More expletives uttered from both of us as we turn into the parking lot only to see it looks like a car dealership’s lot on delivery day. Literally the strip mall this place is a part of, the *entire* parking lot is full, and people are circling like vultures for a spot. Normally, this place has people bunched near the two entrance/exits and the outskirts are empty, but not tonight- 5 hours before the event even happens. We find a parking spot easily enough because we aren’t afraid to walk the extra 1000 feet to the door like some of the people around here. Park the car, get out and get to the store a little before midnight.
The parking lot should’ve given us an indicator of the insanity we were about to witness. It didn’t- not even close. I would like to call the entrance to this place a mixture of “the calm before the storm” and “musical chairs.” If you remember playing musical chairs when you were younger and when there was only one chair left, how you circled around the chair with your hand touching it so you could yank it away from the other person so you could win? That’s what the pallets of “deals” looked like in the main aisles of this place. These pallets were 6 feet cubes of
crap stuff for less than 50% of what they normally would be. No biggie, not going to fight Grandma Bluehair to get that casserole dish or crock pot. These people in here were literally uttering primal growls over that damn crock pot. Bill and I look at each other and figure we must’ve missed the memo on this, and are quickly realizing we should’ve stayed ‘home.’
Wait. We had a mission. We have to get Cutie and Junior’s Christmas gifts and get the hell out of there as soon as possible. So, we haul ass to the toy section (in the back of the store of course) and grab our stuff in seriously less than 5 minutes. We are power shoppers at this point. We want to get out of there 5 minutes ago type of thing. All of a sudden, we hear it. An explosion of sound and screams mixed with yelling and clashing of carts. Damn. We’re too late. We’re screwed. We’re stuck in this hell until we can fight our way out of it. We’re making our way to the front of the store to pay for our gifts. A lady is carrying her 3-4 year old child crying because he got ran over by a cart. An old lady rams in to my ankle and I silently curse her to fall and break her hip because I don’t want to go to jail over her being an asshole by beating up an old lady.
We get to the checkout line. We’re about 20 people back. We should get out of here sooner than I had hoped based on the crowds. The end is in sight. 45 minutes later, we are paying for our stuff- they accepted the other Black Friday ads and price matched. We got what Cutie and Junior wanted for their #1 and their #2 gifts. We are rock stars. We did it. Executed the plan (with some hiccups) but finished the mission. Christmas will be good for Cutie and Junior this year. How was your Black Friday?
Similarity to any real person other than myself is purely
unfortunate for them coincidental, this is my story so please don’t be an ass and copy/use it as your own.