Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday, for the Curious

After having read the typical, shameful stories of Black Friday mayhem (two shot and killed at a Toys "backwards-R" Us in California and a temporary Wal-Mart employee trampled to death in greater New York City; guess it's not just the hicks who like Wal-Mart) I thought I'd report on our much more tame, safe and humane experiences of the morning -- the worst of which was listening to some lady from Pocatello get tense and holler at some folks waiting to get into Target in a rather menacing way -- they weren't waiting in line.

3:30 am. I awake when the alarm is supposed to go of. Good thing, since I forgot to turn it on. Better thing, since the alarm wakes us to a scratchy AM country-western radio station.

4 am. My wife drops me off at Target to stand in line, while she goes on to Kohl's nearby, which opened at 4 am.

4:12, 4:16, 4:27, 4:38, 4:55, 5:01. I check my various timepieces (embarassingly enough, I have four of them, but NONE of them are a watch. I have a pager, cell phone, iPod and pedometer that tell the time. And also have a compass in the stock), in anticipation of Target opening at 5 am.

5:11 am. Realize Target isn't opening until 6 am. So I spend more time listening to music composed for orchestra and Jew's harp by an eighteenth-century German, plus Christmas carols sung by John Denver.

5:38 am. Michelle arrives. Surprised to find me still standing in front of the store. I'm freezing.

6 am. The doors open. Bedlam ensues, but I avoid it. Everyone else makes a hard right past the doors towards electronics. I make a beeline to the back of the store, where I run into a few of the guys I worked with at Target in 2005. They razz me -- "You don't work here any more but you still have to come in! Ha ha!" I do feel like a moron. But I get what I came for -- and am the ONLY person in the back of the store. I wander to the front, pay for my item, then toddle out to the van, only then realizing in the misty sleet that Michelle, who is still inside the store in the middle of the bedlam, has the keys. As my item weighs more than 200 pounds, I can't exactly put it in my pocket. I go back into the store and wait, not realizing that Michelle has borrowed a cell phone to call me on mine, which I cannot hear ringing. I feel like an idiot.

Round about 6:40. We leave Target for Kmart and buy many things I cannot list here because my children are getting more Internet-savvy.

7:48 am. We're now at Wal-Mart, frantically trying to find the one $10 item our daughter really, really, REALLY wants. A blue-clad store employee tells us they're sold out. But, fighting the crowds pawing through a few returns carts in the toy section, I find TWO of them. Feel like a big hero until we walk to the front of the store where we find an entire pallet of the same item.

8:12 am. We're eating a Crew Sandwich at Gandolfos. I can feel the grease doing me a lot of good.

8:37 am. I drop Michelle off at Porters, while I head into Best Buy. The real reason I go in there is to ensure that the deal I got on her Christmas package is still unbeaten. It is. I am the ruler of finding all things Christmassy.

9:20 am. We're back at Kmart, returning a few items for which we found better replacements at other stores.

10 am. We're back at the in-laws. Time for a nap.

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