Black Friday Sales, A crowded parking lot, 2007
Okay, I did it again. I said I wouldn't do it and I did it. The lure of saving big money runs through my veins like a cheetah after a gazelle, the blood of the hunt too enticing to quit. I didn't do it crazy, though. I did it medium. I got up at 8:00 a.m. with a plan to pick up a pal at 9:00. It was light out, though, so I didn't feel as creepy as last year, like I was doing something illegal and hard-up. I was ready in 15 minutes and was pacing my living room like a caged cat clawing at my eyes. I called my friend and told her to step it up, because I was now sure that everything I wanted was going to be gone, funneled away by the truly insane who awoke at 3:00 a.m. chanting, "Doorbuster, doorbuster." This is not Disneyland my dear, chop, chop.
My first stop is Kohl's. I know, what the hell? It's nothing exciting like Best Buy with all their cool gadgets and DVD's for $4.99. The Kohl's back story goes like this: Last week on the way to the movies we stopped into Kohl's to look for snowpants for the kids, since Target didn't have the right sizes, husband decides he needs to try on shoes, finds ones he likes, they don't have his size at that store and said shoes are only available at that price at Kohl's. My husband is such a horrible shopper and pulling him into stores at all is like hauling a bucking marlin up from the depths. When he finds something he likes we go with it. There is no discussion.
I drop my pal off at Toys R Us (my friend has way more sense than I do and she scoffs at the mere notion of going to Kohl's) and then I try to find a parking spot for Kohl's, which is handily next door to the toy store. Nothing. I drive back and forth across the lanes 15 times. Nothing. I see women shoveling large caches of goods into their cars, but they aren't really leaving. Nope, they seem to be on round two, dashing from their cars in a different direction, purse straps flying, hoping like hell, I'm sure, that the 75,000 cars trolling the lots don't kill them. I finally pull up behind one woman who is literally pushing her bags into her car with her back side, giving them hard, grunty shoves and I'm sure swearing like a sailor. She gives me the high sign and I turn on my blinker. Right as she gets the trunk closed another woman passes by her car and slips on the only shot of ice in the entire Southtown mall parking lot. The only ice. Drama ensues, they pull out, I pull in.
By now I'm sweating with fear that I am now too late. Too late to get a deal. The deal that has me wrapped around her wretched finger. The adrenaline is rushing in my ears. How could there possibly be any shoes left in the universe after all these people have swarmed into the store? I finally make it to the entrance. It. Is. A. Madhouse. I guess people really do love Kohl's. It's a mystery.
I go up to the shoes, elbowing my way up the escalator like a women hell bent on finding the grail. I find the shoes and run my eyes over the boxes. None in his size. I check again. Zero. It so figures that I'm not mad, I simply chuckle and wonder why my genetic make-up is so very flawed. Why can't I have the who-cares-about-money-gene? That would be a handy one. Or the what's-the-big-deal-life-goes-on-gene. I don't and I start gouging at my throat in an effort to try and breath right once again.
I manage to find some things in the kitchen area and get my son some dress pants, and then I enter a line that is a hundredfold long. "Holy Hannah, please save me from myself," I mutter to the nice man ahead of me, who is jubilantly holding his wife's stack. One of those husband and wife teams that makes you vomit. It takes so long that my friend comes in and finds me still in line and goes away to shop. I get through and now, since she found a winter jacket for her son, we have to wait again. The time spent in Kohl's equals the time spent on a lengthy root canal and is just as painful.
We finally leave. Get the car. Go to Target. And what's this? It's almost empty. I look at my watch and it's already 11:15. After parking had taken 9 hours and Kohl's check-out had taken 10 hours, I guess it makes sense that now the hard junkies have gone home and all that's left is the bare bones at Target.
We find a few things and head to Home Depot. My friend needs some tools. I drop her at the door and head to Sam's. In the frenzy of the moment I buy 17 things I don't need which cost me in the neighborhood of $400,000. I have instant buyers remorse and take them back the next day. I realize as I'm standing in the return lane at Sam's that Black Friday is not my cuppa tea. To say the very least. I would rather spend 15x the normal rate so I don't go into convulsions and end up buying pity stuff, because the stuff I really want is long gone.
Being lured into the deal with blinking lights and colorful ads should be banned. I'm sticking to normal shopping, like on the internet. So when cyber Monday rolls around my ass is so sore from sitting in my chair and my eyes so blurred from focusing on pages at a jump that I feel like taking my life, but you know what? I got my goods. They were right there in front of me. Oh, you need a size 12 black loafer, well here it is lady. Click. Nothin' better.