This year our Thanksgiving gathering was just our immediate family of four, very unusual for us. In keeping with this “different” Thanksgiving I did something completely out of the box for me: I went Black Friday Thanksgiving shopping, which began on Thanksgiving at 8 pm. Yes, I was one of the fewer than 25% of Americans who were crazy enough to leave their Thanksgiving celebrations to go shopping. Are you a Black Friday kind of shopper? My niece is a seasoned BF shopper and seems to really enjoy the crowds and deals. Meanwhile, I’ve never, ever shopped on Black Friday, at midnight or any other time. And I may never do it again, although my daughter Tory swears I’m a natural at working my way through a crowd to get what I (or, more accurately, she) want(s).
I lined up with Tory outside our favorite big box store. Us and about 250 strangers and more arrived with each passing minute. Outside in the freezing cold for 45 minutes. What compelled me, you ask? I could blame it on the Rachael Ray cookware set Tory had her heart set on; after all, it was only $99 instead of its regular price of $149.99. I could blame it on the Dyson rechargeable vac ($199 versus its regular $299) I thought would be nice addition to what has become my “collection” of vacuums (I purchased three in the previous four weeks, but who’s keeping track? Ummm…other than my husband Mike, I mean.). But the real reason? I don’t have a clue other than we didn’t have company for Thanksgiving dinner so I had no reason to stay at home.
We stood in line. And people watched. By far my favorite person was the really tall, very manly looking bald dude in front of us. He said he left home in such a hurry he forgot his hat and he had on just a sweatshirt. As the minutes ticked by he started to shiver. He asked his wife if they could go home (she shook her head a very firm “no”). And when he realized that no amount of whining was going to get him out of the line and back into his warm car? He plopped his wife’s fluffy, lacy scarf on his bald head in a vain attempt to keep warm. Picture it!
After that drama played out I texted my bro-in-law Bid, who was at home in his manly heated clubhouse watching football (MY Pittsburgh Steelers) with Nina, his next door neighbor’s little white fluffy dog. Bid’s always good for a chit chat and I figured he’d laugh when I told him what Tory and I were doing. Instead, this is what he said (his texts are the ones with the white background):
He wanted ME to pick up at 47′ TV for HIM? I called him on the phone and asked him why he wasn’t standing in line at a Target near his home to get one for himself. He hemmed. he hawed, but basically kept telling me I’d be the BEST sis-in-law EVER if I could score the TV for him. I shook my head. I’m a sucker.
By this time the line was moving and I said I’d see what I could do, but no promises. Tory and I split up as soon as we got inside, she to get the cookware and me to get the vacuum. Only thing is that I passed right by all the TVs on my race-walk to the back of the store where the vacuums were stacked. Thinking quickly, I U-turned and race walked back for a cart. A 47″ TV is not something I could carry. Hell, I wasn’t even sure I could lift it into a cart! I angled the cart up to the stack of TVs, crushed by large manly men on either side of me; they were wrestling 50+ inch TVs into their carts while their womenfolk watched them. I picked up a corner of the box and heaved. Then I slid the box onto my cart. And it promptly slid toward the floor and certain crushing beneath feet.
Suddenly I heard a voice. “Do you need some help, ma’am?” I hate being called “ma’am, but desperate times called for me to suck it up. “Yes. Thank you,” I replied. With that I peeked around the rapidly sliding box and saw a large fellow who smiled and heaved the box end-wise into my cart. With the TV precariously perched mostly inside the cart, I was off and wheeling toward the vacuums. Never mind I couldn’t really see beyond the huge box in front of me! I got the next-to-the-last Dyson, which I promptly shoved underneath my cart.
Then my phone rang. Tory was trapped mid-store with her loot; could I swing by and pick it up? I headed toward Tory who was in the men’s department, but was thwarted by the red velvet ropes down the main center aisle of the store; the ropes marked off the checkout line, which was still empty. Taking pity on us, a store clerk unlooked the rope and I was reunited with Tory. We piled her loot in and around the TV and headed down the red velvet roped aisle to the cash register. By this time I’d found a handhold on the side of the TV box so I was (more or less) in control of the shifting TV; no customers were harmed. We were in and out of the store in 45 minutes flat!
Things didn’t go as well at 11:15 pm when we arrived at Willowbrook Mall. Tory and I jumped out of the car and headed for the mall entrance, chatting all the way. All of a sudden I was on my knees in the middle of the road. Tory looked at me in horror as I grabbed my right knee, just visible through the hole I’d ripped in my favorite jeans.
“Are you okay, Mom? What happened?” Tory asked in horror.
I shook my head as I rolled to sit on my butt on the curb.
We looked around. Glowing ever so faintly on the roadway we’d walked over. Black ice. I’d fallen on a patch of black ice no bigger than 12 inched around. Two-plus hours later, we headed home: me with my bloody knee and torn jeans and Tory with three new pieces of lovely clothing…all purchased for 50% off.
Do you have a Black Friday tale to share? I’ve already heard some doozies.