The Day After

Friday, November 27, 2009

I have never gone out shopping on Black Friday. Not at 3 am or any other time. I once did go see a movie with my mom the day after Thanksgiving and kept wondering why it was so busy.

It could be that I'm just not that big of shopper. I am still trying to reconcile that I may have to pay more than $20 for a pair of jeans. It could also have to do with the fact that usually, that particular Friday rolls around, Hubster and I haven't even started our Christmas list. No reason to go stand in lines and fight off aggressive soccer moms when you don't have any idea what you are looking for.

But this year, with my December being consumed by a arduous surgery rotation, the only way Christmas would be successful would be to start early. Not to mention the need to ship most of our gifts 1200 miles, which meant putting things off until December 24th really wasn't going to work this year.

So, one week ago, Hubster and I, much to our complete bewilderment, found ourselves nearly done with our Christmas shopping. We had two gifts (not including each others) left to buy.

Reeling with the shock of this, we found ourselves wandering a department store, looking for winter coats for Bug and Monkey. We had finally unpacked their old ones, which we had thought was a good idea considering it has started to get below freezing overnight. However, upon unpacking said coats, we were a little surprised to find that our boys had grown in the last year. Seriously, who wound have thought? So, a Midwestern winter staring in the front window, we went looking for coats. As we wandered around, dropping overpriced coats as if we had been tazed, Hubster casually mentioned that he had heard this particular store opened at 4 am for Black Friday. Maybe they would have good deals on winter coats so we wouldn't have to turn off the heat to afford them. (Of course I'm kidding. We'd stop buying groceries way before we turned off the heat.)

We decided to check the Black Friday ads before we did any more coat shopping.

And that was the end of that.

I spent hours (okay...many 15 minute intervals) persuing sale advertisements. I was shocked. So this is what drove normally sane people to fight off the effects of tryptophan and stand in line in the dark and cold. We carefully looked for a few things and found that we could get our remaining two gifts and the coats at one store.

So, this morning, I set out early and headed to our selected store.

I thought that was all that was needed.

As I drove, I passed other stores, not opening for a hour, that had lines wrapping down the sidewalk and around the corner. Parking lots were packed to overflowing. People were parked on the grass. Of course, anything resembling a shopping cart or a basket was gone long before I ever showed up. The people surrounding me not only had lists of stores, what time they opened and the must have items at each of those stores, they also had maps of the inside of each store, letting them know exactly where each desirable item was.

I instantly felt under-prepared. I approached a helpful-looking employee. I just need to know where coats are. That's all.

I'm proud to say that I got through the entire ordeal in less than one hour. I did not elbow anyone; I was not run into by anyone else's cart. And most importantly, I left with the coats and the two remaining gifts (which, by the way, were completely gone when we went back this afternoon to return a purchase made earlier this week.)

Hubster offered to go out and do the shopping. I was tempted to let him, because after all, he is much bigger than I am. But, ultimately, I decided to let him stay home asleep while I ventured out. And because he doesn't read my blog, I can tell you the true reason I choose to go and let him sleep.

Because his gift was on sale, too.


Karen said...

I've never done Black Friday either. But I went yesterday with my brother and sister-in-law. I was just along for the ride, not really looking for anything. And I didn't really buy anything, but I enjoyed the adventure. It was pretty crazy seeing the chaos. But I was impressed with how respectful and not pushy everyone was.

Salem said...

I enjoyed reading about this. The story was getting intense and I could have easily seen this turn into a horror scene. Glad you made it out alive (and with the goods!)

You new nicknames- not bad!- Makes me laugh.
I am missing you- almost like I think homesick would be, but for people that make up whole slices of my life.

Kim said...

I've only done Black Friday once in my life—I was in the mood to get up at o'dark-thirty and I rather enjoyed the military recon aspect of it.

But I've never tried it again, because a lot of the things that I wanted to get were either subpar (like the Barbies on sale for $3 which turned out to be weird Barbies with flexible legs and arms that just didn't seem right) or were already sold out by the time I elbowed my way in.

Now I just try to shop the sales after Christmas (for gifts for the following year) and to pick up things throughout the year as I find them.