The doorbuster deals at Toys R Us used to have me shivering in a parking lot at 5:00 a.m. every year on the morning after Thanksgiving, back when $5 Furbys and buy-one-get-one-free Polly Pocket sets could still make the Demis' Christmas dreams come true. I still get a special thrill from combing through the stacks of glossy Thanksgiving day newspaper ads while I watch the Macy’s parade TV. But for the past couple of years, I’ve opted to skip the Black Friday insanity and just sleep in.
I was planning to do just that last week, but then my friend Daniel, the one who so kindly brought my PC into the 21st century for me, found out from an advance online advertisement that Micro Center stores would be offering 160 GB hard drives for a deep, deep discount on Friday morning. He was very excited until he realized that the discounted hard drives would only be available to the first 25 customers through the door when it opened at 6:00 a.m., and the only Micro Center location in the state is a good 45-minute drive from his house.
As it happens, that very same Micro Center location is about 2.5 minutes from my house. So, since I have some experience with day after Thanksgiving shopping, and since I have a lot more time than money with which to repay the kindness he bestowed on my home computer, I told him I’d go to Micro Center for him.
When my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. that morning, I threw on the clothes I had laid out the night before, grabbed the Micro Center ad and a protein bar and ran out the door, thinking that I would wait in my car if no other customers had arrived yet. Moments later I found the entrance to the parking lot blocked by a police car with its lights flashing. It appeared to be preventing a block-long line of people from extending into the street.
Since I was up already, I decided to try my luck at a couple of other stores instead, which actually went pretty well except that somebody stole my shopping cart in Menard’s. The mass of bargain-hungry humanity that stood between me and the $3 hand-crank LED flashlights forced me to temporarily abandon it, along with the throw rug, the slippers and the various other items it contained. When I returned, my cart had disappeared and there was no trace of my hard-won merchandise. Whoever you are, I hope you enjoy eternity in your special place in HELL, you cart-stealing bastard.
The checkout line at Kohl’s was freaking ridiculous, but it moved along pretty steadily, and was worth enduring because I picked up skirts and sweaters for both the DemiGoddesses to wear on Christmas, as well as a new pair of gloves for a certain Goddess who seems to have a terminal case of glove/mitten dropsy, all for less than I spend on an average trip to Trader Joe's.
I found out later that my sister Meghan had been out shopping that morning, too. She did Herberger’s, immediately earning my respect because another customer in line at Menard's had told me she had tried to go there but left after being unable to find a parking spot, and then had to fight her way out of the lot. And Meghan was there with a toddler in tow, no less.
Now that’s plain crazy.