I love all of my crazy, midnight shopping, bargain hunting, deal finding, black Friday crowd fighting friends. Really I do. But I will never, ever be on enough of a budget to make me do that. Ever. But then, I don't have kids. So if I don't have money for Christmas, I just don't. The end.
I've never ever experienced Black Friday. Not at Wal-Mart, not at the mall, not anything. On the Friday after Thanksgiving I am normally enjoying leftovers from our turkey dinner or working. The closest I had ever gotten to Black Friday in the past was getting up early the day after Christmas to hit Target for the sales. That's MY favorite shopping day of the year. Clearance.
So having said all of this, last night my intention was to experience some of the "goodness" that was black Friday. First hand. Up close and personal. Because I really believe you can't judge someone until you've lived their experience. So there's a little girly shop down the road a bit that I really like. They were having a "football widow" open house on Thanksgiving night from 7-10. OK, I thought, I can do that. That's not crazy.
So I told my best-friend-since-8th-grade-Amy that I was planning to go and she said she'd like to go along too. She was meeting her daughters later for a trip to Wal-Mart and a nearby mall at midnight and asked if I would want to join them. I thought, "Maybe I will! Old Navy is giving cameras away and I do need a camera. I think I can stay up until midnight. Why not?" Wal-Mart madness started at 10pm and I thought I really could make it for some of that. Maybe even go to Old Navy. Or Best Buy, be out until the wee hours of the morning. It all sounds fun in theory, doesn't it? Kinda like sneaking out of your dorm room to see the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show with a group of your friends and then having to sleep in the airport because the dorms are locked until 6 a.m. Not that I've done that.
So we met up at 6 and drove to the open house. Now, this shop is in an old house that has been made into a store. It has separate rooms and not the best "flow". You have to enter and exit some of the rooms through the same door. Every time I've been there in the past there have been less than 5 people in the store.
We got there and stood out in the cold in line for about 20 minutes. They were giving freebies to the first 50 people who showed up and we figured we'd hopefully get something. When they finally opened the doors, everyone started pouring in and the house filled up quickly. Most of the ladies started making a bee line for the items they were most interested in. We collected our free gifts and tried to push through the crowd to find items we wanted that were on special that night.
Inside the door was a huge display filled with items for $5 on special for that night. This immediately clogged up the entryway. I fought my way through, wishing I hadn't brought in my purse, as it was impeding my "pushing through crowd" progress. I couldn't get close enough to the display to see if there was anything I wanted so I let the crowd push me back into the other room. I couldn't even get out of the way. I was being pushed and pulled and everything else you could imagine.
I tried getting from one room to the next and couldn't because someone's husband was standing in the hallway blocking traffic. I stood behind him for what seemed like 5 minutes before I realized, Good Grief! He isn't waiting on the crowd to part, he's just standing there!!!!!!!
"Argh! No unnecessary people need to be in here right now! It's crowded enough with people who are shopping. GET OUUUUTTTTT OF MY WAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!" I said inside my head.
Out loud was just a small "excuse me" as I pushed past him. I ended up in a small hallway where a tiny bathroom had been set up for displaying mongrammed towels and the like. I stepped in there to quell my arising panic. My friend saw me and came in too.
"omg this is crazy!" we said to one another. Then she looked behind me and exclaimed "Is that MONOGRAMMED toilet paper!"
I noticed she already had her arms full of stuff. I just walked out.
Back to the front room where everyone was pushing and shoving to get to the $5 monogrammed lotion. OK no M's or H's so. Moving right along. By now the lines for the checkout were stretching across the front room. I want to get in there to see the purses but it seems all but hopeless.
At first I think I see my friend, she's made it to the $5 table. She waves me over and as she is digging through the baskets, thrusts a nightlight into my hands with an H on it.
"AWESOME!!!" I say, as if I have been looking for this all of my life.
As we stand digging through monogrammed mirrors, brushes, nightlights and hand painted christmas glasses, my friend says out loud "What the hell is going on? WHY did everyone bring their husbands and kids??? They are just taking up space that those of us with credit cards need to shop!!! They should leave the husbands and kids at HOME!!!"
The girl standing next to me giggled, and I said to my friend "OMG that is why we're friends, I was thinking the same thing. They are just standing there blocking the shelves."
I picked up a couple gift items, which weren't on sale at all by the way, and just tried to make my way into the other room where all the kitchen stuff and candles were. It seemed to take forever. I didn't see my friend, the lines were getting longer, and I just couldn't think straight enough to know what to grab.
I hear someone in the crowd say "Oh, LOOK! A monogrammed flask!" and when I look, there is a bin full of silver flasks positioned directly over a sign that says "We have great gifts for all the teachers on your list!"
I had to smile at that and if I could have reached my phone I would have snapped a picture. But I couldn't, I couldn't even raise my arm. So I decided to call it a day and get in the long, long lines that had formed erraticly across the front room.
Then I get a text. "I am in line, bring me your stuff and I will pay, not too far from the front." I look across the room and my friend is in the line on the other side of the room. Not even 20 feet away, but blocked from me getting to her by dozens of people.
I look at her and shrug, then text "I don't think I can get there, I'll wait." She and I text back and forth while we're waiting in line.
Moments later when we've checked out and struggled our way back through the store to the front porch, she picks me up outside the store. When we look at the clock she says "Oh, my gosh. It is only 7:35 we were only in there for 35 minutes!"
I laugh and say "Well, that answers one question....how long does it take for me
to work up to a full blown panic attack?"
It really did seem that we were there for hours. I decided right then and there that was the LAST time I'd ever participate in anything remotely related to black friday. When we got back to Wal-Mart Amy dropped me at my car, took my front row parking spot, and went in to stand in line for a great deal on a television. Then went to the mall and got home at 2am.
I? Went home, put on pj's and ate dinner.
You guys are so brave. And so crazy. Honestly.
21 hours ago