Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday, OR Something I Won't Be Doing Next Year

I want to tell y'all about my Black Friday shopping experience.  My mother and I, despite our better judgment, decided to go to Walmart for the Midnight Madness experience.   Hah.  My mom wanted to get one of those Barbie Jeep things for my girls, and it was going to be on sale for $88.00.  You can't beat that, so of course we had to try to get one. 

We arrived at the store at 10:35, and when we walked in the door I knew it had been a bad idea:  there were a gazillion people in there.  No, really, I counted.  It was a gazillion. 

We made our way back to the bike section where the little kid vehicles are usually stocked, only to meet a half dozen other people looking for the same Jeep.  It was nowhere to be found.  My mom and another lady became fast friends, and decided to go look through the store to see if the jeeps were somewhere else.  I waited patiently next to a tattoo-covered couple, a really redneck family (seriously, they had maybe six teeth between the four of them) and one normal-looking couple that made me feel a little bit better. 

Ten minutes later my mom and her new friend returned, and mom had that bull-in-a-china-shop look on her face.  Not good.  They had discovered that there were only THREE of said Jeep at the store, and all three had been "reserved" earlier in the day.  WHAT. THE.  FRICK.  Three?!  THREE?!  I swear, if I knew where old man Sam lived, I would have driven to his house last night, knocked on his front door and punched him in the face. 

So, resigned to the fact that we wouldn't be getting the Jeep, we decided to look for other possible deals we were interested in.  Mom found a few things to get for some people, and I found a few Disney Princess things to get for the girls.  We set up shop and waited for midnight.

Apparently the Walmart employees were told that if they didn't act like shopping Nazis they'd all be fired, and they took it seriously.  If you looked too long at an item, they'd be on you like white on rice and a glass of milk with a paper plate in a snowstorm.  (Man, I love that phrase.)  Twice I saw people get scolded for picking up items to look at them.  At the same time, though, every once in a while we'd see someone walk by with a buggy full of crap, and not a single worker said anything to them.  This ticked off the other shoppers (ie:  me and mom), and a revolt of sorts began rising among us.  Who took the lead?  My mother, of course.

She began encouraging people to just grab what they wanted and put it in their buggies.  What could the workers do?  Nothing!  "What's good for the goose is good for the gander,"  she'd say.  Frankly, the situation was altogether hilarious to me.  My mother - sweet, kind, church choir leader, Nana to my kids - was promoting misbehavior.  Well, I thought it was a great idea, as did many of the people around us, who began sticking items into their buggies.  We were a band of rebels.  The Midnight Madness Rebels, if you will. 

I started daydreaming about how we'd all end up on the news.  They'd sell t-shirts that read "Midnight Madness Rebels Unite" and "Screw You Sam."  I'd be on the Today Show, talking about how our revolt led to reform for Black Friday shopping internationally.  Mom would have to hire security to fight off the angry former Walmart employees who were all fired for failing to keep us crazy shoppers from putting items into our buggies for one measly hour.  We'd end up in history books. 

My little reverie was interrupted by, of course, a Walmart employee repeating for what must have been the hundredth time, "The items are not on sale until midnight.  Please do not put them into buggies."   

Then some invisible signal must have been made, because suddenly - at 11:46 - plastic began flying away from stacks, boxes were being pulled from them and it was utter chaos. 


People were shoving each other, pushing through the crowds, trying to get this item or that.  I was impaled (nearly) by the corner of a rather heavy box when the man behind me, who couldn't see over said box, almost trampled me in his attempt to get a deal. Mom and I, having grabbed the two items we wanted, decided to roam through the store and see what else we could get. 

We made our way over to the clothing section, which happened to be next to the movies that were on sale.  There were more people here than over by the toys, which surprised me.  I remember thinking for a moment how obviously against fire codes this ridiculousness must be, and someone should probably call the fire marshall.  Then I found PJs for the girls for $3.50 and forgot about it.

Twice we saw police rushing through the crowds, I assumed to break up fights since they all had their hands on their holsters.  At one point I was waiting with the buggy in a "safe" area while mom had decided to brave the DVD area, and a lady walked by and attempted to steal something out of our buggy.  I politely said, "Um, excuse me?"

"I need this,"  she replied.

"Well, they're over there," I said, pointing in the general direction.  She gave me a sarcastic look for a second, then changed it to look pitiful.

"But I need it!  I have a special needs child." 

Oh no, you didn't.

"Well, ma'am, I'm sorry you have a special needs child, but they're still over there.  This is mine."

Again, I pointed.

She stared at me for a moment, then huffed and walked off.  I breathed a sigh of relief, becuase I really wasn't in the mood to fist fight a 40-something year-old woman and possibly end up in jail.  No, thank you. 

Finally mom returned with five movies and we were ready to go.  Luckily most of the mele was still going on throughout the rest of the store, so the checkout lines weren't too terribly long.  We checked out and were out of there by 12:45. 

Next year, I'll just shop online.