dear in the headlights
Sound of crickets
This was the first time I have participated in the madness that is Black Friday. I had thought of it when I had seen an advance copy of a Wal-Mart sale flyer. There were two items, that peaked my interest. But here is the thing, none of the regular prices are published in the said flyer. So I was unsure of the exact deal I was getting. After consulting with the siblings, husband, spouse of sibling and parents it was determined that I was going to sit this one out.
Then at 4:15 a.m. Baby starts yelling "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy". So I scurried into the kid's room and pluck him out of his crib. We stumble downstairs and then it hits me. This is a sign. I AM going. So I packed some Cherrios, prepared a bottle, snuggled Baby into his coat, wrapped him in his blanket and we were off. I mean how bad could it be? My strategy was this, "if we can't find a parking space at 4:50 a.m. (punch me in the face)then we will declare defeat and return home." We arrived at precisely 4:48, secured a parking space and waited.
The heat was blasting and the Christmas Carols playing softly in the background. Baby happily drank his bottle and munched on some Cherrios. Shopping strategy: head straight to the department of want. Score the prize and dash to the check out.
At 4:58 I opened the door accosted by the crisp air, "I should have put a hat on Baby," I muttered under my breath. I extracted Baby from his seat, held him close and headed for the pulsating crowd that had been assembling while we were waiting in our toasty haven. As we approached I saw much movement "phew", I thought, "the doors are open, we will breeze right in". After moving at a snails pace we finally crossed the threshold. While waiting I could see the intensity of the other participants. These people would not be stopped. I became strangely frightened. "Happy Thanksgiving", I cheerily say to the Wal-Mart employee who is ushering in the crowd. "I should have taken a cart while I was waiting to get IN", I thought to myself as I cling to the baby. I head towards the carriage corral and spot a stray towards the front of the store. "AH HA", I say triumphantly to myself. As I head toward the carriage a Wal-Mart employee says "Ma'am (ARGH! Is there ANYTHING WORSE?) I need you to come this way," Totally understanding why he has said that, with a pathetic look in my eyes I point over to the stray carriage "I am just getting that carriage." "Oh," he says "I thought I had pulled them over here, let me help you".
And with that my Black Friday adventure began.
As I tried to steer my carriage I have determined that we have a dud and this would be why it was separated from the herd. I jockey for a position in the sea of carriages and gain a spot. I can't believe how many people are here. I begin to get anxious, again. I look at a woman who seems nice, "I'm scared, I've never done this before." She replies with the look of a dear in the headlights, "I'm scared too. I've never done this before either, I came in for a vacuum cleaner." We wished each other luck and fought our way through the crowd. There was no way that I could go any other way than straight it would have been physically impossible for me to turn right or left. I couldn't leave Baby in the carriage to dart across half an aisle to pick up the Holy Grail. I would have lost him in the crowd, there were THAT many people there. Luckily in the infinite wisdom of the people at Wal-Mart, they line the aisles with all the sale merchandise. Being a neophyte in Black Friday I had prepared a strategy that would only have worked on a regular shopping day. As luck would have it I stumbled upon my first item. Then I headed over to the department that I thought would have my second item. No luck, these were all stacked on the floor at the end of the candy aisle. I rear ended some poor man who had stopped to consult his flyer. "I am so sorry", I say. Purple with embarrassment.
Me, Baby and our dilapidated carriage make our way to the end of the candy aisle. I didn't think it could get any worse. There were three employees just standing there monitoring the crowd. "So I am assuming that X, is over there were all the other people are?" "Yep". "And when they are gone, they're gone, right?" "Yep". Ok, I take a DEEP breath and saying "excuse me" to the nth degree I see my second item. Well, that isn't entirely true, I see a pile of similar items and I hope that my item is still available. I hold on to the carriage and there, I SEE it. I pull the carriage closer and bend down, I AM TRIUMPHANT! Baby and I move slowly toward the check out. 12 items or less! WE ARE THERE!
The car isn't even cold yet. We pull out at 5:23. Mission accomplished.