In the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, my mind began to turn to Christmas. That's unusual for me. Really. I tend to completely relax about it, not think about it, until after Thanksgiving has come and gone but not this year. Odd thing. My husband started it. It's all his fault. He kept finding 'deals' in the circulars in our daily newspaper and like an idiot, I began to pour over them. As I'm sure you can imagine, with two kids setting up their own households, they just need EVERYTHING. Now, I've never done Black Friday shopping before, scoffed at the idea as a matter of fact. Shopping the day after Thanksgiving sounds to me like the worst sort of torture but I let myself be 'lead' by the lure of huge bargains.
So when I randomly mentioned to Mr. Regina that I thought I'd check it out this year, he gamely offered to go along and 'share the experience'. I checked to see if maybe he was drinking or something and when I realized he was completely serious, I said...okay, it's a date. On Thanksgiving night, I poured through the ads and found the stores where I thought we should go and we set the alarm clock for 4 am. My honey jumps out of bed and leans over to whisper in my ear...Blue Light Special, Blue Light Special. Yeah, he's a smart ass.
At the butt-crack of dawn, we bundled up and headed out. I was immediately surprised by the number of cars out. Yes, there were others as crazy as we. What a relief! We arrived at our local Target store to a packed parking lot and trudged inside to be greeted by a cheerful dude wearing a stocking cap. "Welcome, welcome, folks! Come on in! Cold this morning, huh?" Okay, friendly greeting so I figure this might be a pleasant experience until I learned there were no shopping carts left. GAH! There went our big plan to each grab a cart for the large items we were hunting down. Instead, I headed back out into the parking lot to scrounge up a cart from SOMEWHERE. After a frantic search (while freezing my ASS off) I finally located one and wheeled it inside. I knew it was unlikely we could fit all of our items into one cart but I was game to try. We could do this.
The next indication that we might have made a huge mistake was when, upon entering, we see lines had already formed all the way to the back of the store. Now anyone who has been inside a Target knows these are big, big buildings and there were about five of these lines. Everyone IN the lines looked pissed off, tired or bored mindless. Three teenaged girls were actually sitting on the floor, in line, playing cards. My brave hubby and I looked at each other and knew we were in big trouble here. I smile and say...hey, it's a new experience! Right? We can do this!
Thirty minutes later, we scarfed up on great deals, our basket was loaded to the gills and we were ready to check out. As it turned out, he stood in one line and I was in another. Nobody to talk to. Bummer. That's when the real fun began. Most of the folks had no basket and simply nudged their piles of toys and games with the toes of their shoes as the line inched slowly forward. My 'electronics' item was at the counter already so I didn't have to deal with that. A good thing. Gave me lots of time to look around and wonder about things.
Why would anyone bring a toddler to Black Friday? Why? I saw several and barely managed to refrain from shaking my head in wonder. In front of me stood elderly twins. They were roughly seventy, wore identical clothing and hair styles, each held a box of Life cereal and a dvd. You notice these things while standing in line. I wondered WHY. Why would anyone stand in line for an hour and a half to buy a box of cereal? Others had small items that on any day of the year might sell for twenty bucks. Were their savings so much they felt the urge to stand in line to purchase?
As the sun was coming up, we loaded our purchases and looked at each other. "Well now, wasn't that an experience," I said. "You want to do this again?" he asked. "Nope, think I'll pass." In the end, we bought about $1,000 worth of stuff for a bit less than $500 and that was good. We had most of our Christmas shopping done and found bargains. But the experience? It was pretty much unforgettable.