How I Spent My Black Friday
I used to have a nice television set. It was not great, or even ideal. All it needed was a gentle tap on the back so that the picture could return. It also needed a set of speakers because it no longer emitted sounds. I thought I had remedied the situation by buying a pair of nice headphones and a very long audio jack. I thought it was a stroke of genius because I could use the restroom and not miss out on hearing any of Gilligan’s antics. I wanted to be first one to know if they ever make it off the island – maybe with a little help from the Harlem Globetrotters.
My sister finally got tired of bending and finally broke, because the headphones allowed me to ignore her when it was most inconvenient to her. She decided to give me an ultimatum: I had to get another television or risk having this one thrown into a lake the next time I left the house. It did not have to be a new one – just one that did not require headphones. She was also getting tired of me keeping her up at night. My television was on its last legs. The gentle taps had given way to hearty blows as if the television was choking on something.
She suggested a large retail store that has is infamous for having a proclivity towards violence on Black Friday. I snickered at it because I pictured two grandmothers going at it over a pair of nylons. However, my eyes were soon opened. We got to the store at 7:30 p.m. I figured we were going to get some sort of ticket or wristband, go back to the car and sleep until 11:30 p.m., so we could go lineup prior to the midnight madness.
I was wrong. There were no tickets. There were no wristbands. There was only waiting in a line that stretched, snaked and rerouted itself. This would be my new home for the next four, or so, hours. People were in ridiculous lines in order to buy $3 waffle makers and $50 DVD players.
Black Friday is no joke. In fact, if hell has a waiting room it is probably located in the City of Industry, California during the waning hours of Thanksgiving. I will be the first to admit. Any of you who were in bed on Friday at midnight, are officially smarter than me.
I saw fights break out over Elmo pajamas. I saw grown women gouge each other’s faces and eyes over stuffed animals. The employees allowed everything to happen and only called security after the dust had settled and there was a spill of bones and sinew that needed cleaning. At the store where I was, the EMTs had to be called in after a little boy had been trampled and rumored to have broken a leg.
So the aisle I was in did what came natural. We converted to mob rule. We blocked off our aisle with our shopping carts in homage to a Spartan defensive phalanx. Then we banded together and repatriated any intruder back to hardware. A young man who was there with his brother named Ian, christened himself the store detective and successfully closed off any passage way to our aisle. I did not know this at the time, but these televisions were the most coveted sales item of the year and only 75 were available.
In the end, I got my television, only to go wait in order to be in line. After that was over I got in line in order to wait. This will be my last Black Friday – until the next one of course. The scariest part is that I discovered a part of me that understood how and why a small child can get injured when he or she is swept up in the mass hysteria that comes with consumerism. Limbs will heal, but $3 waffle makers are hard to come by.
[Photo By theNerdPatrol]