Monday, December 6, 2010

Black Friday Madness Recap

Black Friday is a tradition my husband got me into. Actually, prior to marrying him, I’d never even heard of it. In general, the idea of waking up in the middle of the night to stand in line out in the cold with a bunch of cranky, sleepy people intent on pummeling everyone else in an effort to grab that $5 DVD really doesn’t sound that enticing. Add to that the fact that all those people have recently eaten a very large Thanksgiving meal, and thus are experiencing nausea, flatulence, diarrhea or any combination of those- Yuck. But once Jason got me into it, it became an addiction.
This year, my mother in law was visiting us. While that made for somewhat stressful holiday, it was also a blessing in that we could leave the kids at home. They actually really like going in their jammies and their baggies of cereal, but as Jaymes gets older, I can’t see him handling it too well.
Anyway, this year Walmart decided to do three time periods for different Black Friday sale items, rather than the customary 5-6am sale. The first sale began at 12:01am, then the others I’m not sure on since I only cared about the 12:01 items. We decided that it would be stupid to go to sleep, it would be more painful to sleep a few hours and get all warm and comfy then have to get up. Plus, we didn’t know whether people would grab everything beforehand like they usually do. So we headed off to Wallyworld at 9:30.
Good thing we did. They had pallets stacked all over the store of the special door buster items. They were plastic wrapped, but only around the sides. You could reach in and grab whatever you wanted. There were signs that said “these items will not ring up at the register until 12:01.” We asked a nearby employee if we could grab what we wanted and hang around till midnight. He looked at us like we were nutty, but said “sure, have at it.” There were a few people already walking around with their carts full of those items. We went around and grabbed the stuff for the kids (and my $10 belgian waffle maker) and wandered around. As the night wore on, Walmart employees were sent to guard the pallets of stuff, even though the earlier guy had said they didn’t care if people grabbed things. There were a couple of older ladies who were downright vicious about protecting the discount Tupperware they were stationed in front of!
Having already collected the things we wanted, we kind of hung around the DVD area. They’d set up big cardboard DVD shelves for the $5 DVD and BluRays, wrapped up in black plastic wrap. People lurking amongst the shelves started to pull the plastic just enough to stretch it down and see what was inside, then they got bold enough to punch holes in it with their fingers right in front of the employee guarding them. Now, he didn’t much care either. He told us that he had told someone to stop ripping open the boxes, and they actually got very threatening. He told us that he didn’t care- it wasn’t worth getting hurt over, or losing his job. I agree. I’m not sure what gets into people that they can get violent over shopping.
Right around 11pm, fellow shoppers started whispering about cops in the store. We ignored it until all of a sudden, in the aisle next to us; we heard the cop’s voice. He ordered whoever was in that aisle to put back all the stuff they had gotten from the pallets and to leave the premises and not come back. At that point, people all around us started walking as fast as they could toward different areas of the store. We found ourselves hidden back in the liquor section of the store, hidden because that area is actually a smaller closed off area from the rest of the store. Obviously, right or wrong, I was NOT going to lose out on my kids Xmas gifts. Especially after waiting as long as we had been. We held our breath everytime we heard the cop’s voice or heard an employee with jingly keys coming our direction.
Thankfully, we were able to hide out until midnight, then bought our stuff and headed out without much fuss. When we got home, we couldn’t decide what to do as far as sleep. Was there much point to getting 2 hours of sleep, or should we just go get in line at Target right away? I wanted several things for Jaymes, and for myself. I wanted to get Jaymes a portable DVD player for at appointments, and of course the electronics are the harder to get items. So off we went, to Target. I had changed into pajama pants for comfort, and wore my coat. Jason, being insane, went in his trademark t shirt and shorts. It was COLD. And we sat in line from 1am to 4am. We got a good spot in line, but still were way back from the entrance of the store. Glad we went when we did, however. The people who showed up at the last minute were at least a 10 minute walk away. We couldn’t even see the end of the line. I was freezing from the beginning and was wishing for a blanket. Jason said he was fine, but he was curling up into a ball, not unlike a threatened armadillo. At about 3am, with an hour to go, it started raining. On the plus side, the people in front and behind us had huge umbrellas. Good for me, being very short. Not so good for Jason. I was covered for the most part, he just kept getting whacked in the forehead or in the back of the head.
The store eventually send employees down the line to tell us to be safe, not trample anyone, and that there would be a police car at the entrance so no one would cut in front of the line in the melee. As they opened the store, it was like a buffalo stampede. Jason and I parted ways to get what we wanted. I felt a bit like I was being pulled along in the river of bargain hunters. It was a little unnerving. I did, however, emerge triumphant, clutching Jaymes’ DVD player. I also found a bunch of board games for $3 each, which will hopefully get the kids playing cooperatively. Got my fluffy red and white blanket too. And my pink and purple Sherpa hoodies. Those were $10 each, but it turned out that I got one for $1 due to a cashier error. Hooray! I saw the same hoodies at Tractor Supply for $49 each! I loooooove them.
By the time we stumbled into the house, I was only conscious enough to stagger to the couch and cover myself with a blanket. Didn’t even take off my shoes. Jason stayed up, because it was time for him to wake his mom and her boyfriend up to go do their bargain shopping. He did not end up sleeping at all. Poor guy. Apparently he got to witness the not so lovely sight of his mother going psycho on the poor staff of several stores. Glad I wasn’t there, I don’t tolerate treating people in retail like crap. Been there, done that. It doesn’t pay enough to be worth being screamed at for something you can’t even fix, and didn’t cause.
I got about three hours of sleep. Technically I should have only gotten two hours, because at that point both kids woke up and did their thing around me. I was tired enough to ignore Jaymes’ obsessive throat clearing and Sierra’s cries of “wake up, mommy!” I was not, however, tired enough to withstand the horrific smell of Jaymes in the morning for very long. The boy tends to have very potent smells coming from his diaper first thing in the morning, and it was a relief to get up and change said diaper before the fumes killed us all.
It was an exhausting, cold, stressful night… But hey, I got everything we needed for the kids, and as I type this, I’ve got a belly full of Belgian waffles and a cozy new blanket around my shoulders. I came, I shopped, I conquered!

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