Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday Virgin

I'm not exactly sure how I thought it would end.  I know how it began.

We drove to my in-laws house in northeastern Iowa on Thanksgiving Day, late as usual.  We did say we would be there around noon, but it was closer to 12:30, and when people are cooking food around your arrival, it's best not to be late.  I'm one of those horrible people who are ALWAYS late.  I get up with the best of intentions, truly, I do, but something usually goes awry.  This time, it was the toilet.

Everyone is in the van and George the Superpet is set up and ready for the lovely sweetness that is my friend who let him out on Thursday and Friday, and then one of the kids says, "I have to go to the bathroom".  Okay.  Better now than 30 minutes into the drive, right?  So I take said child into the house, who does their thing and then says, "MOM?  I don't want to flush because there is something weird in here, and I didn't do it."  Oh crap.  Literally.  Someone did some business earlier, and now it is alive.

So occasinally someone in the sorority would drop a deuce so large it would merit all-house attention, because what is more Ripley's Believe it Or Not than a sorority girl with a huge crap?  A girl in our house discovered this Wonder of Science and did what was then called an "All House Buzz" on the buzzer system, essentially meaning "gather round".  Sisters filed into the bathroom one by one to see this anomaly, and one particularly sensitive girl stepped out and said, in a very panicky, breathy voice, "SOME HORRIBLE FRATERNITY BOY. HAS PUT. HORSE POOP. IN OUR TOILET!"  The poor sister who had the duty of House Manager at the time, Joan, had to take a coat hanger and break it up to get it to flush.  Ah, college memories. Thus concludes this somewhat gross and highly tangental story.  Let's return to Black Friday, shall we?

SO, one of the kids clogged the toilet, and Current Husband and I are fixing it while the kids are in the van, waiting to leave for Thanksgiving.  I look at CH and laugh, "Isn't this what you dreamed about on our wedding day?  Us, together, in the bathroom, unclogging the work of one of our offspring on the holidays?"  He smiled like, "NO." and then, toilet fixed, we took off for a nearly three-hour trip of kids bickering and various Ke$ha songs on the radio and CH's mom calling to see where we were because the food was almost ready.

The meal was served, and it was highly delicious.  My MIL is a kick-ass cook.  I brought an awesome bottle of chardonnay, and was well into it when someone brought up Black Friday.  My brother-in-law, Jeremy, and I had never been Black Friday shopping.  We discussed the fact that the only place to shop within an hour of where we were seated was Wal-Mart, located 15 minutes away in Prairie du Chein, Wisconsin.  Laughing, we looked at the Black Friday flier, and HEY! They have doorbusters at midnight, and then the good stuff goes on sale at 5 a.m.  NO ONE will be shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving in Prairie du Chein, right?  Jeremy and I decide to break our cherries.  We are going Black Friday shopping.  Everyone else says, "No effing way, have fun you freaks."  They loosen their belts and undo their top buttons and go to sleep.  At 10:50, Jeremy and I get into the van and head out for Wal-Mart.

The whole way there we are laughing about how we are going to be the only people there.  Who would shop at midnight on Thanksgiving Day?  We are CA-RAY-ZEE!  The mood is merry.  Then, we pull into the parking lot and look at each other.  What the hell.  The parking lot is packed.  It is 11:05 p.m.  This has to be a mistake.  We walk into the store.

Everything is cordoned off.  Wal-Mart employees are running around all panicky.  There are huge, shrink-wrapped cubes of product in the aisles, with big signs that say, "DOES NOT GO ON SALE UNTIL 12:01 a.m."  Some items are wraped in black and say, "DOES NOT GO ON SALE UNTIL 5 a.m."  People are literally standing around the cubes with their hands on them, as though it is a contest where if you are the last person with their hand on the car you win it.  I stop laughing.  I get a little nervous.  Jeremy and I sync our cell phones and split up.  I won't see Jeremy again until 12:45 a.m.

I get to the video game cube.  Hard-ass looking women are standing around it.  The predominant look is tightly curled perm with faded Disney-themed hoodie.  One woman growls, "I've been here for over an hour and I need a fucking cigarette."  Oh God.  It was like I was in prison all over again. 

One woman looks at me and says, I swear to you, "First time?"  I smile weakly and nod.  Do not make me your bitch, oh please, do not, I am a terrible bitch, I swear. 
"What are you here for?" she asks.
"Um, Modern Warfare 2 and NCAA 11." I wait.  Perhaps I should have gone with Ponyville.
"Well I'm hear for Red (something) Redemption, and you do NOT want to get in front of me!" she chuckles.  "This isn't MY first time!"
"Oh, I won't," I assure her.
"Let me give you some tips," she says.  "First, everyone here is nice now, but when midnight hits they will turn on you.  Second, grab your game and hold it to your chest, people will try to take it out of your hands.  Next, DO NOT put it in your cart.  Someone will take it out of your cart if they see it."
"Thanks," I say.  I'm grateful for the tips, but now I am actually scared I will get hurt.  I leave and try another area of the store.  It is the same EVERYWHERE.  Tabletop griddles?  Check.  Shark steam vac?  Check.  Fleece pajama bottoms?  Check.  I totally steer clear of the Barbie VW Bug and Full Size Trampoline areas, because I can see nothing good is going to happen there.  This is WISCONSIN.  What is it like at the Wal-Mart in downtown Detroit?  I head back to the games and manage to get back in position.
"It's the same everywhere, isn't it?" my girlfriend says knowingly.
"How long until midnight?" she asks.
"About 20 minutes."
"God, I need a fucking cigarette."

At 11:56 p.m., a manager starts to unwrap the shrink wrap on a cube about 4 cubes down from mine.  My girlfriend says, "I'm taking mine" and rips the plastic.  Absolute pandemonium breaks out, as women start tearing shrink wrap everywhere.  I stand, paralyzed, and a hand with yellowed fingernails hands me a copy of Modern Warfare 2 and NCAA 11.  If I had a cigarette, it would be hers.  I turn and run into a woman leaving the stack of Wizards of Waverly Place DS games, so I grab one of those and a Toy Story 3 and Zhu-Zhu Pets game for Wii.  And Cooking Mama Absolute Gardener.  And Tony Hawk Ultimate Urban Skater.

I start aimlessly wandering around the store, watching the mayhem over SpongeBob robes and 17 Again DVDs, listening to people talk about a woman who power-vomited all over the back of the games area, when I hear my name.  It is Jeremy, in line with Wii games and a Nerf gun set.  He says, "Get in line!  There are only 4 checkers!" and I walk the quarter mile to the back of the line.  The next half hour was a blur, as I watched people scramble for a place in line.  Fights broke out, people were angry, and young children were tiredly being pushed along by their parents.  And this was for the midnight sales, not the 5 a.m. rush with flat screen TVs, cameras, and computers!  Happy Birthday Jesus!  This is all for you!

We finally got in the van and left the parking lot, shell-shocked.  I told Jeremy about my prison bitch, and Jeremy said, "Oh, I have you beat.  I was back by the DVDs and a woman who looked like she was drunk started puking everywhere.  People were clearing away and telling her to get out, and one woman completely freaked out and started screaming at shoppers, DO NOT STEP BACK HERE!  LEAVE THIS PLACE!" I looked at Jeremy, stunned.  "I heard of this vomiting woman!  People were talking about her all over the store!  You SAW it??!"  Jeremy nodded solemly.  "I saw it, I smelled it, I will never get it out of my brain.  Then, ten minutes later, I saw her actually shopping, covered in her own puke."

I saved about $180 on games.  Jeremy saved about $100 on his Wii and Nerf items.  However, we both agreed this was our first and last Black Friday.  We decided neither of us has the Right Stuff to be a Black Friday shopper.  Next year, I'm having a third piece of pie, unbuttoning the top button, sleeping soundly and peacefully while others claw through the crowds.  If I must vomit on Thanksgiving, it will be in the relative comfort of my in-laws bathroom.

Other than that, we had a fabulous Thanksgiving, and much to be thankful for this year.  I hope yours was excellent as well!  Have a great week!


Jody said...

It sounds like my worst nightmare - thanks for making at sound funny :)

So much for the Christmas Spirit eh? Although times were harder 60 years ago, I think I would have preferred Christmas back when one toy would have sufficed.


Pat said...

Every time a hanger has to be reconfigured to roast marshmellows I think of the "incident." Now I know why I don't eat s'mores.

Melinda said...

I have never had a bad experience on Black Friday, but I never go to Walmart. That place brings out the crazies!

Lynn MacDonald said...

Two words: Internet shopping! That is all...oh and its Red Dead Redemption. Kind of sad i know all that shit!

GrandeMocha said...

Honey, there aren't Walmarts/Targets in Detroit. You have to go to the suburbs to shop. I used to work at the Target on border of Detroit/Dearborn many years ago. On regular Sundays people would attack the stock boys bringing out stuff on sale & rip the boxes open on the rolling cart. I can't imagine what that store is like now on Black Friday. That would be a great video game, "Black Friday in Detroit." OK maybe not such a great idea.

International Woman of Mystery said...

I'm so glad that you experienced Black Friday and could tell me all about it so I didn't need to be there myself!

Sounds insane. But it does sound like you saved a lot of money. I guess I wonder how much money you really saves versus other promotions that are bound to run over the season...

But I guess if you are out at midnight on Black Friday it's as much about the experience as about the discount, right?

Thanks for sharing! The puking lady story is a great one!

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