The Simple Drama of Black Friday

“Sarah… will you be crazy with me?”

Who can say no to that question?

Especially when your husband is smiling at you with big brown eyes promising you the same romance and adventure as when he asked you to marry him….

And that’s how I ended up at Wal-Mart at 1am on Black Friday.

I’ve never really “done” Black Friday before… except once… when my family was staying in a hotel across the street from a shopping center. I vaguely remember sitting on the floor of an electronics department at 5am or something trying to decide about a camera.

If there’s one thing I know about myself it’s that I’m indecisive, which does not bode well for a person on Black Friday when quick, bold ACTION is required. This year was nothing different as I was fretfully debating our purchase of a TV all the way to the store. After all, aren’t “my kinda people” supposed to “Buy Nothing” on Black Friday in silent protest of all things materialistic. Are we even supposed to own a TV at all?

I preemptively established a code word “Avocado,” which I informed Billy could be loosely translated two ways. If he heard me shouting it faintly from behind, he should assume it meant “Stop walking so fast and turn around.. I’m being trampled by a mob!!!” If I’m bellowing it loudly while chasing behind him towards the check-out line, my meaning is “Don’t be that crazy! Why are you buying such a big TV? Avocado! AVOCADO!”

The parking lot was packed and when someone crashed into the cart return while trying to beat us to a parking space we weren’t even planning to pull into, I knew it was going to be my kind of night. The energy was palpable and new friends just a “Can I borrow your sale paper?” away.

Stores have really gotten a handle on the whole mob scene, though, so it was less “let’s-race-to-electronics” and more “please-wait-in-line-here.” That’s fine… it gave me the opportunity to pick up some diced tomatoes while Billy stood in line.

It was during my store-wide browsing (which was impeded by the maze-like line routes set up all over the store) that I learned we were in line ONLY for the bigger TV of the two between which we were debating. I scurried back to my husband who had moved up in line.

“How is this possible?” I asked him since they had yet to start selling people TVs. He gleefully detailed how the masses can’t follow directions and when they were handed a ticket, they rushed layaway only to be told they must return to line. Billy took advantage of the foolishness of mobs to move closer to the front.

I responded with my news that we were waiting for the bigger TV and maybe we should change lines because don’t we value simplicity and shouldn’t that mean a small TV or should we even really be here buying a TV at all?! AVOCADO! He looked at me, held up a slip of paper and dismissively said, “I already got a ticket.” Case closed.

We were now in line behind a woman who can only be described as an SNL sketch of a Wal-Mart customer… frizzed out perm, NASCAR t-shirt and all. To hear Billy tell it, she was also wearing a sweat band, jogging in place, and frantically warning the layaway rush mob of the error of their ways. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

Calmly and orderly, we were eventually awarded our TV and allowed to pay practically pennies for it at checkout. Billy did leave me alone with it while he went to acquire cables. When someone rushed me wanting to know how much I paid for it, I felt fear I might get punched, elation of the drama of it all, and moral ambiguity about if this was God telling me to give it away. I was not punched, nor did I pay it forward.

So now we have a new TV. I believe I was disdainful of it for the appropriate amount of time before I have decided to embrace it fully. Because let’s be real… it’s simply awesome.

1 comment

  1. Hahaha.... Embrace your new TV and the thrill of a good deal.


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