Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday, Target, and Idiots

On Thanksgiving morning, the paper was thick with "Black Friday" ads enticing recession-weary people to stores in hopes of grabbing a bargain for Christmas. For the Dunhams, that involves not just Christmas but planning for a trip to Disney World in March.

We need a new portable DVD player. Ethan has now gone through three or four in his brief four-plus years of life, and, despite admonishing him not to touch the "guts" of the DVD, he routinely does so. The last one lasted only a few months. So, I carefully went through every ad and considered the aggravation factor of heading out for 5:00 a.m. sales on Black Friday, a tradition that I consider idiotic at best. Yet, as a parent, I have succumbed to the idiocy by considering trekking out among the rabid crowds.

Not quite. At 7:15 this morning, I awoke and thought "What the hell. I'll head to Target for the $47.00 RCA product." I got there, found a parking space amid the madness, and walked in to find lines and lines and lines of people snaking up and down aisle after aisle just to get in line for checkout. I saw an acquaintance in line who sighed and said he'd been in line over an hour just to check out.

With visions of my son in my head, I thought I would suck it up, find my one product and stand in line. How bad could it really be? I had retrieved a basket in the parking lot on the off chance that I would find additional treasures to purchase, so I tried to maneuver the cart through the lines of shoppers. People much less visionary than I eyed my cart with envy at the empty cart stand, and I silently chuckled at their lack of foresight. As I slowly advanced through the melee, I discovered that deep in the store, there were actually rent-a-cops directing traffic...telling shoppers "you can proceed to that check out line."

My immediate reaction was "TSA rejects CAN find jobs" because these people, while annoyingly pleasant, seemed to enjoy the power of directing traffic in a store. As I tried to progress, the lines grew deeper along with my resentment. In addition, people oblivious to others, walked slowly, swerved in front of me, and generally pissed me off. "For the love of God! Have you no consideration? Have you no peripheral vision? Have you no decency?" I wanted to scream them all, but with a couple well placed "accidental" bumps of the cart and a mumbled "Sorry, excuse me" I finally made it to the electronic aisle which is conveniently nestled near the deodorant selection at Target.

I assume the proximity of hygiene products and electronics is designed to help people like me who tend to get heated by the indifference and stupidity of shoppers. As I bumped my way through shoppers who thought nothing of parking their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle barely leaving room for the potato-sack ass barely contained in their stained sweatpants gifted in a long ago festive Christmas season, I finally found my goal: Portable DVD's.

The $47.00 item was gone.

And so was my good humor and patience.

I left my cart in the aisle because, frankly, I didn't care about inconveniencing any of the people on whom I had just wished quick and uncomfortable bowel movements. Rather, I left in a hurry only to be blocked by one itinerant woman who seemed intent on swerving side-to-side like a 1965 Buick with a leaky tire on a two lane road. It took me what seemed like five minutes to pass her, and I found my friend had advanced five feet. After my half hour trek through the madness, I was at home intent on paying whatever premium price was required just so I didn't have to deal with "Black Friday" idiots.

Later, I ventured out to Fred Meyer, found my purchases at less than Target, and emerged from the store happy, content, and relieved to have completed half my shopping in less than 10 minutes which is every man's dream and as it should be.

Black Friday is evidently the description of a man's mood Christmas shopping.

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