I didn’t blast anyone with pepper spray. I didn’t push and shove, (although I did bump into a woman who got really aggravated and said something nasty about me to her husband as I ran by) but I did snag the camera of my Black Friday dreams that had sold out at many stores in less than half an hour.
Let me explain.
Normally, I don’t participate in Black Friday. Too many crowds or maybe nothing that really enticed me to get out there and battle.
But this year, being on a mega-tight budget (can you say broke?) I scanned the flyers, circled my desires, made a list of my wants, and mapped out a plan.
Only my plan wasn’t really a good plan. First off, right on the front page of the Target flyer was a Nikon camera for $99. I need a new camera (confession: I held on to my Advantix long enough and it was high time to enter the digital age).
So, instead of lining up at midnight when doors opened, I slept.
Yup; no way was I going to be part of the midnight-push-shove-get-stomped-on frenzy.
Then, instead of bouncing up at 6 a.m. as I should have, I slept. Okay, I did get out the door by 8 o’clock, with visions of the camera waiting for me…only they were sold out. “Sold out last night” the boy said. What? No one saved me a camera? How could this be? My husband decided to kindly remind me to of the fact that THE CAMERA WAS ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE FLYER!! DID I THINK I WOULD BE THE ONLY ONE WHO WOULD WANT IT?
Ah, yes. Frankly, yah.
Oops. That’s when I gave my kids a long lecture on how if I really wanted the camera, I should have gone last night, yak yak, but I felt safety was more important than a camera yak yak, blah blah and all that (I figure if they can’t learn from my successes, they can at least learn from my failures).
On to the next Target ten minutes away.
“we sold out in half an hour,” the nice electronics person said.
Really? Isn’t this where my happy ending should have arrived in the form of: sure m’am, we have one left right over there….I started asking questions, which is what I usually do in times like this. A truck was coming that night, someone said. I grabbed hold and hung on tight: were more cameras coming in? They hemmed and hawed. They didn’t know. Really. A truck was coming in with a delivery that night. What is on it… they weren’t sure. You never know…..No one ever knows until it arrives. Should I return the next day? Maybe…Maybe not. I had my Plan B.
On to another city, where my parents live. A phone to call to the Target at the mall and a nice man declared, “Yes! We have 11 of those cameras left!” 11! At the mall! Who Knew? Come on kids, let’s go, in the style of a 1930s musical where the good guy gets the gig. Off we ran to the car! Let’s gooooo!
Only….who knew that finding a parking space at the mall on Black Friday would be akin to finding the lost city of Atlantis. Stressful doesn’t begin to describe driving and driving, searching for a space…that didn’t exist! Until finally, nearly half an hour later, we trailed a couple with their baby “Are you leaving?” we pleaded. Yes! Joyful Outcry! Trumpets please! We waited….(I forgot how long strapping a baby into a car seat can take) and finally…..the promised parking space…OURS!
One battle down, several more to go.
We raced into the mall to the Target (that is where I bumped the above-mentioned woman who snarled at me. Sorry if you are reading this. No harm intended!) Over to the photo department to find out…”the cameras are up in jewelry.” Up the escalator—that didn’t work (huff-puff-huff-puff up the stairs. I really need to work out!) on to the …..no one was working the jewelry department! The cameras were in….PHARMACY!
“The cameras are sold out,” the girl in the pharmacy glibly said.
But I was told…?
Nope. Gone. Sorry.
Did someone play a joke on me? Or did the 11 cameras sell in the hour it took me to get to the mall? Slow fade to a crawl out of the mall. Three bags of Doritos bought, one for me and each of my kids. Crunch, crunch, crunching to soothe the pain.
I gave up. I was going to go to another store and buy a camera on sale there. A different camera. Not the camera I wanted.
My kids, by this point, were moaning and groaning. Looking through the flyers the day before was fun, they moaned, but shopping was not. “We want to go home,” they begged.
“Please,” I said. “I’ll buy you guys candy canes if you come with me to one more store.”
But on the other way to the other store, I thought I’d make one last call to the Target on the other side of town just in case.
Remember those words…just in case….
Yes, the person who answered the phone in photo said, we have two left, but a man is looking at one of them.
Two left? Is this another ploy? Should I? Could I? Dare I?
Yup. Let’s do it.
My kids and my mother groaned. “Don’t get your hopes up,” I told them, without realizing they probably didn’t care less about the camera by now (“Mom, we thought we were getting clothes, boots, toys today” Ah, sorry, another day kids!)
On to Target. This time, I didn’t run. I was trying the best I could to preserve any little bit of respect my kids still had for me. “I don’t want to hear you go on and on because you didn’t get the camera,” my daughter said, and I realized that when I get in this frenzied mode, I can very easily go on and on and on. So I tried to stay calm, “no big deal if its not there,” I said walking through the parking lot (which was an obstacle course in itself). Into the store. Stay calm, I repeated to myself, stay calm. Footsteps getting faster and faster….then, “are there any of the Nikon cameras at $99 left?”
Then…pause (here's where it all gets a little fuzzy) “Over there” and sitting on the top shelf were the two final cameras left. I picked one up, walked over to the cashier…could it be that easy?
Then doubt—should I have bought the camera at Wal-mart? “Mom,” my kids rolled their eyes. I paid. We left the store.
Afterwards, my daughter sat in the basement of my parents house, playing with a rubber band at my father’s desk for hours. “What are you doing?” I asked.
Too much stress, she said, needed time alone. With a rubber band? Why aren’t you on the computer?
I need quiet! (I’ve never seen her like this before. Turning down time on Grandpa's cool computer?) Oops. So much for not causing stress for my kids. All the worst parts of me—obsessive sometimes, indecisive others, oblivious and spastic, came together. Black Friday, I believe, has a way of bringing out all our worst inclinations. Feeling deprived? Pull out the pepper spray and snag that x-box baby! Feeling boxed in? Fight for that $2.47 waffle maker (did anyone see the video? Yikes!)
And so, my lesson for the day; next year, get a babysitter. The crowds, the parking, all too much for kids.
About my camera: feels good to have it. Sort of.