Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday

I am not a shopper ! Actually, I have never really been a shopper. I prefer to go in, get "it", and leave. I do not enjoy wandering in stores, looking for "deals"; and I am not a window-shopper. Goodness, I don't even read the sale ads in the newspaper beyond the occassional Grocery Store ad. HA !! DadToCherub's friends and coworkers just do not believe that he is married to a non-shopper woman, however. (HA !) If they only knew ... I not only hate to shop ... I do not even like to shop online, even while sipping yummy coffee and comfy in my PJs plus slippers. I just do NOT like to shop ... period.
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That being said .... I have not shopped on Black Friday in many years. Actually I have only gone shopping on THAT day once before (6 years ago). I was pregnant with Cherub 6, and due in mid-December. So, like all good "nesters", I wanted to get all of the Christmas to-do list finished so that I did not have to worry about it later in December ...should we encounter a problem, or a time-crunch (which we WOULD have experienced, had we waited. Cherub 6 was born on December 18th, one and a half "miserable" weeks late !). DadToCherubs and I went out together on that Black Friday -- and it was TRULY AWFUL --- really really SUPER awful !! We still talk about it, with near-horror in our voices .... (hee hee hee)
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Back to the present .... after a lovely Thanksgiving Holiday here at home with my parents and DadToCherub's father ...I was feeling brave, a bit inspired, and was filled with a "let's get this part over with so we can enjoy the holiday season" spirit (only felt so strongly by a true NON-shopper !) .... and did I mention that I was feeling VERY BRAVE ???
So, without much planning other than my basic "need to get a gift for so-and-so list", I decided to venture out on Black Friday to get at least some Christmas Shopping done. I decided to start out at 11am, rather than venture out any earlier. I hoped that most of the "Christmas Crazies" in search of those elusive "deals" would be a bit more sedate by the later morning hours.
Toys R Us was a mad house ... crowds in every isle .... the store itself resembling a war-zone, with toys strewn all over the floors, parents wandering blurry-eyed through the isles. But I got through it, finding everything I was looking for.
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When I left Toys R Us after waiting in a long line and finally checking out, I noticed more than a few pitiful-faced Dads and Grandads sitting on the benches, looking timid and stunned --- shopping is generally not a man's favorite activity, so I can only guess that Black Friday shopping is certainly not something they look forward to. (HA !)

Hobby Lobby was a mass of inspired crafters searching for supplies, and was also full of Christmas-decoration shoppers. Yet, desite the crowds, it was rather calm. The check out lines were pretty civilized considering the sheer number of people waiting in them.

Barnes & Noble was wonderful !!! Busy, but not crowded. The clerks were very helpful, and were pleasant. I did manage to find quite a few lovely gifts there, and of course soothed my weary self with a nice Peppermint Mocha Coffee (with whipped cream !) and a giant sugar cookie with red sprinkles. The coffee and cookie were JUST what I needed. (as always - right ?!?!)
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Next, I stopped at a large Christian bookstore (Lifeway) . Here the "spirit of Christ" was conspicuously missing in all of the grabbing, snide remarks, elbowing, and "shopping". Christian music was literally BLARING over the loudspeakers -- it was anything BUT restful at that volume !! The clerks were stressed, but even so, they should have been polite and helpful. Yet, they were certainly NOT polite or helpful !! I will say that "this" was one of the most unpleasant times of my whole day (said in retrospect) and I will not be visiting any Christian bookstores for holiday shopping again. Instead I will handle that part of my shopping online in the years to come. Who would have thought ... a store likely full of professing-Christians ... the spirit of Christmas .... hummmmmmmmmmmmm.
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After that delightful experience (not !), I stopped here and there at a few "small" shops. These were calm and "sane", renewing and soothing my spirit for what was to come. (HA !)

Next, I drove to an offical "shopping center". Not a mall, mind you, but a collection of stores in one "shopping park". I could see WalMart in the distance -- with droves and droves of people coming and going. Needless to say, I did NOT go there ... you could not have DRAGGED me into WalMart.
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OHHHHH MYYYYYY !! The crowds -- the drivers -- the lack of parking. This shopping area was not the best idea I had all day, but I parked and decided that I was " goin' in ". HA !
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At this point, I parked, and sat in my car while debating just going home. While sitting, I looked through my list, realizing that I was almost finished .... so decided to stick to shopping for just a little while longer. I looked back at the crowds, and debated a little more ... eventually summoning up the courage to get out of the car and head for the stores. Hummmmmmm.
Super Target was MUCH more daunting than any store I had been in earlier, considering the sheer size of it. The walls seemed almost alive, ebbing and flowing with all of the activity. By comparison, even Toys R Us was calmer. Long lines, a very crowded Electronics area, clothing strewn into the isles, clerks rushing in every direction, children have sword-fights with tubes of wrapping paper, babies crying, temper-tantrums from tots kicking and screaming in the isles, desparate calls from store personnel blaring over the loud-speakers ... but the Toy section was absolutely INSANE !! Shopping carts, adults with walkie-talkies, people trying to talk on cell-phones, crazed shoppers throwing "elbows" to make people move, more children throwing temper tantrums over "NO" responses from parents, and wayyyyy too many toys that made all sort of obnoxious noises. YIKES !!
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Nope, Target was NOT fun. I got the few things on my list that HAD to come from there ... and headed to the registers, only to wait an hour in line. Can you believe that only half of the registers were "open" ... on Black Friday ... can you imagine ?!?! (That store manager did not plan very well !)
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I survived ... but it was NOT a place for the timid, nor those with heart trouble !
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Yet I continued to persevere. BRAVERY is a funny thing ... but it was waning.

My last stop was Old Navy .... and it was #3 of the worst stores, second only to Target (#2) and Lifeway Christian Store (#1). Crowds, buggies, people bickering, children screaming and crying, fitting rooms full of impatient people insisting that they wore sizes other than "matching" to their body sizes, clerks stressed to the max ... and a line for the register that took over an hour to get through. But .... I finished shopping in there .... finally .... personally vowing not to go back to Old Navy until next spring. HA !
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When I arrived back at my car,
I was finished. Literally !
I had finished shopping, and was also physically spent !
What an absolutely exhausting day !!
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I managed to purchase every single thing on my list for our immediate family. Yahoo !!
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On my list are just a few small "very specific" things that I will buy closer to home before sending them "north" to extended family. So, there is only a small handful of gifts remain un-purchased.
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I survived .... with my wits about me (despite being a bit shell-shocked) .... my body intact with without injury (but there were several close-calls) ... and I can still "face" myself in the mirror because my dignity remained intact. HA !! I even had money left over. (This fact alone would be yet another shock for DadToCherub's friends and coworkers - ha ! But they would never believe him. HA !)
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If the stores look this bad during a TOUGH ECONOMIC YEAR ... I cannot imagine what a GOOD ECONOMIC YEAR would be like. YIKES !! I am curious to see the "Black Friday Numbers" come on the news Monday .... to see if retailers end up having a good year, or if they have the bad year that forecasters predicted. I wonder .......
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I am, however, still curious how people manage to keep any Christmas Spirit at all when they are in the stores from midnight to midnight on Black Friday, bickering over "deals" and "steals", living out those "wild tales" that we read about in the newspapers on Saturday and Sunday.
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Glad it's not me.
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And if you are one of "those" type people I saw in the stores on Saturday ... please cross us off your gift-giving list. We certainly do not want it nor need it badly enough that you should sacrifice your dignity, heart, soul, body, and mind.
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Yikes !
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Happy Holidays !!

4 comments:

3'sacharm said...

You are BRAVE!!! I am not a shopper either and I always volunteer to work if I am not already scheduled---just to keep me from having to make a necessary trip into "the zone." Miss you guys!

Global_Mum said...

I just had to comment...

I have never gone Black Friday shopping and now living overseas it doesn't exist..not even an option. So when my sister told me she was going out to the sales I felt a slight tinge of jealousy thinking of how much farther my tight budget could go if only I could go Black Friday shopping...needless to say you put life into perspective and I am happy to say I will finish my shopping online today without a single regret!

THANK YOU!!

MamaLion said...

I am truly astonished!!!! You??? My anti-shopping buddy??? I am now convinced that you do not hate shopping as much as I do. Shopping on Black Friday is something I never have done and never plan to do, EVER! :)

Lori said...

i also hate to shop -- i just want to buy & escape. i haven’t shopped black friday in *years* -- and your tale doesn’t make me want to go again! ;^)

how wonderful to be completely finished with your shopping, though, and able to relax and enjoy the season. :^)