My wife, Donna, and I decided to venture out for what everyone
calls Black Friday. That is the sadistic shopping day right after
Thanksgiving. This was my first exposure to this masochist bargain
hunting ritual and I learned first hand that its name is a bit of a
misnomer. It really should be called "Black and Blue Friday"
because that is how you feel when you finish.
Now, don't get me wrong; I like a good deal just as much as
anybody. I'm just not willing to risk my life for it. And that is
about what I found myself doing. I found myself in a store with
people who were running about like crazed, stampeding buffalos.
I will admit that I am not always the brightest light on the
tree, but when I see a full shopping cart sitting in the middle of
the aisle, and no one is around, I just assume it has been put
there by the store staff and is meant to be looked through. So I
got all excited when I found such a cart full of all of the things
on sale, and I didn't have to hunt all over the store for them. But
in the middle of looking through what was in the shopping cart,
someone came along and she was madder than a grizzly bear mother
when you mess with her cub. I was just glad we weren't in the
hunting section of the store or she might have considered it open
season on me.
And all of this was after the work of finding a store that
actually had something left.
Once we were able to track down something worth purchasing,
Donna and I found the checkout line. It started at the checkout
stands, went across the front of the store to the farthest side
aisle, all the way to the back aisle of the store, and then back to
the middle of the store again. Someone in line informed us that it
was a two hour wait to checkout. I told Donna that there is nothing
in this world that I want or need bad enough to wait in line for
To me, it just didn't compute. Spend two hours in a line to save
twelve dollars on a purchase. That's six bucks an hour, which is
lower than minimum wage. I just told her I'd work two more hours
and pay the regular price.
We decided to leave the store, but we needed to put the items
back. On the way to the appropriate aisle, we found the
again-unattended cart of the pit bull of a woman who had chewed on
me before. I almost left the items in her cart as a gesture of good
will and peace on earth, but Donna thought it probably wouldn't
Donna wanted us to go to another store to try to find the items
she was looking for. I suggested that maybe I ought to try to do
something a little less dangerous, like stick my finger in a 220
volt electric socket, but, nonetheless, I soon found myself with
her in the mall. That is when I decided that the name of that place
is also totally misspelled this time of year. I think it is
supposed to be spelled 'Maul' not 'Mall'.
In this time of holly, jolly merriment, I felt I somehow had
inadvertently wandered into the land of Scrooge and Bah-Humbug. I
didn't see anyone smiling. I thought I would change that by trying
to spread some Christmas cheer like you see people do on the
Hallmark television specials. Waving, saying hi, and acting nice
just made people stare at me suspiciously. Donna thought it might
be a good idea if I waited in the car. I, of course, was very happy
to oblige. That was exactly what I wanted to do anyway. How she
enjoyed the experience, I'll never know. Regardless, I think I was
successfully un-invited to future Black Friday excursions.
Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and