November 24, 2006


Attention shoppers

"We goin?" I said.

"Yep. Let's do it."

I had the ads from the turkey day edition ready - folded eight ways to a perfect display of the two items from one store and one item from another. One item's store opens at five, the other at six. We should be able to swing our great grab and be back to the house by seven.

Her enthusiasm for our task seemed diminished, hidden below a veneer of experience from years previous. I was as giddy as prom queen with a box of condoms, oh so ready to have my Black Friday cherry popped.

My first mistake, as assessed by the veteran queen of BF, was sitting down for a quick bowl of oatmeal, a little nourishment to help me stand out in the cold. “Your costing us, mister,” she said.

“You gotta be kidding me,” I replied.

“I most certainly am not. You’ll see – it’s brutal out there.” Her tone held wisdom, and so I scarfed the rest of my food down, poured the juice back, got dressed and was standing by the door ready to go as she was letting the dogs back inside.

I pulled out onto our dark country lane to begin the 15-minute drive to the mall. It was 4:27, and she knew we were running late. The cool veneer was being exponentially planed away as the miles and minutes rolled on. As we were leaving the house and three cars had driven by, she looked at me nervously. We knew people weren't out at this ungodly hour on the morning after Thanksgiving travelling to work. They were competition.

We came to the intersection with a busier road towards town, and waited at the stop sign as four more vehicles zoomed in front of us. “Dammit,” she said, her frustration not affecting my idiot grin. Our next turn was onto the road that the mall was on, and traffic was picking up vehicles from every cross street. She squirmed and sighed as we missed a green light by 10 seconds. A little compact sedan drove solitary in the opposite direction. “Ha! Where’s that fool think HE’s going?” she said, then looked sheepish as she grasped the absurdity of what she had just thought and the surreality of where WE were headed.

A light turned yellow – Starman mode! Very fast! “Go, go, GO!” she cried, visibly tensing and lurching forward. “Cool,” she said, calmed by our success.

“There’s a four-and-a-half car advantage in the right line,” I teasingly said a block later. She remained focus.

“Yeah, take it!” she screamed in my ear. I was starting to enjoy this a bit less.

We approached store number one, a big box electronics chain that had prices so low they were practically giving it away (okay, not really). We opted for parking in the home improvement store’s lot across the street when we saw the packed lot and line of several hundred people twisting around the end of the building. “I’ll get in line, you go up front to see if you need a voucher for the camcorder,” she directed firmly. I moved forward into a combination of lights from the parking lot and TV trucks – coverage you can count on at the front. Oh, the humanity!

I’ll confess right here that I failed in my first duty at the front of the line – a misunderstanding and miscalculation that led us to believe our item would likely be vouchered out by the time voucher dude got down to us. Her wheels turned furiously, pondering how to proceed to plan B with the aplomb necessary to keep us from having to enact any of plans C through H. “Okay, we’ll bag it here and head to the office supply store for your computer diddlybobs, then come back when the line’s down here, just in case the camcorder’s still available.”

She was like a field marshal in her execution of our duties. “Hail, Hail, Freedonia!” was the picture that came to mind.

Plan B was in full swing, and with vouchers obtained for items three and four, the marshal left me to carry on and dispatched herself back to store one to attempt a second offensive toward the camcorder. As her corporal I valiantly sailed through my mission with colors flying, and then the call came in over our communicators. “They’re out. I got within five people of the wizard of camcorders when he announced not nobody - not nohow!”

I was crestfallen - the prom queen deflowered and unrespected in the morning. “Come pick me up,” I said, pretty sure I needed that to be a double entendre.

As we pulled away via the secret back way that amazingly avoided traffic (another stroke of brilliant strategy from the marshal), I mousily fumbled with another ad I brought as a back up, and suggested an alternative store for the camcorder – not as good a deal, but hell we were committed and the plastic was burning a hole in my wallet already. The marshal resumed her cool, but was noticeably recharged by the possibility of completing our trifecta through a well-executed plan C.

We headed across town, inspired by the day’s good fortune and battle well-fought. I turned the radio up, closed my eyes and smiled a big crazy smile.


When Black Friday comes, I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes, I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes, I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book
Gonna do just what I please. Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos
When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will

When Black Friday comes, I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me. The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name

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Ha! I love that song, love Steely Dan. Good job on the shopping. LOL

All I bought today was tacos from the drive-thru. I hate leftovers.
You've got to be fucking kidding me... You ventured out into that hell? On purpose and with purpose! I'm crushed. I thought better of ya'll than that (grin).

GREAT story. Big ole kudos!

Miss you guys (sniff sniff) can't wait til potluck!
Yeah, Rikki Don't Lose That Number prolly woulda worked too. It was fun doing a surgical strike into the midst of the 6,000 at Hamilton Place Mall.

ITA on the leftovers, though we weren't hosts this year and ducked out before anything could be foisted upon us.
Oh, hey D! Simultaneous commenting, we. I was late for work (really?) cuz when we got home "I'll just nap a bit before heading in..."

Git the camcorder for potluck. Beelers doesn't seem amused, but with enough marshalling...
"The Royal Scam" would probably work best......!

Imagine all the fun you'll have next year when you bring the baby along and have to maim some soccer mom to get a "Farting Elmo" or somesuch.
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