I love Black Friday.
I know, I know. You wouldn’t be caught dead going out in the early morning hours the day after Thanksgiving and punching an old lady in the face just to get a Blu-ray player. And only Americans would immediately follow a day pondering gratitude with a shopping orgy.
I’ve heard it all before.
I don’t care.
Perhaps ironically, I hate shopping in general. I especially hate shopping in crowds. But I love Black Friday.
It’s a holiday tradition. We have almost no hard and fast traditions in my family. We’ve been known to eat pizza or spaghetti on Thanksgiving Day. A Christmas tree is optional. Sometimes we spend these days with friends, sometimes with family, and sometimes we punt on the whole thing and go to the movies.
I’ve long said that Christmas would be better if it ran on the Olympics schedule…once every four years.
But on Black Friday, Mom and I do our thing. We stay away from the violent places…we went to Target and Wal-Mart one year and it wasn’t our thing. But there’s more to Black Friday than standing in a four hour line to get one of the three cheap television sets in stock.
We wake up early in the morning, pack a sack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, load the cooler with Pepsi and hit the road. We’re at JCPenney by five a.m. There’s a mad rush, but nobody ever gets punched out. There are plenty of sixty-per-cent-off flannel sheets for everyone!
We scour the door buster sales for sheets, blankets, scarves, bath towels, and sweaters. Seventy-five percent of my winter wardrobe consists of ten dollar sweaters I bought at JCPenney on Black Friday. This year I also scored a frying pan.
My Dad came with us this year for the first time. He looked like a deer in the headlights in the bedding department. While I ripped through packages of flannel sheets and Mom dove for the last green throw (a perfect match for her couch!), Dad stood paralyzed, watching the carnage like the captain of the Titanic. He made a few attempts, but he just doesn’t have the killer instinct. I think he was relieved when we loaded him up with our treasures like a pack horse. It gave him purpose and a reason to avoid the worst of the mêlée.
He did eventually pick out some socks and a pair of gloves.
Once we’ve conquered JCPenney, we retreat to the car for a well-deserved breakfast of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Pepsi. This provides the necessary sugar rush to take on Half Price Books. This lovely used bookstore offers twenty-percent-off all merchandise. The first one hundred people through the doors (which always includes us) receive a tote bag with a five dollar gift card inside. One lucky shopper (which never includes us) gets a one hundred dollar gift card.
We watch the sun rise from the shelves of romances, mysteries, and history books. When the sugar high wears off, we head back to the car for another fortifying Pepsi.
This ends our Black Friday Frenzy. We used to go to Best Buy as well, once the crowds had died down, but by nine a.m. the place looks like it’s been ravaged by Vikings. The cheap televisions and DVDs are long gone, leaving only a few half-off thumb drives.
We head home like happy Vikings ourselves, and Mom takes pictures of our loot and posts them on Facebook.
Because if it’s not on Facebook, it never happened.