Approximately 8 years ago, my husband was getting up at 4 am to get ready to go in to work and while he was getting ready, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.
It was a Friday,
not just any Friday,
As I sat and drank 2 of my overly large cups of coffee, I felt a sudden burst of energy and started looking at the ads that sat taunting me on my table. I had never gone to a Black Friday event before, I thought those people who did had completely lost their marbles but I wondered if I were missing something, I secretly wanted to try it and there were some great prices on toys that would save me some money and hey, I was all ready up, bonus!
While I was still contemplating this, my eldest daughter got up to use the bathroom and I spotted her as she walked back towards her warm, comfy bed obviously still 3/4 of the way asleep, her eyes seemingly still shut.
I, in my highly caffeinated state, said, “Amber, do you want to go shooopiingggg?”
At that point, my daughter stopped, and, in slow motion, turned to look at me and the look on her face was priceless. She looked at me as if I were an alien who had just landed on Earth and asked her if she wanted to go to Mars. I honestly wish you could have seen it. She then, in an equally incredulous voice said “Mom, it’s still DARK outside!
I then had to guide her sleepiness over to the couch where I was sitting and explain to her the concept of Black Friday. I assure you, she was wishing at that point in time that the woman who gave birth to her wasn’t a bit of a nutcase. In fact, if I read the expression on her face correctly, I think she was trying to figure out if she were living a nightmare. All she wanted was to make her way back to slumberland. She just sat there….speechless, trying to figure out how to get out of this.
I didn’t give her the chance. It’s the ‘attack while the brain’s still sleeping’ strategy.
Next thing we all knew, I went in, woke up her younger sister, told them “Get dressed! HURRY! Oh and dress warmly, we’ll have to wait in a really long line in the cold until the store opens!” Good times!
My poor, defenseless daughters
So I too readied myself, bundled us all up, grabbed the ads, some hot chocolate & we bolted out the door. Ok, I bolted, they dragged their butts still in utter, complete shock at the abuse I was inflicting on them.
As we arrived at the store and saw the line, the adrenaline hit me. It’s that feeling that we Black Friday shoppers know all too well, the “OH no! I have to hurry, the line is getting long and I may not get the things I came for” feeling. I believe my main shopping goal was a radio for an unbelievable low price and a few games for my nephew who was 4 at the time.
So we made our way to the line. Ahhh… here we are, we’ve now assured ourselves amongst at least the first 100 or so to get in the store! The girls, a little more awake now, shivered beneath their layers of clothing. I got the ad out and we huddled & strategized.
Ok, I strategized, they glared
Before we knew it, it was time. The line was moving. I told them to stay close, and hold on to my clothing so that we would all stay together. (For the record, I purposely did not take my gentle offspring to one of the stores that are known for causing violence during this tradition. I took them to one of the milder ones for all of our safety.)
So there we were, shuffling along with the line, towards that open door,
and good deals
As we passed the “late arrivers” who were kept at bay by security so as not to rush to the front of the line that we early birds had spent freezing our noses and our toeses off, I couldn’t help but feel a little bratty schoolgirl come out in me and I secretly wanted to yell “Ha ha! No butting! WE actually got here EARLY” but now that wouldn’t be a good example for my impressionable teen & preteen would it? So I spanked that bratty schoolgirl and sent her to the corner of my mind while I walked exactly 2 inches from the lady in front of me, grasping my children the whole way.
Once through the doors, we hurriedly grabbed a cart and walked quickly towards electronics.
The adrenaline & excitement were palatable.
As we neared the area where the radios were, I could see a palette of them towards the back of the aisle. I guided the girls to a safe area out of the flow of traffic “Wait here and hold on to our cart. I’m going in there” and pointed towards the huddle of about 40 sandwiched people sardined in the aisle waiting to get their deal, the same deal I wanted. The girls looked at me with that all too familiar “Are you crazy” look on their faces. I do believe I also saw fear for the safety of their caretaker,
I think they thought I may not come back. I assured them it was ok. I will return to go on to our next goal. And with that, I left my young to guard our cart while I threw myself into the hoard of feeding shoppers.
Making ones’ way towards the loot is not for the chlosterphobic. You are squished in a small area with strangers, your fellow humans, all hoping to get a good deal on an item that will make you the family hero, all while saving a few bucks.
As I emerged from the crowd, holding the radio above my head, not in victory but because there was no room to hold it in front of me, my girls spotted me and I could see the relief and the pride on their young faces. I had gone into the fire and emerged not only in tact to feed them another day but also with loot! They started jumping up and down cheering “YAY MOM! You got one!!” because they’re a little crazy too.
I felt like the champion provider of tunes that day! I think it was that moment that their attitudes changed. Something in their minds ‘clicked’, I had created 2 little black Friday monsters.
NO time to waste relishing this moment though, this store had games like Ice Breakers and Cooties for $1.88 a piece! What a STEAL! Carry on to the toy department!
Again, the loot we wanted was at the very back of the toy aisle, as I swiftly set my youngins in a safe, quiet place just steps away from the chaos, I said, Wait here, I’m going in! And this time I did not see fear on their faces, I saw pride! They too were pumped with anticipation and adrenaline. I even heard them chanting as I walked into the hoard of people “GO MOM, GO MOM” I was never prouder to have 2 supportive nutcase daughters.
I again, made my way back to the poor, defenseless underpaid workers at the back of the aisle handing out these games off of big palates. I grabbed the game “Cooties” for my nephew and holding it above my head (this time for victory’s sake) made my way back towards the edge of the crowd. Before I reached the end of the crowd I heard my youngest exclaiming at the top of her voice “Mom’s got COOTIES!!! Mom’s Got Cooties!!!” When I finally reached her, through my hysterical laughter I told her she may not want to yell that too loud and the 3 of us laughed our butts off as I saw the realization of what she had been saying fall across her face.
Good times for sure.
I thank God for my little nut cases, they’re the best daughters in the world.
In the end, we stood in an all too long line for the check out, relishing our victories as a team, packed our loot into our car, went to breakfast and relived it all, giggling the whole time.
Now, years later, with my oldest away at college, I called her a week ago to tell her how much I couldn’t wait for her to come home for Thanksgiving. When I asked “So, should we plan to get up at 3 am to go Black Friday shopping?” She answered without hesitation “YES!!!!!!!”
and so it continues.
Wish us luck!