Saturday, November 29, 2008

I survived Black Friday

Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment to a certain degree. Here it was the day after Thanksgiving, and I actually have the day off from work for a change, for the first time in 4 years, and what do I do? I get up at 4AM and drive across Walterboro to Wal-Mart.

By far, I was not the only idiot. No way. The lines at the camera counter, where I wanted to get a new digital, were over 100 people deep when I got there. They were still a hundred deep when I left the counter a hundred bucks poorer 90 minutes later. I was 2 aisles over from the main thoroughfare at the back of the store that runs past Electronics and Toys, a runway that was clogged with black-wrapped boxes and a teeming sea of humanity awaiting the 5AM start of the sales. Several times between 0430 and 0500 the “friendly” associates would order the masses to not touch the black wrappings until 0500. Failure to comply with The Rules of the Sale would result in the summoning of the local constabulary SWAT teams.

Yeah, the ‘Boro’s finest were there in black fatigue pants and the civilian equivalents of combat harnesses, stationed to the right of the camera counter, ready to pounce with Tazers and Mace upon rioters trying to get more than the allowed number of digital picture frames, High-Def big screens, High School Musical dolls, or Hannah Montana lunchboxes. Rocking back on their heels and scanning the crowd, fidgety from coffee and donuts at the nearby Huddle House, they almost looked disappointed when riots failed to break out.

Since I was 2 aisles over when the Magic Time arrived, had to listen to the frenzy rather than be able to watch it. From the sound of it, it had to have been similar to a pack of Jurassic Park’s raptors tearing into a wounded Triceratops calf. And yet, there was no punching or tossing of Molotov cocktails. It was all a quite orderly madness. By 6AM I was back in my driveway, trunk loaded with a couple jackets, 8 pairs of jeans, some tops, a new comforter set, and my camera. Back to bed for a few more hours, and then back to Wal-Mart to get groceries and see if the store looked like an apocalyptic wasteland.

In a town of barely 6000 people, there were at least 2000 in the store at 0430. I shudder to think of what the pandemonium looked like in Charleston’s Wally Worlds or the Best Buys, or the Tanger Outlets, who had a midnight madness sale from what I hear. You gotta be one dedicated mo-fo to hit the Tanger stores at midnight and then split your party up to hit the malls, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart between 4 and 5 for the Door Buster Sales.

All in all, it wasn’t quite as bad as a Filene’s Basement wedding dress sale. No cars were flipped over, no tires were set afire, no clouds of tear gas were sent gushing forth. But hey, the best sales are yet to come…and I do so love to go to the mall on December 24th…

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