Black Friday

I don’t do Black Friday.

I worked retail (JC Penney and Macy’s) to put myself through college. I’m lucky I don’t have a nervous twitch and hiss at people who even think “ho ho ho.”

But as anyone who has ever worked retail will tell you, Black Friday isn’t the worst day to work in a department store.

The day after Christmas is the worst day to work in a department store. The day after Christmas is enough to make you denounce your species, strip down to your altogethers and go live with the wolves. You know, where it’s civilized.

So, despite the incredible deals, and having three kids to shop for, I don’t do Black Friday.

But one year…

Four years ago –  the first Thanksgiving Himself and I lived together.

Backstory: Himself is Jewish. Our house is now non-deified, but he does have Jewish traditions that are special to him, and I celebrate Christmas (with presents) and Easter (with chocolate eggs), so now we have theologically confused kids who can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a dreidel, a bunny or a leprechaun.

Christmas is a Big Deal for me. A big, huge, hairy, jingly, tinseled, powdered-sugared monster deal. And I make it a celebration that includes my Jewish husband (then boy-friend, which is just a bloody ridiculous word to use when you are thirty-seven) and his children. It’s not a religious holiday for me, it’s just fun.

And when we can, we buy one big-deal gift for the three kids all together. That year we had the idea of a portable dvd player, which at the time were priced between $120 and $180.

I made the mistake of saying something like, “If we were willing to do doorbuster sales we could get it for $50, but I’m not doing that.”

Himself (Jewish and clueless, remember?) said, “I’ll go.”

To which I replied, “Excuse me?”

“I’m always up that early, I can go.”

“Uh…I don’t think you want to do that.” I say.

Himself snorted. “How bad can it be?”

So at oh-dark-thirty the day after Thanksgiving, Himself got up, left the house and drove to Best Buy.

I didn’t stay asleep for very long after he left, so at about 5:30, since I was awake, I decided to call and see how it was going.

“Hello?” Says a frantic and semi-panicked voice.

“How’s it going?” I ask.

“THERE ARE NINE MILLION PEOPLE OUT HERE!!!”

“Yeah, that’s sort of how it goes.”

“WHAT ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE DOING OUT HERE???”

“Trying to get a good deal on electronics. Same as you are. Are you at Best Buy?”

“NO! The line for Best Buy circled the store seventeen times. I didn’t even bother.”

“Ok. Are you coming home?”

“No, I’m going to try Circuit City.”

Huh? “I thought you just said it was insanity out there.”

“Yeah, but, I’m already out here. Let me try Circuit City.”

“You’ve drunk the kool-aid.”

“I’m already here,” he said again.

“You’re one of them!” I cried.

“Do you want the cheap dvd player or not?”

“Call me if you find anything.”

He did find a $50 portable DVD player. He had to beat off a former NFL player dressed like someone’s ancient Chinese ancestor in order to do it, but at a certain point you just stop caring who you are playing tug-of-war with over the merchandise. It could be your own grandmother the morning after her hip surgery and you’d still give her an elbow to the chin if she tried to get between you and 70% off.

He got home, arms wrapped reflexively around the box.

“Can I see it?”

“It’s mine!” He hissed.

“Ummm…it’s for the kids, right?”

You cants have it. It’s miiiiiiine….It’s my precioussssss…..”

Do you ever want to have sex again?”

“Here you go. Don’t lose the receipt.”

He swore he would never, ever, ever do Black Friday again.

I wouldn’t ask him to. Technically, I didn’t ask the first time. I just didn’t appreciate the depth of his ignorance.

But he knows now.

And he’s never doing it again.

39 comments

  1. I can’t. I won’t. I too did holiday retail for many many years between the ages of 16 and 30 and then spent a further 5 years working in a catalog call center over the holidays. OMG! You want lunacy? Apparently if Aunt Edna does not get this crap piece of woodsy/country schlock on time then we will have ruined Christmas FOREVER for this family because Aunt Edna will just freak the fuck out & never speak to anyone again & I always so wanted to say “Well, honestly if that is how she thinks, I believe we are doing you a favor. No charge.”

    1. SNORT!

      Yes, I was like that too.

      My favorite was people returning gifts – without receipts – and demanding full price.

      “I know they paid full price for this.” They would say.

      And what I WANTED to say was, “Did YOU pay full price for ANYTHING during the entire Christmas shopping season??? NO. Of course you didn’t.”

      Fortunately, customer service went a little out the window the day after Christmas. Any other day of the year, you might have convinced a manager to give you the full price, at least for store credit, but, THAT day…we weren’t having any part of it.

  2. I worked at JCP’s, too. You are right about that worst day. My oldest works for Target. She had to work today, so I was trying to put a positive spin on it as she left last night. But all I could come up with was, “You’ll go, it’ll suck, and then it will be over. Uh. Before you know it”. Yeah, not exactly General Pattonish, was it.

  3. HAHAHAHA.

    I’ve also worked retail and have zero interest in the punishing return lines.

    BUT.

    I love the day after Christmas sales, so I’ll hit Target & get some lovely wrapping paper and cards.

    1. I actually typically do a little after-Christmas shopping (NOT on the 26th, though).

      I like getting a few way discounted decorations, then tuck them away in the box. I’ll forget what they are until the next year, and then I get to have fun new things to decorate with that cost me next to nothing,

      Win!!

  4. Hubs was out of the house before 4. And, as he does every year, he comes home empty-handed, because the lines at the checkout are “too long.”

    And every year, this surprises him.

    p.s. I didn’t know Himself is Jewish!

    1. Yep. Very much so.

      Although, the amusing thing about this is that a few times a year, we’ll get cards from his relatives back east and he’ll say, “Why is Aunt So-and-so sending us a card?”

      And I’ll say…..”Rosh Hashanah?”

      And he’ll say, “Oh yeah…”

      When did I become the keeper of the Jewish calendar?

  5. Every year, I sit with my SIL and MIL – both avid Black Friday shoppers – and scour the ads. They circle what they want to get, compare prices and set out a route while my BIL and FIL make their midnight game plans. And every year, I’m just the tiniest tempted to join them.

    Then I remember that my bed is warm and cozy. And that I hate crowds. And that the frantic adrenaline rush always ends with one buying things that one never thought one needed or wanted but “It’s only $3!!!!!”

    And I remember that the only way I’m going to be outside the house at 4 AM is if I’m a) in labor or b) coming back from a raging party. And since I’m not pregnant nor am I 23, neither of those instances apply.

    1. Yes, long gone are the days when I am seeing the sunrise upon getting home.

      And, frankly, I don’t miss them all that much.

      But I do wish the hangover-after-two-cocktails phenomenon had never made an appearance.

      I mean really.

      Now that I can afford the good stuff, THIS is when my tolerance flies the coop?

      Grotesquely unfair.

  6. I have never gone out early on Black Friday. I don’t know if I ever will. I’ve gone out in the afternoon and that was crazy enough for me.

    This year, I was up at 12 a.m. trying to get something online. Up again at 3 a.m. trying ot get something online, and then up again at 5 a.m. trying to get something on line. I was also up umpteen times between those three times because of my 2 year old freaking out. For the record, I did not get what I wanted any of those three times, however, my husband was able to order it online at 9 a.m.

    I had lots of not so nice words to say about that.

  7. I have never gone shopping on Black Friday… until today. My husband knocked off work early (the slacker! ; ) ), came home and announced he wanted a new t.v. for the bedroom, an HD t.v. no less. Here I was, dressed to go running, no make up on, looking like I’d just rolled out of bed, but I ran, came home, shopped and scored not just a t.v. but a new iPhone 4 to boot! Go me!

    But then we live in Arkansas, so how rough could all these good old boys be?

    1. A new iPhone 4????

      *wail!!!*

      (I didn’t even have my iPhone 3GS until four months ago, and already I’m drooling over the upgrade. Yes, I am ridiculous.)

  8. …until next year…fighting the masses is kind of like childbirth. Once a few days have passed, you forget the pain.
    He’s a man looking for a good deal. I suspect the opportunity to get electronics on sale next year will spur him forth at the wee hours of the morning yet again.

    1. So far he has resisted.

      Plus, he’s saving his moolah for an iPad.

      But he wants the Gen 2.

      So he’s saving, but he’s in serious existential pain over the wait.

  9. my mom and I ALWAYS go black friday shopping…but we don’t do it “right”. we go at like 10am. we get deals, but not the lose your mind deals. and we are ok with that.

  10. I don’t do Black Friday either.
    But the Geek did until two years ago (after that the deals weren’t tempting enough anymore). And he ALWAYS came home with the funniest stories (in addition to everything that was on his list and then some) that he told us at our late breakfast. Gorgeous entertainment! He seemed to have talked to EVERYBODY in line and get their stories (he never was earlier at the store than 30 minutes before opening, don’t ask me how he got all that information…). I really miss all these funny stories!

  11. The dead cat line.
    The grandmother line.
    BRILLIANT.
    Oh, Lori. How are you so prolifically awesome? I don’t do Black Friday either. Not because I don’t enjoy blood sport. I just don’t enjoy blood sport with a toddler in tow.
    See you on Sunday!

  12. I don’t do Black Friday either…unless I’m in rural North Carolina. In a hotel between Target & Walmart. And my Stepdaughter turns into the devil.

    Then? It’s not so bad.

    Plus, we got a blue-ray player for $69.

    Compared to the demon spawn spewing pea soup in the hotel room? Mud wrestling a few polite southerners for a blue-ray player and some kids PJs wasn’t so bad, really… And it wasn’t raining that hard during my hike in from the parking lot…

  13. This had me laughing out loud! It’s a good thing I work from home.

    What a trooper Himself is. Even if his first Black Friday experience did turn him into a DVD-hoarding little Gollum.

    But my favorite? Was how quickly he released the little sucker when you gave him the ultimatum. Men.

  14. Black Friday? Even just the name scares the crap out of me. I worked at the mall (but at the food place….no surprise there) in my teens and remember how horrid it was. And it’s just gotten worse, as they keep opening earlier and earlier.

    This year, I stupidly agreed to take my 12 year-old daughter to Toys R Us on Thanksgiving NIGHT when they opened at 10:00, so she could buy the iPod she’s been saving for “fo’ cheep” as she calls it. Two and a half hours later we sulked home, no iPod, frozen feet, and a pinky-promise to never do it again.

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