I have a bad case of fly-on-the wall syndrome, and Black Friday was practically a religious holiday for me. I used to dearly love getting up in the wee hours and stumbling in the dark to the biggest store in the area to be a part of the hustle and bustle. Blame my psych degree, but I do love watching how people
misbehave in groups. Here’s the really funny part. I’d show up at four in the morning, Edward in hand and ready for action. With all of my shopping already done. That’s right. I would stand in line to get into the store, wander around for a couple of hours and leave without buying a thing. I know. It’s a sickness. But it was fascinating to me. I liked to see what kind of stuff everybody else is getting, what they were willing to fight and die to possess.
Maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I have a $10 yard sale television (true story) because I don’t have the passion in my heart. Maybe if I was a more motivated person, I’d have a 50 inch flat screen. That I purchased for $1.99 at Big Buy Mart on Black Friday. But the truth is, while I love watching people score that awesome holiday bargain, I don’t want to spend the money myself. Or put myself at risk of great bodily harm. But I do love to read the ads, make lists, pretend like I’m going to shop.
One of my favorite Black Friday trips happened three years ago. I went with my mom, sister and aunt. We divided up the list, scoured maps, and strategized like we were planning to stage a military coup. They are the type who stay in phone-contact and have pre-determined meeting spots. Tiny catch. I don’t have a cell. So one of them lent me theirs. So sweet. But I didn’t remember to actually answer it. Sure, I heard the ring tone, but I didn’t recognize it. Or even notice it as I perused $5 flash-drives. And when I finally realized it was my pocket that was ringing, I didn’t know which button to push to answer the phone. They found me an hour later in frozen foods. People watching. They haven’t asked me back.
I don’t go anymore. Maybe I am maturing. Maybe I am just becoming more aware of my own mortality. Those people out there are crazy. I’ve seen the youtube videos from Friday, and there is entirely too much screaming. The only time shopping should involve any screaming at all is if you’re a twelve-year old girl who just scored the last autographed Justin Bieber poster. No exceptions. Okay, maybe if you’re the next girl in line and your pre-teen heart is broken. Waffle irons are not worth hysterics. Even if they’re $2. Even if they’re free.
My new philosophy. If I want to see grown people beat each other senseless over a meaningless object, I’ll just turn on a hockey game. Shopping shouldn’t be a contact sport.