Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back from the Belly of the Beast (of Bargains!)

Well, I survived to tell the tale. After some initial confusion about pickup spots and timing, we made our way to the American border to take part in that time-honoured tradition - the acquiring of stuff and then bragging re: the price of said stuff. It's holier than Easter in my family.

We returned 24 hours later with a Volkswagen Beetle full of things that probably rank below "egg timer" on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but which were desired all the same. The border guards were very kind and charged us not even a whiff of duty (hee. Duty.) and we all came back poorer (in money and sleep) yet richer (in friendship and fried foods).

And the question that's on all your minds: Was it worth it?

Well, that's relative, friend. If the thought of hour-and-a-half lineups and elbowing your way through a mall at 4 in the morning fill you with dread and loathing then, no, it's not worth it. For me though, it was an excuse to have fun with friends, get a good chunk of my Christmas shopping done, and revel in the chaos and insanity that only Black Friday can bring. As an added bonus, my sister had never been before, so it was an opportunity to do some bonding as we pushed our open-palmed hands into people's faces in order to get the last $8 slow cooker. And get it we did!

At the end of the day we came back with a tonne of American goodies, a bunch of names crossed of the "presents to buy" list, and about 3 1/2 hours of sleep under our belts. Highlights included the noobs who wandered into Target at 12:30am and gasped "I can't believe how many people are here!" - really?, the guy behind us in line who waited an hour and a half to buy a Wii game and 4 cans of beef consomme, and the guy in the McDonalds with the pen and the Walmart ad, circling which guns and ammo he wished to procure.

Lowlights included Applebees. That is all.

Target at about 1am. We only took this picture because
the guy on the right is a dead ringer for my dad (dad ringer?).
 He bought the beef consomme, though, so he must be his evil twin.
I'm not sure I'd do Black Friday again. As we were leaving Target at about 1:30, my friend turned to me and said "I'm about 80% disgusted right now", and, yeah, shuffling through lines between bewildered toddlers and cackling teenagers, then catching a glimpse of my white-green face in The Loft's changing room wasn't the thrill ride of a lifetime. It was a good time but I couldn't help but think of the people who didn't choose to be there. Last year the stores opened at 11 or 12 at night and this year Target, for one, was open at 9pm. There are people who left their dinners and friends and families to spend the wee hours of the morning asking people if they'd like to put that on their charge card to save 5%. Personally, I don't understand why people have the big family meal on Thursday when you've ostensibly got all of the weekend to blow through that bird but for some reason, a lot of Americans do, and if they do, they should be allowed to do so in peace. And that includes people who work retail. Maybe them more than anyone. Enough of the opening early to be the first. I'll make my way down at midnight, 4am, 6am or noon. And so will everyone else, promise. And for god's sake, if you do open early, make sure you actually offer a discount or else you're wasting everyone's time (giving the stink eye to you, Coach).

All in all, only paying a tank of gas (we got the hotel room free) made it a worthwhile way to spend a day off, especially when we got punch-drunk around 3pm the next day and insisted on only listening to Kenny Rogers in the car for the remainder of the trip. But man, no warm fuzzies to be had trolling the malls on Black Friday. Unless you include those adorable adult onesies I saw. Goddamnit. I knew I should have bought the one that looked like a fox.


  1. I hope there was some Kenny Rogers and the 1st Edition in that mix!

  2. God I wish - for years I had no idea who was singing that song! Now I'll never forget. I introduced the car to Coward of the County - the song that scandalized me when I was a young girl once I realized that it mentioned gang rape. It changed lives in that car.