Tales from the front lines, aka Black Friday

Columnist

Thanksgiving Day went off without a hitch for me this year in Hutchinson. My family enjoyed a nice meal together and capped if off by watching a couple of football games on television. When it started to get dark outside, the yearning for something other than sitting around in the living room began to creep in. What was the solution to this sense of boredom? Check the Black Friday sales, with some stores opening as early as 8 p.m. that night.

I have attended my fair share of Black Friday shopping in the past (standing out in the freezing cold for three hours, rushing through the aisles, grabbing every deal in sight), but for this year, I did not notice anything in the advertisements that I had to have. My dad thought about buying a 70-inch television, but that should be bought without extreme duress. The only thing I would consider buying was a Blu-ray copy of the Pixar movie “Brave” for $9. 

So, mainly out of a chance of relieving boredom, I decided to go with my brother to Wal-Mart shortly after the 8 p.m. opening. Turns out we were not the only ones who thought the same thing. 

The parking lot was full, with some cars parked on the grass. By a stroke of luck, we managed to get a parking spot fairly close. Instead of simply walking up to the entrance doors as usual, a zigzagging gateway was set up, maintaining the line of people who showed up prior to the opening. This frustrated customers in front and behind me. Once we cleared the maze, we were inside and it was a madhouse.

All I could see was people scurrying through every single aisle of the store, but this was no time to turn back, because where is the fun in retreating during a battle of this scale? 

As we made our way through the aisles stuffed with anxious customers, I found that my brother was slowly trailing behind me. It seemed to me that he was at his best absolute level of politeness, but in situations like that those gestures are largely ignored. What made that apparent were customers with two carts full of packages, one pushing forward and the other in tow, which naturally slows everyone down. Lines that wrapped around the store for later sales in the evening also disrupted shoppers’ flow.

Since I am a skinny guy, I managed my way around people and zipped though openings. You had to be quick, because openings would not last long enough to pull a cart through. Eventually, we reached our destination: the electronics department. Still, there were large crowds of people collecting all of the sale merchandise, but not a copy of “Brave” in sight. My brother then heard that the movies on sale were in the deli department, on the other side of the store. Of course, we groaned loudly and audibly as we continued to fight on to reach the other side of the store. 

Once we arrived, we found that the movies were all picked through and nothing of value was left. It was time for us to fight off the crowds for the exit. Once we got near the exit, I managed to recognize a couple of people from previous jobs of mine and even high school classmates I had not seen since graduation. Not that I wanted to visit with them anyways, but it was clearly not the time to talk about what they were up to.

Once we got back to where we started, I happened to notice that the Blu-ray copy of “Brave” I had been looking all over the store from was located near the entrance the entire time. Once we realized how ridiculously long the checkout lines were, we decided it was best to leave without any more problems. 

So, while we ended up empty handed when it came to Wal-Mart’s Black Friday sale, it no doubt provided something to do, instead of sitting around the living room bored. What I am thankful for is that I can eventually get “Brave” for about the same price through a sale on Amazon, so that I would not have truly had to break my neck, or someone else’s, to get it at that price. 

All of this pandemonium just makes you think about how we are all supposed to be thankful this day out of the year and we celebrate it by rushing and crowding stores. However, for some, it is just a way to make their holiday all the more exciting, like it did for mine.