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September 29, 2023

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…and what an awful day it was

Over Thanksgiving break, I thought it might be fun to try Black Friday morning shopping for once. There weren’t any amazing deals I was hoping to snag; I just figured it could be an interesting experience and maybe I could also get some Christmas shopping done early.

Boy did I figure wrong.

Black Friday 2K7 will go down in history as the first and last time I attempt to do any sort of monetary transaction anywhere near the Thanksgiving holiday. Suffice to say, I was not very successful.

It also didn’t help matters that at no point did I ever have any concrete ideas on what to buy for the family and friends I had in mind.

I thought I’d head to Kohl’s first because they opened at 4 a.m., a whole hour before anyone else in town. In my mind, even though I had no explicit list of what to buy or any general game plan, I continued to rationalize to myself how easy this trip would be because “everybody has to wear clothes, they’re going to need new clothes, I guess I’ll get someone some new clothes” – and my reasoning never became any more specific than that.

Looking back, had I thought ahead, even just a little bit, I may have ended up encountering some success on Black Friday instead of the nothingness that I walked away with.

But I didn’t. Frankly, I just liked the idea of staying up late and being around commerce. That just sounded too appealing.

Anyway, I rolled into Kohl’s at about 3:59 a.m. and the line for the door was wrapped around the other side of the building. Here’s another important aspect of my stupidity that morning: I didn’t let that deter me in the slightest. I didn’t regret not coming earlier.

I think my exact words were “Damn y’all this place be wicked busy for a store.”

With a happy-go-lucky march, I take my place at the end of the line and waddle with the line slowly into the store. By the time I enter, people are already checking out with full shopping carts – people that thought ahead and probably owned a copy of the store’s blueprints.

Regardless, the Black Friday experience at this point was still fun. I grabbed a shopping cart and I got into the belly of the demon and start slaying items off the rack and into my cart. Anything that looked cool (or shiny), I took it! And I intended to buy it!

Even the mildly chaotic aspects of the shopping experience became fun, like people blatantly cutting me off when walking through the store. Ordinarily I would find that annoying, but on Black Friday, all I could do was shake my head, smirk and think “yeah.”

Half an hour later, I felt like I’m done shopping. I don’t think that I’ve covered everybody I came to buy for, but the adrenaline was wearing off and I became bored of shopping. Shrugging my shoulders, I figured I might as well buy whatever stupid crap I picked up and get out of here.

Of course the line is ridiculously – but logically – long, since it wrapped around the entire store again. I took my place at the end but my mood was souring quickly.

I thought, why should I have to wait in another line? I’m ready to leave. I don’t want to be here. Come on, can’t they open up another lane? I mean, damn, y’all.

Despite the grouchiness, I was still waiting until I decided to reevaluate my cart. Maybe if I lightened up the load I’d be out of there a little quicker, I reckon.

Looking in the cart, I realized 90 percent of the items I intended on buying were for myself. Worse, I wasn’t even buying myself very good presents. Just sweaters, gloves and other things that were not video games.

It was a sobering moment, though – the kind of moment that exists only in movies, where you realize “the true meaning of Christmas” and “the holiday spirit” and “it’s clause with an ‘e’ like a contract, get it? Santa Clause.”

But it wasn’t a movie and it was almost 5 a.m. and I’d had enough. So I went home and fell asleep.

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