I love a good bargain, maybe more than most of the people I know, but there has always been something about Black Friday shopping that repulsed me, even terrified me. In my quest to do 60 new things the year I turned sixty, however, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took just a few steps beyond my normal. I’d never Black Friday shopped before so, shop I did!
Prior to adopting our youngest daughter, I had gone three years without stepping foot in a mall. I dislike shopping. Going to Walmart gives me anxiety issues and I only go there on Sunday mornings before church because it isn’t crowded at that time. I do most of my grocery shopping at ALDI. It’s not a huge store but it offers all the variety I need. If I want yogurt and I’m faced with 80 different choices, I will decide that I don’t want yogurt after all. I rarely even shop online. I just don’t need much at this point in my life and I see no point in collecting stuff. If I had a yard sale, it wouldn’t be worth going to.
I will admit that I was a Black Friday amateur. I did not accumulate stacks of newspaper flyers. I did not research the bargains online. I did not camp out in front of a store, or start my day before the sun did. I did not take my own personal army to divide and conquer. What I did do was get up late, check my email, and take a nice, long, hot shower followed by a cup of tea and a leftover biscuit with jelly. I read the newspaper with another cup of tea. I got dressed, took the dog out, walked to the mailbox, and brought the garbage can back to the garage. By 9:15 a.m. I had procrastinated enough. I told the dog farewell, climbed into my car, and fearfully backed out of the garage. I had chosen a Morgantown Walmart as my Black Friday destination and I stayed under the speed limit the whole drive there. Talk about a few steps beyond normal! I don’t like crowds and I’d heard horror stories about people pushing and shoving, yelling and cursing. It’s not like I can’t hold my own in those kinds of settings, but by the time I arrived, I was filled with dread.
Well. The parking lot was not full. I did not have to search for a parking space. There were plenty of shopping carts, or buggies, as I like to call them. In fact, there were far more buggies than people and most of the cash registers were open, a shocking, but pleasant, surprise. I found a buggy that didn’t squeak, took a deep breath, and I shopped!
I had planned to buy Benadryl but surprisingly enough I did not break out into hives, so I crossed it off my mental list. As I walked through the store, I checked out the bargain displays. There were stacks of kitchen appliances but I don’t use the ones I have, so I didn’t see much point in getting more. There were eleven kinds of TV’s but I don’t watch TV so those weren’t a purchase option. Some of the toys were cute but I didn’t think my grown children would be appreciative of a Barbie truck and camper. There were some huge bins full of movies but we don’t have a DVD player that works. I didn’t see any DVD players but they might have been lurking somewhere deeper in the recesses of the electronics department. I was getting panicky. Could I count this as Black Friday shopping if I didn’t buy anything?
Milk Duds to the rescue. I passed a big bin of candy and there were Milk Duds. I grabbed a box and felt such relief that I was freed from my shopping anxiety and I proceeded to go on a spree! I bought 39 gallon garbage bags for our garage garbage can. I bought a bleach tablet for the toilet tank in my bathroom. Before I could say “holy cow”, eight bananas, a loaf of Italian bread, and a box of stuffing mix had climbed into my buggy. I had added a new chew toy for my dog and a three-pack of chewing gum before I decided that I was done.
As I started back toward the front of the store, I saw the one Black Friday special that I was meant to buy. For just $19, a new printer/scanner/copier could be mine. I dithered. My printer was old and it hadn’t had ink cartridges in it for awhile because they always dried up before I could empty them. I didn’t need a printer often and found that it was much cheaper just to go to the library or a print shop. But here in front of me was a new printer and it was half the price of the ink cartridges my old printer needed. The regular price was $49. I would save thirty dollars! I put that bargain in my buggy, and with my head held high, I checked out without even having to wait in line.
I took my purchases to my car and, when I returned my buggy, I made the comment that it had been the smoothest and quietest buggy I’d ever pushed. Nothing ruins a shopping trip more than having to push a buggy with a wonky wheel! You should have seen the women surround me! They were pushing and shoving, yelling and cursing, all of them after that buggy! It was more popular than the Black Friday specials!
I made a quiet escape from the throng of mad women, pleased with the way my day had played out. I didn’t have hives, I hadn’t run over anybody with my buggy, I’d saved $30, and I could donate my old printer to the church flea market. On second thought, who buys used electronics? If I couldn’t give it away, I knew someone with an eighty count box of heavy duty garbage bags. My shopping trip was a success. What more could a girl want after taking just a few steps beyond normal on a Black Friday?