Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday should die

Today, my third-longest committed relationship came to a frigid, abrupt, public end.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll start closer to the beginning.

Sunday: I tell my home teachers and roommates that I am going to JCPenney on the morning of Black Friday -- not for deals, but for a snow globe. Since 2001 I have been getting up increasingly early for one of these corny little Disney snow globes, which have been a fixture of Christmas decorating since before I didn't like Christmas. On my mission, my sister got one for me. One year when I was lamenting that I was too late for their limited supply, my friend who got one but said she just went for the deals gave me hers. Anyway, it's a big deal. It's the only thing about Black Friday that I don't think is stupid.

12:09 a.m.: Went to bed so I could get up.

5:30 a.m.: Alarm went off. I thought about turning it off because, wow, was I tired, but as I reached to do so, I remembered why my alarm was going off so early and jumped out of bed. Donned my bright orange Turkey Trot sweatshirt and headed out into the cold.

That is how committed I am to this relationship.

5:45 a.m.: Arrived to a line. One of the other icky byproducts of Black Friday starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, besides workers being forced to spend most of their Thanksgiving setting up the store, people spending their Thanksgiving night out shopping, more money being spent because there's more time and thus reason to spend it, less sleep being gotten because people are out shopping all night and more traffic on the roads on Thanksgiving, is that more people come to JCP because they've already been to Target, Walmart and the moon. Got in line.

5:55 a.m.: Doors opened early. The line flows smoothly in, and I see people crowded around a table. I head over there and discover it's full of sweaters. Seriously?

5:56 a.m.: Aha! The checkout. I fight the crowds to discover -- two buckets full of little pins? I take one and ask a clerk where the snow globes are.

"Snow globes? Susie, do we have snow globes?"

"Uh, snow globes? Hang on -- Carrie, do we have snow globes?"

5:56:30: The sinking feeling begins. Is it possible I'm awake for no reason?
Then come those words that I never wanted to hear, the ones I've thought would never come: "We don't have snow globes this year. We're doing pins instead; you can win prizes."

I must have looked sad, because she pityingly followed it up with, "You can take a few."

Pins? Prizes? What, are snow globes too passe? Something that worked for so long suddenly stopped working with no warning at all? Sure, I suppose there were signs -- my friend told me about the pins, but I just assumed they were in addition to the snow globes. I didn't even bother checking the ad to make sure because I just knew the snow globe would be there.

5:59 a.m.: Grab a few more pins. The rebound relationship is always good, right? At least at first, before all the drama and emotions set in. Maybe I'll win chocolate. Somehow, these things always send me back into the arms of chocolate.

6 a.m.: Call Rachel. She's still in line. Break the news to her. Discover I'm being followed, but don't realize it until I'm already at my car. Judge the woman who's sitting there waiting for me and blocking another car. Decide to be safe and not drive and talk at the same time, leaving her sitting there with her blinker on.

(Hey, I know it's petty. I'd just been blindsided with the news. Don't judge too harshly.)

6:03 a.m.: Still sitting there. So is blinker lady, who in the time it took for her to wait for me could have parked farther out and already been at the store. I leave because there's an innocent car behind her who didn't do anything annoying.

6:11 a.m.: Return home. Write this tragic, tortured story. Pull out my old snow globes and feel sorry for them; their little family is done growing. Curse that I can't blow this whole day off and go nurse my sad, sad tiny little bit of heart that cares. Write this blog.

6:37 a.m.: Go back to bed.

So many good times together

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