This past Thanksgiving week, Black Friday weekend swept the nation once again in one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. Families spent the weekend burning off all the calories they ate by running up and down store aisles grabbing anything and everything with a price tag on it.
Black Friday, as usual, brought out a huge number of people in search of the best deals. However, to try to save the hassle of actually going on Black Friday, my family, like so many around the nation, decided to get our shopping out of the way on Thanksgiving night. I foolishly agreed to accompany my sisters and my mom on their shopping spree so that I could experience one of my favorite pastimes: “people watching.”
We arrived at Target at around 8:30 p.m., not expecting much of a crowd. We had missed the initial flood of people, and things would have started to calm down. This was what we thought at the time. What we found when we got there was a much different picture.
As soon as we walked in the door, we were astounded. There were people in checkout lines with carts full to the top with clothes and trinkets. The miniature Starbucks in the store was packed full of people trying to get their espressos to keep themselves on edge to look for the best deals. With our eyes wide and full of exasperation, we were tempted to walk out of the store right then; but we had to push on, to buy those boots that my sisters were dying to have.
Weaving in and out of aisles chock full of shoppers, my mom and sisters were desperately scouring every nook and cranny of the store looking for those boots. While they were rushing ahead, I was the one stuck with the task of carrying the other things they thought they had to have “because it was so cheap.” Out of the corner of my eye, past all of the boxes and bags blocking my vision, I could see the purple boxes that my family was turning the store upside down in search of. I called to them, straining my voice to try to be heard over the countless other people shouting. They rushed over, overjoyed that their expedition was not in vain. Now that they had received the fruits of their labors, it came time for the most dreaded part of Black Friday shopping: waiting in the seemingly endless checkout lines.
It was around 9:15 p.m. at this point, and the lines were going a little faster than when we had entered almost an hour earlier. Bored out of my skull, I thought was going to pass out from standing for too long. Then God answered my prayers, as we finally reached the checkout counter. The checkout lady was quick, hands grabbing our boxes and bags of goodies and running their barcodes over the scanner like she had been preparing for this moment all her life. We were checked out and out the door in under two minutes, much to the surprise of all of us.
Happy to finally be out of the store, I was walking towards the car, arms full of our loot that we had swiped at incredibly discounted prices, singing a jolly tune. I dumped the heavy load into the trunk, got into the car and shut my eyelids, which felt like two tons of bricks. My mom started the car, and we drove for another five minutes or so, until I hear the car being put into park again. A sudden horrible realization crossed my mind, and when I opened my eyes, I could see the bright sign above the store entrance: Belk.
The next hour and a half was a total blur in my mind. The fatigue in my arms disappeared, along with all other feelings that a normal human should feel. The entire world seemed to be gray and lifeless, not unlike the newly coined “Gray Thursday” term. I snapped out of this coma-like trance to notice a shirt that a woman was wearing. It was a plain black t-shirt with the words “Guess what day it is?” on the front, and the words “Black Friday” with a superfluous amount of “y’s” on the back. I laughed hysterically at this with a laugh that not even a hyena would dare utter. I was delirious, but my shopaholic family continued to press on in their search for the best bargains.
When the dust had settled and the boxes had been put away, it was well past midnight. In the car driving towards home, my sisters were asleep and I was dozing off, myself. That intense shopping had taken a toll on all of us. As I was losing consciousness, I made a vow to myself that I will continue to keep until the day I die: I will never go Black Friday shopping again.