A week before Thanksgiving Mrs, Curmudgeon and one of the smaller, chronologically inferior, compound residents compared their gadget acquisition plans. She wanted an iSlab or an iFlat or some other physical manifestation of Steve Jobs. The kid wanted some sort of gamery; probably an XWii or a Nintendo2600. Also a copy of GrandTheftMortalAssassinsNFL. I need shoes but am provisionally happy with my duct tape repair job and intend to limp along (in a manner of speaking) until next payday. They ignored me and formed a plan. They would SAVE MONEY by braving the crowds and SHOPPING on BLACK FRIDAY.
I generously offered that I was more than willing to buy anything anyone wanted so long as it could come from Amazon. [Editorial Note from Mrs. Curmudgeon – He’s Lying!] I’d smile and pony up for anything that was delivered by a nice fellow in a truck. Venturing into a commercialist mosh pit, on the other hand, was out of the question. The two of them considered my concerns and subtly hinted my presence was not mission critical. “We’d prefer you stay home” Mrs. Curmudgeon hinted.
Then, because marketing is the work of the devil, the plan changed to Thanksgiving evening. Apparently some sort of shrine to sales would open in the late afternoon of the holiday itself. This would lead to SAVINGS and AWESOME. I volunteered to drive the getaway vehicle. I would drop them off at the door and retire to the nearest “safe zone” (a coffee shop). I would consume $4 lattes and surf free wifi while they endured THE PURCHASING. Once they were done they could text for transport. I’d pick them up at the door. “But I’m not going in.” I explained supportively, “If you are taken out by the zombie hordes, I’m not doing an extraction. You must make it to the parking lot or die trying.” It’s important to define mission parameters.
“Stay here at home. We’ll be back.” Mrs. Curmudgeon repeated, subtly indicating she wanted nothing to do with me and whatever unhinged reaction I’d have to a huge crowd of gadget seekers. Wise woman.
In anticipation of departure they hovered over the computer screen and selected targets. Models were selected, prices analyzed. This was going to be a surgical strike; get in, get the stuff, get out. They acknowledged there was a chance the stuff they wanted would be “sold out”. Failure was an acceptable outcome, but the discount + gift cards was too big a draw. With great risks come great rewards and they judged it worthy of the hassle.
I applauded their bravery, repeated my admonition that I would not go behind enemy lines on a holiday, offered to pay twice as much on Amazon [Lying Again!! – Mrs. C], and then made a delicious post Thanksgiving sandwich. I waved as they drove off. Poor bastards. I’d probably never see them again.
It’s a long drive and they had a plan involving waiting in line. They wouldn’t be back for hours. I ate an extra helping of cranberries. I watched a documentary about Shackleton; which made being well fed and heated by the fire seem incredibly luxurious. I pondered taking a nap. I was too lazy to take a nap. I enjoyed a good book instead. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Eventually I saw headlights coming down the driveway. They were back. This was way too early! Was someone injured? Did Mrs. Curmudgeon forget her wallet?
As soon as the car rolled up Mrs. Curmudgeon hopped out and explained what had happened. One word:
Apparently they’d surveyed the scene and chosen, without even leaving the car, that it was not worth it. There were too many people with too few teeth. Two cop cars were milling about. Even as they surveyed the scene and calculated odds, more people joined the line. Things looked worse by the minute. The coffee shop was closed. It was 20 degrees out. They’d have to wait hours before the door opening and who knows how bad things would get? The seething mass was something best viewed through the rear view mirror.
Mrs. Curmudgeon, wisely, chose to bug out.
So there you have it. A real world test encounter with the zombie horde and a narrow escape. While no gadgetry was acquired, no limbs were lost, no credit cards melted, and I didn’t have to do squat. So I call it a win!
I think they picked the right course of action. It’s Thanksgiving after all I’ve much for which to be thankful and that includes evading the stores.
P.S. Roughly 20 hours later they checked on line and the prices for “Cyber Black Friday” were a pleasant surprise. Apparently the virtual world drops its prices in competition with the crowded, packed hordes, of the “real world”. Who knew? Prices were plenty good enough. They ordered all the things they wanted from Amazon with no muss no fuss. (Also they used links from my blog. If you click on an Amazon link from my blog and buy ANYTHING the benevolent overlords of the internet throw a few farthings into my account. It costs the customer absolutely nothing so please follow their example! Order stuff from Amazon and use my blog and life will be all kittens and puppies!) I think they’ll wind up paying some $18 more than what they’d theoretically have paid in the unlikely instance the items they wanted were in stock after the first wave of humanity had attacked the store. Eighteen bucks to place an order in your pyjamas versus battling it out with six hundred stampeding lunatics? It’s a no brainer.
The online equivalent to Black Friday is Cyber Monday. Now of course with the retailers’ panic to survive this “booming economy”, they may have moved their sales back to Friday. But be sure to check Monday and let them know how much $$$ they wasted by being in a hurry.
By the way, I bet they could have gotten in to the brick and mortar without any problems if they had merely stuck Bowling Pin on the hood of their car and taught him to scream “AFLAC!!!”
And if that didn’t work, he’d only need to change it to “Affleck” and everyone would have been scrambling to see the celebrity…
Endurance is an excellent read about Shackleton’s voyage, if you want to dig in further.
I’ll check it out. Thanks.
AC wins the innertubes
“…too many people…to few teeth”
sounds like my last Black Friday in retail
Wifey reports Black Friday a bust around here. No stampeding herds.
I have learned to live in harmony with with Black Friday. Instead of venturing out into the brutal savagery, become an impartial observer. It is quite entertaining to visit your local Super Walmart when the sales start (now Thanksgiving evening) and watch the human drama unfold. Just don’t plan to buy anything. It’s more fun that way.
I went two years ago and saw a woman dragging around a flat screen, proud of herself, only to find out it didn’t go on sale until 5am (it was 10 at night) . She told the associate the she was going to hurt him. A Walmart manager told me that a man lifted an pinned her against the wall one year because he couldn’t get a “Lorax” dvd. Last year a grandmother punched a teenager when he tried to steal an XBOX from her.
I know it’s a bit dark of me ( don’t judge) but it’s the finest in free entertainment. Talk to a Walmart associate. They have the best stories.
I told my wife I would take her out shopping black friday. She said “Let’s see, spend the money on bail or presents. You stay home.” Smart woman.
The local farm (mega)store does two days of black friday. They have a sale that starts Friday, and on Saturday they give a $25 gift card for the first 250 people in the door and they put more stuff on sale. I bought 700 pounds of chicken feed for $140 and got a $25 gift card for the store that I buy most of may ammo from. My wife also spent over $100 of my cash and I got a second $25 gift card.
I did have to wake up early and sit outside for about half an hour, but I don’t have to buy chicken feed until spring.