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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Black, Black Friday

black-friday-shopping-bagWith a name like that, this is one shopping day when I’m generally opted-out. Well, silly me, we happened to be up and out, travelling between homes on Friday at 6:00 am, so I figured….

Wrong move.

I thought I was being smart. I’m generally smart. It’s not like I had too much turkey and had my brain function impaired, since I never got to eat any of my hard-cooked meal during our holiday from hell. Basically, there were a handful of cars outside this designer-discount store at 6:00 am. Looked good.

Wrong move.

Enter the shopping experience from hell.

Why me?

Cars piled up outside of Toys’R’Us and those kind of places. My store had been open all day and all night on Thursday and IMG_1128Friday. Hardly a soul walking the aisles. A handful of restockers working here and there, about four cashiers out of ten possible slots. No lines.

It was worth checking things out. We normally passed this way at 6:00 am, but the store was never open. Our family had to make a special trip an hour outside of the city (longer during daytime traffic) to catch it during normal hours. But today… we were here… and the store was open!

Not wanting to go overboard on holiday gifts, I realized I probably had enough plastic bins at home full of gift items to stock Santa’s workshop several times over for most of the children in the world, as well as to mail a few gifts to extended family members. With this in mind, I headed to the gift areas of the store and made a few discoveries that would do well on the Gift Hit Parade. At 75% off of regular prices, the store was worth it no matter what the season.

Plus, Benedetto needed a belt. He said I bought him one a couple of months ago, yet I had thno recollection of it, and could not locate it in any pile of shopping bags anywhere. Scanning the men’s section, hundreds of belts spread before me—webbed with grommets, cowboy, embossed, fabric. No simple leather belts? Ah, the joys of discount land….

Then the situation required furious texting back and forth, my husband claiming to be a size he had been some 30 years before. I tried the belt on myself and thought to add a few inches to simulate his size. It did not look very big. I text him to come in and try it on, no need to keep the belt a surprise. After all, as the decades pass, there were very few secrets between husbands and wives…. Naturally, the size I chose fit him well.

“I’ll be out in five,” I tell him as he exits.

It’s taken me all of 30 minutes for this brief, but meaningful shopping excursion. Still hardly anyone is in the store. Unbeknownst black-friday-shopping-getlocalmato me, a flock of workers leave around the same time as Benedetto. He sees very few entering on the next shift.

I head to the cashiers. And there, out of nowhere, three very large women push in front of me, swooping in the long, winding line with no customers in it. Their shopping carts bulge and overflow. After making their quick move, they proceed down the display aisle toward the cashier PAUSING AND PICKING UP EVERY ITEM ALONG THE WAY. They will not move along. Slow as molasses.

No, no, no.

black_friday_2007I consider leaving the cart with my ten or so purchases. But some of them are really nice items. Then I see; THERE ARE NOW ONLY TWO CASHIERS, ONE OF WHOM IS A TRAINEE.

No, no, no.

Both guys are talking non-stop between themselves, and with customers. Two other large women, carts heaping, are at the checkout, chatting, as the guys scan their purchases slow-mo. When one lady finally gathers her many bags into her cart, she starts rearranging them without moving away from the register, impeding the flow of traffic and not allowing anyone else to approach that register for at least another five minutes. Unreal. I feel like I’m stuck in a time warp.

From everyone’s conversation and my observations of STANDING IN LINE OVER 30 MINUTES WITH ONLY THREE PEOPLEBlack-Friday-Shopping-Tips-for-Women IN FRONT OF ME (as I seek to keep steam from shooting out my ears or collar), I have the following stereotypes to report (which are certainly not true of all clerks nor early-morning bargain hunters, but the sheer number of cashiers and Black Friday shoppers fitting this profile was truly mind-boggling):

Minimum-wage earners spend most of their time thinking about how they can spend their few, hard-earned shekels… on themselves. A couple of them bought gifts, others mostly treated themselves to big-ticket items. The cashiers coming on duty, as well as patrons surrounding me, were extremely obese and disliked their families, particularly around the holidays, they announced.  This was not at all the crowd that normally shopped in this upscale store, something had changed during the all-night hours….   Though appearing to be in their mid-20s to early 40s, they were familiar with every single video game known to man, woman or child and played each incessantly. To their credit, at least they were friendly.

Target Black Friday Store OpeningAs I approached the register, my cashier inquired, “Have you had an unbelievable Black Friday?”

“Pardon me?” I blinked, trying to quickly place my purchases before him.

“Have you had an unbelievable Black Friday so far?”

“Well yes,” I smiled, “in more ways than one.”

He then proceeded at a snail’s pace to scan an item, help the cashier next to him, talk to another customer about how many gift receipts she needed, scan another item, walk to another counter and store a hanger there, before walking slowly, leisurely, back to his post.

Note to self: Don’t ever do this again.

Type A personalities, Black Friday is not for you.

All because I “happened” to be in the area….

Unbelievable.

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