Well, I resisted as long as humanly possible.
Finally, my daughter can now say she has been part of the Black Friday shopping craze. For years, she has wanted to venture out into the fray; for years I conveniently found a reason not to but, this year, there were no excuses. So to get the full effect, we headed out to the mall at midnight as Thanksgiving Day gave way to Black Friday. As luck would have it, we found a parking place incredibly close to the door we always go in … and thus the adventure began.
My 18-year-old is a born shopper. Except that she prefers the focus to be on her rather than others so, while most people were probably out shopping for bargains to wrap up for the holidays, she was on a mission for some much-needed winter clothing. I will say she did a good job of bypassing the stores that she felt weren’t giving enough of a ‘break’ for the Black Friday sales and gravitated toward the ‘buy one, get one free’ locations. And even though many of the items were needed, she was also told that many of them would be wrapped and under the tree later this month. My mom and I years ago started a tradition where we would go out Christmas shopping together and pick out a special gift for each other (with a little help from the recipient) which would then be wrapped and held on to for holiday giving. My daughter, of course, took that to a whole new level by picking out many of her gifts already. At least I know she will like them. And we did find gifts for others as well, so it wasn’t a totally narcissistic trip on her part. Just 90 percent of it.
I also took the opportunity to point out a little something I wouldn’t mind getting … she just has to find a way back there to get it without me so I can be ‘surprised’ later this month.
We found people to be generally in good spirits, though I did feel a little sorry for the bleary-eyed youngsters roused out of their beds for the once-a-year sales, many wandering around in pajamas and boots as their parents hustled them through the brightly-lit, music-filled mall at 1 a.m.
The longest line we stood in to purchase items took 22 minutes and that was only because I got in the line to wait while she went to the dressing room to try a few things on. By the time she was done and picked two out of three, I was nearly three-quarters of the way up the line to the register. Pretty good timing.
We had been shopping for about an hour when we felt a little caffeine pick-me-up would be helpful – but that line was longer than any other, so we just kept plodding on and made it through without the caffeinated brew. Which is probably just as well, because neither one of us would have been able to sleep when we got home at 4 a.m.
So now we will start the bargaining process; I told her she could pick out a couple of things she absolutely has to have … the rest will have to wait until Dec. 25. She will grumble but she will comply. Probably because she knows there will still be some surprises to unwrap as well.
We both thoroughly enjoyed the experience – I think we did it right because we didn’t go as soon as the stores opened after the Thanksgiving feast and we didn’t wait until the pre-dawn hours when people got used to going years ago, when Black Friday started with sales at 5 or 6 a.m.
We hit it at midnight and got what seemed to be the ‘lull’ which, even though it was busy, it wasn’t crazy.
And we did it after having a day where we volunteered together at a community holiday dinner, got to spend some time with good friends and had a chance to call and catch up with New York relatives enjoying a white Thanksgiving.
Not a bad way to get the holiday season officially started.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.