Friday, November 30, 2012
By CHARLES BOOTHE -
Thinking that it would be no big deal to see what all the fuss was about and to get a laptop on sale, Betty Wagoner, a family member, jumped into her vehicle and drove to the nearby "big-box" store on Thanksgiving Day evening in another town.
Since she did not routinely participate in such Black Friday shopping events (although it was on a Thursday), she was understandably surprised at how many vehicles had not only filled the parking lot, but crammed themselves into every available spot, nook and cranny within half-a-mile of the store.
No way was she going to walk that far, so just out of curiosity and to make sure no other big event was going on to draw such a huge crowd, she drove up to the front of the store.
Miracle of miracles.
Just as she was driving by the front, a car backed out of one of the parking spots near the front doors. It was easy to get the spot since no one else had apparently even imagined a spot so close would come open.
She felt lucky indeed.
Walking into the store with a feeling that this may not be so bad after all, she saw wall-to-wall people, most seeming to stand in various lines.
She asked a lady which line she was in.
"I'm in no line," she was told by the lady, who apparently had never had the Black Friday experience either. "I'm just waiting for someone to pick me up. I don't really know what's going on, but I'm getting out of here as fast as I can. I ain't never seen such a mess."
Betty pressed on, making her way toward the electronics department.
A gentleman was waiting in a line near the vicinity of the department and she asked if it was the line for computers.
"No, I want a TV," he said. "But to tell you the truth, I really don't know what line this is."
Spying another line, Betty approached a lady and asked if she was in the computer line.
"Yes, this is it," the lady said.
So Betty took her place in line behind her.
But then the lady turned around and told her that just being in line wouldn't do her any good if she wanted something on sale.
"You gotta have a ticket," the lady told her, explaining that the store had only a limited number of the sale items.
"Well, where do I get a ticket?" Betty inquired.
The lady pointed to the ticket dispensing place and off Betty went, getting in another line.
Betty finally made it up to get her ticket, already wondering if all of it had been worth the effort.
"Sorry," she was told. "We just gave out the last ticket."
Disappointed, Betty decided that since she was already there, she may as well look around for something else. That's when she heard a commotion.
She observed several people in a struggle to grab pajamas from a sale bin.
Pajamas? You've got to be kidding me, she thought, wondering if she had somehow ventured into the Twilight Zone.
At that point, Betty put herself in the category with the lady she first talked with in the store. The difference being, Betty had a car nearby so she did not have to wait to leave. And leave is exactly what she did.
My co-worker, Stacey Hairston, had a similar result on her Thanksgiving Day shopping adventure, failing to obtain a single item she wanted.
In the past, Stacey had always maintained that it wasn't so much the prey, but the hunt. She enjoyed scouting out what she wanted and beating others to it, even if she did have to wait for hours.
But this was the first time she came away empty-handed, and the experience was not so satisfying.
In fact, Stacey said that was the last time she would venture out at night for a Black Friday sale.
Betty shares her sentiment.
But it's almost a year until the next Black Friday.
Psychological wounds do heal with time.
Sale prices help, too.