I was like Dorothy in the Wizard of the Oz, but instead of chanting “There’s no place like home,” I was chanting, “There’s no place like Target.” I knew my favorite retailer wouldn’t let me down and would be just the thing to erase my Walmart memories.
Before I headed to my beloved Target I first had to grab a Diet Coke. At almost midnight I was in desperate need of caffeine. The McDonald’s drive-thru line was insane so I opted to run inside and order. As soon as I opened the double door to Mickey D’s I was assaulted by the sight of a family of six eating McRibs. Who in the hell eats a McRib on Thanksgiving at almost midnight? Before I could McGag I started breathing only through my nose, quickly paid for my drink with exact change, and bolted out of there.
I had recovered my sense of smell by the time I reached Target. I parked by a mini-van with all of it’s doors open and Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” song “blasting from a stereo. Four women, all looking to be in their 30’s, were standing outside the van singing and dancing. This was something I had to investigate. I reapplied my Bath and Bodywork’s all in one lip gloss and breath freshener, hopped out of my car and over the music yelled, “You seem to be having a lot of fun!”
They laughed and one of the woman shouted, “We are!”
I yelled back, “Are you super excited about Black Friday, drunk, or all of the above!” They a laughed again and then another woman said they were sister-in-laws “celebrating their freedom from their mother-in-law.” They all live out-of-town and every Thanksgiving holiday are forced to make the trek to experience the in-laws. They use Black Friday shopping as an excuse to escape their MIL who from their description sounded like Mrs. Darth Vadar on her period.
“It’s perfect,” said what looked to the sister-in-law ring leader. “We get to escape her house. Our husbands have to deal with the kids and we make sure not to show up again till after breakfast. That lets us use the excuse that we’re exhausted and can’t function unless we get some sleep. Which all means less time spent with our mother-in-law.”
This is when I had my epiphany. Black Friday isn’t about shopping and scoring major savings on electronics it’s about avoiding family members and familial responsibilities. If you’re camped out in line at Best Buy for 16 hours that means you’re off the hook to cook and host Thanksgiving dinner. It’s genius! Retailers have given us a socially acceptable way to abandon family traditions and family. I was really ashamed of myself for not getting behind this Black Friday thing sooner. I have no doubt if stores opened at noon on Christmas Day people eager to flee their kin folks and all the other assorted holiday chores like cooking and cleaning would be enthusiastically standing in line waiting for the doors to open. I wished the foursome of sister-in-laws “Happy Shopping” or “Happy No Mother-In-Law-ing” and proceeded to the entrance of Targets.
I had to wait in line for a couple of minutes and upon being granted entry was told that “In order to better serve their customers Target had placed shopping carts throughout the store.” I quickly found out that was code for: “We have no shopping carts left. Get over it or steal someone’s while they’re engrossed looking at the 2 for 1 crock-pot display.”
Due to my Walmart experience I stayed clear of the electronic sections and veered over to home furnishings. Good God, what a mistake. There were bins of fleece blankets marked down from $39.99 to $19.99. You would have thought these women were trying to rescue a baby from a well. Some of them were bent over so far into the bin all you saw was a pair of ankles. It was a fleece frenzy. I tried to move in closer to see what the fuss was about. Where these blankets spun by angels from the puffiest, chunkiest, coziest, cumulus clouds making their softness the stuff of legend? Before I got a chance to feel up the blanket someone yanked my ponytail so hard I experienced, what I’m sure was, first degree whiplash.
I turned around and saw a woman already clutching three blankets. I said to her in an astonished voice, “Did you just grab my ponytail?”
With not even the slightest guilty look on her face pony tail yanker said, “Yeah, you cut in front of me and I need another navy blanket. You’re in my way.”
Wow, I’m thinking not even “I’m sorry” or a lame lie like,” I thought you were my sister.” What a loser. I had no choice, but to give her the beefy side arm move with a full cankle extension that enabled me to grab the last navy blanket. I’ll be damned if someone yanks my ponytail and doesn’t suffer any repercussions. Besides the pain she inflicted my hair was now all messed up. I had gone from a pert ponytail to some awful hunk of hair hanging at half mast.
My blanket “grab and go” really set her off. She entered the “beyond pissed” zone and launched herself straight to Mentally Unhinged – the movie, a 3-D, IMAXX experience. Blanket Crazy began stalking me through Target. Heckling me to give her the blanket back. Really, who gets this worked up over $19.99 fleece? Her whole attitude made me so nervous I accidentally (on purpose) spilled some of my Diet Coke on the blanket. What else could I do but head straight to the customer service desk where I told the clerk , “Oh my God, can you believe it I saw someone urinate on this blanket. It needs to be disposed of immediately.”
The clerk, using two Target bags as make-shift sanitary hand protectors, picked up the blanket and tossed into some random pile of refuse. I muttered under my breath, “Bye, bye blanket. Bye, bye” and turned around and winked at the Blanket chick. Super bad move. Her fury at being denied navy fleece escalated to such an extent that I began to worry for my personal safety. I could see her trying to smother me with the fleece she already had leaving me for dead in the laundry aisle. I had no choice but to abandon Target and run for my life all the while looking over my shoulder to make sure Blanket Crazy wasn’t in hot pursuit. Which wasn’t that easy. One, I don’t enjoy running so fast my boobs turn into floppy battering rams and two my neck was still aching from the ponytail assault. Fortunately I made it to my car unscathed. With two shaky hands on the steering wheel I hauled ass to Kohl’s.
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