Blacky Blackiness: Adventures in retail on the craziest shopping day of the year.

 

 

spratt_rockwell_full thanksgivingI sit here tap tapping on my happy laptop. Stopping occasionally to take a sip of nice strong coffee and to gaze out the window. The house is toasty warm and filled with the comforting and enticing aroma of roasting turkey and dressing and yummy apple pie.

I am content. The house is quiet for the moment, only the faint sounds of traffic outside and the occasion caw from a crow.  I am glad to be able to take advantage of this lull before “the storm”

I admit I’m a tad bit apprehensive, anyone would be in my shoes. But mostly I am excited. Not the “oh I get to go to Disneyland” kind of excited or the “ooooh I have a dove bar” sort but more of the type you get when you are about to go on a trip to someplace exotic and far away, like the Twilight Zone or Never Never Land.

My newest foray into retail has given me the opportunity to experience my first Black Friday starting Thursday evening. Instead of being a crazed shopper I will be a crazed worker; manning a cash register with a scanner and smile at the ready.  

I know what you are thinking: Does she have adequate footwear?  I’m not sure on that, but regardless I am ready. Ready to face the stampede of maniac shoppers and gawkers of all shapes and sizes. I liken this to going into battle. It will be rough. It will test me and stretch me in ways I’ve never before experienced and by the time my shift is over and it’s time to leave I will have left stronger and wiser than when I entered.

If I survive….

stampede black friday
“OMG!!!” Cashmere-like sweaters for $1.99!

This night will separate the big girls from the little ones, the cats from the kittens and the serious hardcore bargain hunters from the mildly interested window watchers.

Have no doubt my comrades will be able to count on me to lead the charge!  I am not afraid! I will take that hill (whatever the hell that means) and I will charge up it!  Come on lads and ladies and follow me!

cat weird odd strange

I expect to get a battlefield promotion on this one. The whole store will throw me a parade in which I will be the grand marshal and the president of the company will fly down from headquarters and present me with a medal for bravery and a coupon good for half off any designer fragrance.  The mayor will attend and give me the key to the city and all kinds of cool junk too.

 

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Everyone will cheer and I will be a hero. Tales of my deeds will be told for a long time, days at least. In many of the departments: Menswear, shoes maybe even intimate apparel.  Oo la-la…

It is destiny my friends, there is nothing I can do to change it. You can say you knew me when.  (wink-wink)

stirlingblackwhip vintage woman

 

 It is like I have been preparing for this my whole life…

I will say now that I have never ever attended a Black Friday or Thursday shopping holiday free-for-all mob festival. I tend to seek peace and quiet and generally shun over-the-top consumerist events with large crowds of people.   It is ironic my first exposure will be as a worker not shopper.  I am however well versed in patience and stamina. I have been a mom for almost 20 years, this gives me special powers as any mother worth her salt can attest to.   I am unflappable and unstoppable. I have a will of iron with a peaceful core as soft as a feather bed but with nerves of steel.

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 H-E-L-P!!!

Who am I kidding?

I have all the exits planned out and marked in my head. I know of a supply closet I can hide in.  I’m no fool. I am bringing a thermos of coffee, ummmm Colombian…and a you guessed it, a turkey sandwich.. I will be bringing my “serenity now!” kit complete with a book of nature poetry , sandalwood incense and a portable miniature babbling brook.

Serenity now!!!
Serenity now!!!

Ha-ha…really, I don’t mind working on Black Friday and Thursday too.  There are advantages to the whole thing.  It’s an adventure. I’m a writer and I need to do that sort of thing, seldom does adventure come to me. I will have lots to write about after this. Expect the book, then soon after the screenplay.

Instead of spending money I don’t have I will be making money I can spend later on frivolities like food and fun stuff like mortgage payments and utility bills.  Most importantly this gives me the excuse to have Thanksgiving dinner a day early with my wonderful family in our warm home with turkey and stuffing and pie and everything else. We will all be together spending a glorious and very meaningful day creating new memories and savoring the old ones. We will be thankful for all of this and what does it matter what the calendar says?

vintage-thanksgiving-11

Yummy…yum, yum I’m starving...

So if I see you out there among the throng of shoppers wave a hello across the crowd, maybe we can exchange wisecracks or share a supply closet during a stampede. Just be sure to bring your visa card or at least a warm up on that coffee and if I don’t see you before the holiday…

Have a wonderful,  meaningful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Nancy

vintage thanksgiving kids turkey yum

 

 

Alice’s Restaurant – Original 1967 Recording ( A Thanksgiving tradition in certain circles)

 

The Worst Black Friday Disasters

The Perfect Christmas? Does it exist and how do I get one?

“We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.”
 
― Bill Bryson
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I have been away for a bit, experiencing perhaps a mild case of blogger’s flu. I have been rather neglectful and I have been spending more time in what has been described by some as the “real world”.   The holidays approach like a glittery freight train. I am standing on the tracks with empty shopping bags.
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What do you mean you haven’t started Christmas shopping you foolish woman?”
Santa scolds in a mocking voice before it runs me over…
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christmas santa train
I am standing in what would be described as your typical American Mall during the holiday rush. Two days to go in fact!  The place is abuzz with the collective energy of hundreds of shoppers and various others who for various reasons of their own have decided to visit this shiny tribute to consumerism on this gloriously cold and frosty day in late December.
I relish the excitement and I enjoy the people who also enjoy this type of activity.  We are a motivated lot; we of the last-minute. Our ranks include all walks of life, who for some reason, whether by uncontrollable circumstance, ingrained strains of  procrastination or perhaps just by design have seen fit to shop during these last days before “The Big Day”.
I try not to get hung up in all the stress and the drama of the season. As we file past the endless streams of people I can hear snippets of conversation, much of it is stress-filled and contains the phrase; two days left.
A  lot of expectations are put onto this holiday and it is an emotional and very stressful time of the year. I try to have a good time wherever I go and not to let things get to me.  This is easier said than done and it has taken me many years to cultivate this attitude. I remind myself that December 25th is just  a day and will pass soon enough, what really matters  is the everyday. Today, December 23rd is important as well. It is important to me that I am able to be out here with my beautiful daughter wandering around in all this mayhem, talking, laughing, eating surprisingly good Japanese food and having a wonderful time of it.
All in all, December 25th shows up regardless of whether we are ready for it or not…somehow every year it all works out.  Nothing is ever perfect. This day is no exception and in no way should it be.
We should NOT get everything we want
christmas bow Lexus car

We are bombarded with messages at this time of year. Images of glittery perfection. The silver Lexus in the driveway with the giant red bow. The beautiful and well-behaved children delighting in getting everything they want. The savvy shopanista hunting down one-of-a-kind bargains, playing the perfect hostenista, finding it all and having it all…

I think the holiday season affects us more than all the others combined and I think we inject needless stress into it. Society and the media set impossibly high expectations that no real person can attain. No matter how hard we try we cannot have “the perfect holiday” because it does not exist.
No moment should be perfect. I mean, where do we go from perfect?
Do it now
Do it now
Many say this day has become too commercialized. This is a understatement.
 
Many say we have forgotten the true meaning of the day…this too is an understatement.
andy 546px-Grandpas_visit_Christmas_morning
I don’t really care if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays. I am just glad to be acknowledged in such a positive manner. Whatever you call the day, however you want to celebrate it matters not to me. If anything can be gleaned or gained from all this ado, it is the perfect excuse to get together with those we love. Hopefully to break bread and to partake of each others company. This day is a day for peace, love, understanding, tolerance and compassion. It is not a day to tell anyone how to think or feel or how to celebrate. This I believe.
And I am grateful for what I have, for my friends and family. I am grateful to be able to live in one of the greatest countries in the world. I am grateful to have my health and the free will to follow my dreams.
OUR LOVELY HOME
OUR LOVELY HOME
We all live together on this amazing planet, it is our home. To embrace each other is the true meaning of this day. We are all brothers and sisters,  today, and everyday. We all sit together…and there is room at the table for us all; Jesus, Santa, you and I and Seven Billion others.

 If I could receive any gift this holiday it would be for us all, every single one of us to realize that

 We belong to each other.

 

a-christmas-gift in public domain
Thank you my friends for showing up and reading what I write and leaving such intelligent and thoughtful comments. I’d be all alone out here if it wasn’t for you. My very best wishes to you and yours. 

Happy Christmas from me to YOU!

~Nancy

peace-love-joy christmas

RELATED YOUTUBE
Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)
O Holy Night – Josh Groban
The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
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**Related  Articles**

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus  Written by Francis P. Church in 1897 (http://www.cs.cmu.edu)

The Perfect Christmas Gift (Romance, Inspirational) (mythologystories.wordpress.com)

Interview with Santa Clause (writazondastorm.wordpress.com)

Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Strategies for Procrastinators (abcnews.go.com)

Christmas Cheer/Stress (hudds53.wordpress.com)

High jinks and utter foolishness at the grocery

Excitement awaits you in the soup aisle

I know this probably sounds a little strange but visiting the grocery store can be a rewarding and educational experience and yes, it is a bit thrilling. I suppose that it helps to play these things up because in reality grocery shopping can be one of those elements of the daily grind that can really grind one up. It’s a boring chore of the mundane that can drive anyone crazy. Since I’m a mom to two growing teenagers I am forced to go food shopping on an a constant basis.

I pride myself on my shopping prowess and I am quite the shopping cart driver. I can turn on a dime and I am faster than you’d think so get out of my way. I am on a mission here. I have no time for doubt or indecision. Get what you need and go. I have no time for slow pokes blocking the aisles.  Long lost lovers reuniting, old people arguing about soup and especially the one’s who park right in the middle and disappear; leaving their cart to parts unknown.  Those are the worst. I try to carefully move their cart out of the way and if they catch me at it I get the dirtiest looks, its like I am molesting their produce or something.. I am tempted to throw small and expensive items like scented pine nuts and organic razor blades into their carts in hopes they are forced to pay for them.

I suppose at times I can get somewhat territorial and a bit hostile. It is a jungle out there. And It’s everyone for themselves. I have seen acts of desperation and cowardice. I myself have been victimized, my thick wad of coupons stolen from under my nose along with my grocery list to add insult to injury.  I have been hit up by crooked foodstampers who want to commit food stamp fraud with me, hit on by the Pepsi guy, insulted by the Cheetoes guy and screamed at by a small child who wanted my mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I have learned to be tough and ruthless. I have learned about double couponing and what happens when you bag up lavender scented snuggle dryer sheets with dove dark chocolate and, I have learned much about my fellow humans.

I liken it to a jungle and it is.  It reminds me of a wildlife safari.  Each part of the store is like a different habitat; each with its own ecosystem.  The frozen food wastelands: the habitat of the eternal bachelor. He is easily identified by his bulging cart of frozen pizzas, canned chili and beer.  The organic food section sprinkled with pale hipsters in their 30’s who bring their own burlap shopping bags with inspirational messages written on them.  The lemon-scented cleaning product section: the lair of the harried mom ( you can find me between the Pine Sol and the Febreeze) and one of my all time favorite places; the colorful and the sugary, the cereal aisle!  This is the place for everyone to embrace their inner child.  Hey the Froot Loops box says it has more fiber. Who am I to argue?

So many spontaneous moments happen in the grocery store. It is the perfect place to see a cross-section of humanity. The strangest scenes will play out in the aisles and believe I’ve seen it all. It seems some people liken the grocery aisle to their dysfunctional living room and they will act accordingly.

"The New Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lomb...
Image via Wikipedia

I go to a chain store that advertises one-stop shopping. That makes it interesting because it causes some items to mix with others that should not mix;  Ortho Lawn Be Gone and Kraft Macaroni and cheese with chain saws, diapers and 12 different kinds of olives, for example. Throw in a Starbucks,  a deli, a bank, a optomistrist and a day care center and you have more than a store… you have a lifestyle.

It also makes for some interesting sights and it certainly can be a convenience for weary shoppers. Take furniture for instance; it is hard to turn down a nice soft sit down on a comfy new sofa showcased next to the Doritos and bean dip. It is a common occurrence to see shoppers sprawling out on the furniture.  I’ve seen people reading books, eating a sack lunch and playing games on their phone. I’ve seen old men napping and a young mother nursing her fussy infant. It seems the store not only approves of this but encourages it with big screen Hi Def T.V.’s tuned to The Sports Channel with cases of cheap beer a scant few feet away.

Food shopping can be quite the experience, every trip is a new adventure.  At the very least I’ll get the makings of tonight’s dinner and a wee bit of my money will be set free out there to swim with the others, reproduce and stimulate the economy.  So.. Happy Shopping! It’s the American way and remember Buy Local.  😉

American Corporate Flag
Image via Wikipedia

Strawberryindigo.