I don’t do Black Friday.
I worked retail (JC Penney and Macy’s) to put myself through college. I’m lucky I don’t have a nervous twitch and hiss at people who even think “ho ho ho.”
But as anyone who has ever worked retail will tell you, Black Friday isn’t the worst day to work in a department store.
The day after Christmas is the worst day to work in a department store. The day after Christmas is enough to make you denounce your species, strip down to your altogethers and go live with the wolves. You know, where it’s civilized.
So, despite the incredible deals, and having three kids to shop for, I don’t do Black Friday.
But one year…
Four years ago – the first Thanksgiving Himself and I lived together.
Backstory: Himself is Jewish. Our house is now non-deified, but he does have Jewish traditions that are special to him, and I celebrate Christmas (with presents) and Easter (with chocolate eggs), so now we have theologically confused kids who can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a dreidel, a bunny or a leprechaun.
Christmas is a Big Deal for me. A big, huge, hairy, jingly, tinseled, powdered-sugared monster deal. And I make it a celebration that includes my Jewish husband (then boy-friend, which is just a bloody ridiculous word to use when you are thirty-seven) and his children. It’s not a religious holiday for me, it’s just fun.
And when we can, we buy one big-deal gift for the three kids all together. That year we had the idea of a portable dvd player, which at the time were priced between $120 and $180.
I made the mistake of saying something like, “If we were willing to do doorbuster sales we could get it for $50, but I’m not doing that.”
Himself (Jewish and clueless, remember?) said, “I’ll go.”
To which I replied, “Excuse me?”
“I’m always up that early, I can go.”
“Uh…I don’t think you want to do that.” I say.
Himself snorted. “How bad can it be?”
So at oh-dark-thirty the day after Thanksgiving, Himself got up, left the house and drove to Best Buy.
I didn’t stay asleep for very long after he left, so at about 5:30, since I was awake, I decided to call and see how it was going.
“Hello?” Says a frantic and semi-panicked voice.
“How’s it going?” I ask.
“THERE ARE NINE MILLION PEOPLE OUT HERE!!!”
“Yeah, that’s sort of how it goes.”
“WHAT ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE DOING OUT HERE???”
“Trying to get a good deal on electronics. Same as you are. Are you at Best Buy?”
“NO! The line for Best Buy circled the store seventeen times. I didn’t even bother.”
“Ok. Are you coming home?”
“No, I’m going to try Circuit City.”
Huh? “I thought you just said it was insanity out there.”
“Yeah, but, I’m already out here. Let me try Circuit City.”
“You’ve drunk the kool-aid.”
“I’m already here,” he said again.
“You’re one of them!” I cried.
“Do you want the cheap dvd player or not?”
“Call me if you find anything.”
He did find a $50 portable DVD player. He had to beat off a former NFL player dressed like someone’s ancient Chinese ancestor in order to do it, but at a certain point you just stop caring who you are playing tug-of-war with over the merchandise. It could be your own grandmother the morning after her hip surgery and you’d still give her an elbow to the chin if she tried to get between you and 70% off.
He got home, arms wrapped reflexively around the box.
“Can I see it?”
“It’s mine!” He hissed.
“Ummm…it’s for the kids, right?”
“You cants have it. It’s miiiiiiine….It’s my precioussssss…..”
“Do you ever want to have sex again?”
“Here you go. Don’t lose the receipt.”
He swore he would never, ever, ever do Black Friday again.
I wouldn’t ask him to. Technically, I didn’t ask the first time. I just didn’t appreciate the depth of his ignorance.
But he knows now.
And he’s never doing it again.