Sunday, November 27, 2011

THE BLACKEST OF FRIDAYS: One kind-of-brave man’s fight for discount stuff

By Chad Morris

I put on my steel-toed boots, my Kevlar, and my high school football pads and helmet. There was no way I was going into Wal-mart for Black Friday shopping unprepared.  

My wife gave me my mission—as impossible as it was. I had my targets, but I had to go into the heart of Wal-mart shoppers. And we all know what they can be like. (Shudder). And there were more than I have ever seen before--a fire hazard of crazy people. And they were hungry—hungry for cheap stuff. Fear crept up my spine. This could be my darkest hour.

Passing car after car, I made the 17-mile trek from the closest parking spot to the front doors. I nearly had to push my way in, over 15 million people crammed into the same Wal-mart. (I’m still not sure how that could have happened. I suspect the strongest of evil forces.) I could smell the sweat, hear the screams, and knew before the night was out, there would be blood. If I wanted up to 75% off of things I didn’t really need, I was going to have to earn it.

All of the sale items sat in closed boxes, or on pallets wrapped in cellophane and guarded by ex-CIA agents with broadswords, dressed in blue vests with smiling yellow faces on them. I decided to scout the store for my targets—Legos, a few WII games, a couple of bikes, and a ping pong table. The odds were simply insurmountable to get them all, to even get one, but I was used to such odds.

I still had a few moments before I had to be in position, when everything went wrong. The crowd moved early. They pushed their way toward the items on sale—I think I even saw some salivating. The Ex-CIA agents fought valiantly, but there were just . . . too . . . . many . . . of them. They hungry crowd burst through the cellophane and cardboard boxes, like they were cellophane and cardboard. It had begun.

With acrobatic grace, I leapt onto a clothing rack, jumped onto the shelf holding jeans, and ran along its top until I could flip into the middle of the fray. I landed just inches away from my prime quest—the Legos. I thrusted my hand toward my goal and could touch the nobby things on top of their packaging when I felt an elbow to my face. I rolled with the momentum of the blow and spun into a roundhouse kick. Only as she was falling did I realize I had ko’d a middle-age woman. She probably had several kids and was shopping on a budget. Yes, I know—the most formidable of opponents. But I didn’t have time to celebrate. I had discount toys to nab.

A shopping cart hit me in the back, smashing me into the box of stored goods. My vision became blurred and I felt like I was falling. Only with extreme effort, did I manage to keep consciousness, and somehow find that hidden place of inner strength. I turned and tipped over the cart, blocking a new swarm of shoppers.  

I pulled myself up and reached in for my Legos, but felt someone trying to strangle me. A box of 1400 pieces of stackable plastic pieces for only $29.99 can just make some people go crazy. But I wasn’t about to quit so close to my goal. I pulled out two containers of Legos by their plastic handles, and swung them wildly to keep others away. Soon the hand fell away from my neck. I turned around to see another woman on the floor. If she hadn’t been talking to her shopping partner on her cell-phone at the same time, I wouldn’t have had a chance.

I ran along the tops of the sales items until I found a motorized jeep, quickly turning it on, and peeling out into the aisle. Racing at nearly 9 mph, I motored toward the front of the store. I might have run over a person or two—good thing it was four-wheel drive. I grabbed several more targets, but the others were gone—my enemy had foiled me again.

I knew I had to get out of there while I still could. I leapt from the jeep moments before it careened into what was left of an ICarly pajama display. There was only one way out. And I’d have to face the obstacle that could make body-building navy seals trained to withstand torture break like cheap plastic Barbie accessories—the checkout line. I quickly secured my position. Moments later and I would have been lost in the hundreds of people behind me.  Now, all I had to do was wait.

It was nearly a half hour later, as I watched all the other lines moved at three times the speed of mine, that I realized I was facing my absolute nightmare—the new cashier.

Alright, so that wasn’t it all. I didn’t really get elbowed, nor did I roundhouse kick a middle-age woman, or run over anyone with a toy-jeep. I don’t even own boots, nor did I play football in high school. But I did face a massive crowd of people. I did get Legos, and a few other things. And I did wait in line for nearly two hours to check out. To me I did face insurmountable challenges without crying (though after the first hour and a half in line, I wanted to.)  

And then I met my wife in Target—who had a great time, said it was well-organized and got a lot of their big ticket items, no problem.

Which proves to me, yet again, that my wife is better than me. And if I’m ever going to do this again, I need more training.  


  1. I made the mistake of going to Walmart on Black Friday last year...I will NEVER do it again.

  2. LOL! Hilarious. I didn't fight the crowds this year. After too much work hosting Thanksgiving, I took Friday off to relax. I usually love the chaos of Black Friday though. Sounds like you did pretty good, if you didn't get pepper sprayed :)

  3. I totally feel like I need all the body armor when I go into WalMart on Black Friday, too! I think I need a few years of experiences like your wife's to get me to stop disliking it so much.

  4. That has to be the best Black Friday story I've heard yet. So glad I figured out what was wrong with my blog list and updated your url. Man. I've been missing out. :)

  5. Thank you for confirming my long held bias that Target far exceeds Walmart...


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