Monday, November 26, 2007

It's a Cat-Fight Kinda Christmas

It's Monday, officially known (I think it's offical) as Black Monday, the first "work day" after Thanksgiving when online shopping gets its turn like the stores get on Black Friday. Black Friday... ah yes, that special time of year when the stores open early, the mothers of the world head out in the pre-dawn hours in a desperate attempt to find THE perfect gifts at the ROCK BOTTOM prices, because let's admit it, this crap we scurry around for is available all year round. It's the the DEALS. It's the hunt for the savings.

So the heathens and I headed out for Ft. Worth on Wednesday so we'd be at my parents for T-Day. Our 2 hour drive took four hours due to everyone else getting a jump on the drive. Our little town has a half-day of school on Wednesday, and I thought if I left right around the time they got out of school, we'd miss most of the traffic of those who had to work until 5pm.


Now, if our school district had an ounce of sense, we'd have had all of Wednesday off and that drive could have been done on Tuesday night, way before the rush, but nooooo.

Wednesday morning, dressed in shorts and tank tops and complaining about 80 degree weather in November, we hit my parents' house around 7pm and started complaining about 40 degree weather. Apparently we drove against a cold front, so by the time we landed in Ft. Worth, it had hit.

God has a sense of humor. Keep Texas mild and balmy all flippin' season until the day before Black Friday. Nice.

I'd post pictures of my family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc.) but 1) I didn't take any because 2) those lovely Thanksgiving pictures always show people with their mouths wide open shoveling disgustingly fatty yet holy-crap-that's-good food into their mouths. Not a flattering thing to capture in a photo. Trust me on this, as I have years and years worth of such pictures.

The kids were still up and hyped at midnight on Thanksgiving Night, but Mom and I had the alarm set for three am.

Yes, that's 3 am. You read it right.

Okay, so I didn't have an alarm. MOM set HER alarm then it was her job to wake me up. Lucky her. Dad remained in bed. And they say men are the stronger of the sexes. Wimps.

I love Black Friday. For me, that's when Christmas is official (although it seemed to arrive awfully fast this year, didn't it???). The idea of what to get the kids to make their eyes shine on Christmas morning. The parents out shopping in Christmas sweatshirts and sweaters (I wore a t-shirt which reads: STUFF THIS with a picture of a stocking, but hey, it's just me, so that kind of says it all, right? Right.) Holiday decorations all around, holiday music piping through the stores. Ahhh. Bliss.

And a catfight at Toys R Us. Not kidding.

Mom and I have done Black Friday for as long as I can remember, and I truly love it because Dad watches the four kids and Mom and I go out, alone, just the two of us, doing whatever we want, buying whatever strikes our little fansies. Dad normally takes the kids to a movie while we're gone. We leave while it's dark, have lunch somewhere hours and hours later, then return home around 3 or so. (Sometimes we have to come home to dump the loads from the car, but this year we had the van, so we were golden.) In all the years we've done this, and all the horror stories you hear about Black Friday, we had never EXPERIENCED it. Until this year.

Now, *last* year, we got to Toys R Us around 4:45, right before they opened. The line circled the building. Rather than walk all the way to the far end of the line, a group of us stood to the side and just waited, then when the line got through, we went in. Nice and calm. We'd had some heckling from the group in The Line, but after reassuring them none of us had any intention of ruining their perfect formation, it calmed right now. So, having been on THAT side of the situation, apparently it was my turn to experience it from The Line Side.

Toys R Us had something I *really, really* wanted to get. It was marked down by $120 savings, and something I couldn't have bought if not for the remarkable price. So, Mom and I got there at 3:20. We were #46 and #47 in line. At 3:20. Ugh. And, remember God's sense of humor? Uh huh. It was like 20* with the breeze. Pardon me while I shiver in memory...

I took a McDonald's break and got us breakfast, which we ate ... IN LINE. We bonded with the husband and wife in front of us for an hour and a half, etc. Good times. Then a Toys R Us employee comes walking down The Line announcing that the item I specifically went to buy is already gone. They'd only had 25, and gave tickets to the first 25 in line. A huge bummed sigh ran its way down the shivering people, but few left The Line. I personally had several times I wanted this year from the store, so in line we stood.

And as it got closer to the infamous 5am store opening time, a group gathered near the doors, across the way, presumably to do what we'd done last year: Wait til the line went through, then enter after us, rather than walk to the end of the exceedingly long line just to have to walk back up.

Someone in The Line started the heckling (as happened last year) with "Haven't you learned what a line is?!" and I thought, "Here we go." One lady from The Group said what I did last year: "We're just waiting here til you all go through." Made sense. I'd said the same thing just 12 months ago.

I assured the husband and wife we were standing near that the same thing happened last year, but that The Group was just waiting til The Line went in, THEN they'd go after us.

And The Group, being what they were, made me out to be a huge, honkin' liar.

The doors opened, and The Group CHARGED the door! I was amazed. I'd never seen anything like it. The absolutely audacity was mindboggling. Well, not to be outdone, The Line charged the door, and we had SHOPPING CARTS. The husband in front of us would have made the Dallas Cowboys proud. He used his cart and surged forward, his wife holding on to our cart so that we formed an unbreakable barrier. He blocked from the left, where people from The Group were attempting to overpower The Line. Another father/husband came up from behind me in The Line and took over The Guarding of the Door.

Well, as he was watching to the right, making sure no one cut in our Line, some girl went left from behind him, and ducked under his arm. The woman right behind me snatched her by the hair, jerked her back and yelled, "Oh I don't think so, bitch!" and it got ugly from there and caused the entire Group/Line struggle to come to a grinding halt, this cluster of cussing and bodies blocking the entrance to the store.

I just took off. This left NO ONE behind me, so I could slow down and grab the other stuff I'd wanted on my way to electronics (where, of course, there was ANOTHER line). I passed a couple of employees and said, "You have a fight at the door" and that was it for my personal responsibility. I got what I wanted (minus, of course, the item I *really* wanted) and as I stood next in line to get into electronics, lo and behold, there were the police. I said, "If you're here about what happened at the door, you should arrest the Charger, not the girl who stopped her." They laughed it off, said no one was arrested, and the woman who charged the door never even got in.

Ahhhhhhh. Karma. I love it.

In case you're wondering, that one item I *really* wanted, I did end up getting. The story of THAT will be posted tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot. When we got to Target at 6am for their opening, I dropped Mom off to be a part of The Line, then I parked and waited with The Group. It was a good Group - no fighting, no heckling, but can you even believe it - they'd already heard about the Toys R Us incident on the *radio*. Then it was reported in the local paper, although they got the details wrong. Kinda neat! Yes, I am that easily amused. What of it?!

Ho... Ho... MEOW!!!