Mom, it's the ONLY thing I want for Christmas! In my house, this seasonal mantra typically began shortly after Halloween and continued through Christmas Eve. These "more than anything", die-hard requests always seemed to be attached to the most elusive, hard to find, toy of choice on the market. To this day, I can still recall the echo of desperation in the tiny voices of my children.
As a mom, I dreaded and despised the non-stop, commercial driven antics of the toy industry. HOT item lists and anticipated shortages plagued my very existence. How could I let my kids down? There could be no exceptions or mishaps, Santa had to deliver! Mindful of a limited income and armed with determination, Black Friday became my ultimate challenge...my mom badge was at stake and I had to emerge victorious.
Admittedly, my first Black Friday escapade was a colossal failure. As a newbie, I learned very quickly that Black Friday shopping was not an exercise for the amateur or an adventure for the fainthearted. Black Friday shopping success depended upon strategy, expertise and a fierce desire to beat the competition.
After Thanksgiving festivities would end, my Mad Woman on a Mission personality would surface. As a Black Friday shopping guru, my strategy began by gathering sale ads, mapping out Early Bird Specials and Door Busters, making a detailed list of which sales were at what stores, set out my clothes and went to bed early.
The alarm would ring at 1 a.m. and I would arrive at my first store around 2 a.m. The specials were very limited and I had to be first or second in line if I were to have a chance at getting that "must have", "hard to get" item.
Thinking back, I have to laugh remembering how easy it was to distinguish between Black Friday professionals and first timers. First timers just didn't seem to understand the consequences of drinking too much coffee or the hassle of returning lawn chairs to the car. Let's just say that depending on the crowd, getting out of line wasn't always respected. First timers would experience a Black Friday boot camp of sorts. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately describe the brutality that could sometimes accompany Black Friday shopping. Once the doors opened, rules disappeared and the shoppers that, just moments earlier, appeared to wait patiently, transformed into raging mobs brandishing fisticuffs, pushing and showing displays of ruthless hostility.
Over the years, I became very skilled at Black Friday shopping and my BFF and I incorporated team shopping into our ritual. Team shopping made it even easier to secure more of our "must get items".
The era of Cabbage Patch Dolls®, Ninja Turtles®, Power Rangers®, Tickle Me Elmo®, Power Puff Girls®, Nintendo®, PlayStation II®, Fur Real Cat®, and Holiday Barbie® are now gone, but the memories remain. Black Friday shopping became a quest I conquered and now it's over! Well maybe? Times have changed and while I still love Black Friday shopping, I admit that I enjoy it more from the comfort of my home computer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not saying that I will never suit up again to once again tackle the crowds and experience the rush of adrenaline while zigging and zagging my way through the frenzy of sale chaos. While I cannot predict when or if nostalgia will once again release my Mad Woman on a Mission personality, one thing is certain....should that day arrive, I highly suggest that you move on or move over!