There was a time when I’d wake up the day after Thanksgiving at 5 AM to drive 90 miles to Seattle to shop. But two things were different then: I didn’t have a child (and thus, complete respect for sleep), and the sales began “early” at 7 AM.
These days, “early” is actually “late.” Most major stores opened at midnight, while the big daddies sprung their doors at 10 PM for “doorbuster sales.”The prices are good if you’re in the market for an off-brand TV or a Dora bicycle, but there’s no guarantee that you’re even going to get them. The stores don’t really care if you get what you came for. All they want is to get you in the door. Then they can tempt you with the things no human being needs: a chair massage pad or an Orbeez Soothing Spa (you know you’re curious). And because you can’t leave a store at 3 AM empty handed, you impulse-buy a zoo’s worth of pint-sized Pillow Pets.
And then there are the inevitable fights that break out. Who’s surprised by that? People have spent the past 12 hours cooking and listening to their relatives debate the difference between sweet potatoes and yams and then – tired and probably a little bit drunk – these same people line up outside Walmart in the middle of the night prepared to do battle in the name of Christmas. Some fool brings pepper spray for some crowd control and the rest belongs to Thanksgiving legend.
That said, when heartburn stirred me from my turkey-induced coma around 4 AM, I admit that I felt as if I was missing out on something by choosing sleep over sales – that “something” being a 30-percent discount on the Victorious Doll that Ava covets. But the feeling only lasted until I rolled over to discover that my daughter had sneaked into my bed and was fast asleep, all cherubic and satisfied. I happily conceded my $5.99 Victorious would have to wait until another day, another sale.
I did go shopping for a couple of hours with my mom this Black Friday morning, but only after we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and cup of coffee. I avoided the ads and commercials altogether and instead stumbled upon a few deals, making me feel as if I really found something.
I didn’t want to know what I was missing. Instead, I focused on what I was gaining, a wonderful morning with my family.