One Cold Black Friday –a short story by Travis Hurst
It was a dreary Thanksgiving night; the year was 2004, I was reading a Wal-Mart flyer for the next day’s Black Friday sale.
Among all the items on sale, were DVD players for $29 and trampolines for $120 …but only while supplies last. It just so happened that I needed both.
“The doors open at 6:00am so you’d better get here early” the flyer proclaimed as to give us a secret warning.
“Hey Deana, I’ve got a great idea, let’s get there a little before 6:00am to make sure we miss the crowds” I said with complete confidence in my strategic thinking.
So we rose at 4:30am sharp, had some breakfast, and scurried off into town to conquer and to claim gifts for our children.
When we pulled up into the Wal-Mart parking lot at 5:50am, to our astonishment it was already jam packed. When we walked in the store, we could see there were lines forming all over the store for these “good deals”. Looking around, I quickly found the trampolines so I instructed Deana to stand post right next to ours until I returned with the DVD player and a shopping cart.
The next part of my story is a little fuzzy but I will tell it as best as I can remember.
Suddenly, someone wearing a blue vest standing on a ladder with a hand held megaphone announced: “We are now open!” And in that moment, all hell broke loose.
It was an angry mob scene. People were crowding in, pushing, shoving, gouging, and yelling unspeakable things. Dogs were barking; children were crying. There was mayhem on every side. To my left were two women fighting over five dollar blankets; to my right, people were snatching pillows out of a wooden bin, I think someone got hit in the head by one. Shelves were emptying as fast as I could see. In vain I sought for what I came there to buy.
Suddenly, there they were: right in front of me the $29 DVD players I had come to buy; however, I couldn’t get to them because of the crowd. So I watched, stood there helplessly as the few fortunate folks one by one snatched the limited supply of boxed DVD players off the shelves.
I feared I would be left out. I had to just go for it. So with a forceful thrust, I broke through and rushed in to claim one of the DVD players but alas, I was knocked down and nearly trampled. As I was fighting for what seemed to be my very life, I was able to grab one of the last DVD players on my way down and hug it safely and securely while laying in the fetal position on the floor.
I remembered how comforting the cool tile floor felt against my left cheek. I was tempted to touch my tongue to the cool tile floor but feared it to would be trampled also. So I just laid there and waited confidently because I was victorious!
When the crowd finally cleared, I hugged my prize all the way back to the cart. As I returned to Deana we embraced thankfully for my safe return. But now, it was time to make our way to the cash register without losing what we had worked so hard to obtain. We felt the jealous eyes of those all around who were less fortunate –the late comers who, because of an extra 10 minutes of slumber, would walk the aisles with empty shopping carts looking to snatch from the successful like me.
Soon we found that we were standing in a line that ended at the back of the store. We waited in line for almost 2 hours.
The ride back home was a silent one. We thought of how things transpired, how things got out of hand, and how close I came to being seriously injured. Was it worth it? Just how much money was saved on that cold Black Friday. Total savings: about $40-45 bucks.
I haven’t been to a Black Friday sale since.