Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday Frenzy

It's Friday morning somewhere in the US. Little conspirational groups are assembling in cold dark places in the wee morning hours. Despite the fact that their toes are freezing off, and they forgot to bring a hat, scarf, or mittens they huddle together. Some are not brave enough to face the elements. There are lurkers in cars that are kept running, spewing fumes on the innocent herd of people gathering - where? In front of JoAnn' s Fabrics & Crafts.

Is this really me standing there waiting excitedly with them? I never believed I would participate in this craziness. I assure you there is nothing like it in Germany. Not like Germans don't enjoy a good sale. But this? Nope, don't have it. Only in America...

What a curious thing to behold. This year is actually my third year. I am becoming a bit of veteran here. Part of the acculturation process, I suppose. The last two years I arrived right around 6 am, just when the store opened. Too late, deary! You will not get a shopping cart that way. Must have shopping cart to lug around all those bolts of fabric and tons of other stuff that wasn't really on sale...So here I stand with my camera. Asking people for permission to take a picture for my blog. You know, to document and collect evidence of this phenomenon. Permission granted, I take a picture of the first 5 hardy shoppers.

I made it at 5.30 AM. They came even earlier. I am so proud of myself. Skipping breakfast really helps. One fellow shopper tells me how she has already hit three other stores. The worst being Best Buy, where police was called to hold over 500 shoppers at bay. Maybe next year I'll go there to see for myself. But I am kind of a scaredy cat. And I really don't like crowds very much - unless I am in Germany and enjoying the benefits of public transportation. I don't mind rubbing shoulders if it involves getting places. But shopping. Nope.

So there it goes. The door finally opens. The run for the shopping carts is on! Got one! But OH NO! I was too slow again. Someone grabbed that cute flannel fabric that I really wanted. Will she buy the whole bolt? I am simply not tough enough for this event. Besides warm clothes, the task requires speed and agility. I mostly stand back and watch the scene unfold around me, tentatively putting a couple of bolts in my cart.

There are quite a few gentlemen around who have come to support their wives in their mission this morning. No way I would ever get my husband to come here. Quickly, I snap a picture of a dude with a cowboy hat. He gives me a bored look. I suppose he won't mind having his picture on my blog, would he?

I remember the first year I attended this event. There was a husband wife team. She shopped while he was instructed to wait in the check-out line. Then came the nervous breakdown. He made it to the front of the register too early and paid for the stuff. It was quite the scene, since she had to wait in line again plus lost her 20% off coupon on the rest of her haul. Wow! I couldn't help but smile. But really it was mostly sad. The guy got yelled at after he had endured and shopped so valiantly for hours with her. How is that fair?

Well, I got my share of the loot this this year. I humbly put only 8 bolts in my cart and bought two yards each. There was no funny/sad scene like the one I witnessed my first year. Everybody was really nice and friendly. The sales staff even offered to let me do a repeat shot of them in action. My neighbor in line was really awesome. We talked about sewing machines and what we intend to make. I got some really good tips, and she even offered me a few cuts of yardage from some bolts she had stacked on her cart! :). Seamstresses and crafts people are really peaceful and kind folks. All the early bird shoppers were happy as a lark!


momma rae said...

too funny!! i love that you captured this. i was home all day long. ;) my partner's side of the family is heavy into black friday. it is an all day affair from before the sun rises until long after it has set! also funny to witness.

glad you got some great deals. joann's might be an exception for me....if we only had one here.

Kerry said...

You are so brave to head out in the dark and the cold and the craziness. If I went I out, I would probably go to JoAnn too!