I like sales almost as much as I love using coupons to save money. The only thing I like more is when it’s a BIG sale and I can use LOTS of coupons. That said, is it any wonder that Black Friday is my favorite day of the year? I’m like a kid in a candy store, except that I’m an adult and I buy stuff other than candy.
I do the majority of my Black Friday shopping online these days, but there was a time not that long ago when I would venture out into the world and join the masses of bargain hunters lining up at actual stores for the opportunity to save some money. Hmm, that reminds me of a story…
The year: 2006
The store: Let’s call it “Bullseye.” Okay, it was Target.
My quest: A Playstation 3.
Sony’s latest game system had just just been released and was selling out everywhere, quickly becoming one of the year’s “must have” items. This year it’s supposed to be Disney Infinity or the Flutterbye Flying Fairy, both of which are at the top of my own kids’ lists. But I digress. Back to the story...
I got to to the store bright and early only to find about a hundred people in front of me all with their Target coupons clipped and ready to go. “Oh well,” I rationalized, “They can’t all be there to get a PS3, I should be good.”
I was waiting surrounded by strangers waiting for the doors to open when I start chatting up the girl behind me. Let’s call her “Cruella.” We hit it off, exchanged numbers, and agreed to get together soon.
Man, this day started off really good. The store opens, the stampede begins, and I grab a cart and head straight for where the PS3’s are.
As I get to the aisle, I spy a gorgeous girl putting a PS3 into her own cart. Let’s call her “Victoria.” I wheel up next to her and see that she has grabbed the last one. I frown, and she notices. Then she kindly offers hers to me if I want it.
Wow, how sweet. I politely decline, and ask “Are you buying this for your brother?”
Victoria: “No, for myself. I’m a gamer. And I don’t have a boyfriend.”
What?! A beautiful, single, girl gamer? Our meeting has to be fate. I am in love! After a little more small talk, we exchange phone numbers and agree to meet up for dinner.
So what if I didn’t score a PS3? I still did pretty good, I’m thinking. Victoria heads off, and it was then that I noticed Cruella at the end of the aisle staring at me, anger in her eyes. She obviously just saw me get Victoria’s number and isn’t happy about it. I kind of weakly smile at her: “Oops. Busted.” She does not smile back.
Instead, she grabs a passing Target Assistant Manager (Todd) and tells him she saw me shoplifting. I protest, but Todd insists that I come with him to the office and wait for the police. Not wanting to cause a scene, and knowing that I’m innocent and have nothing to hide, I agree. Now Cruella smiles.
By the time we enter the storeroom area, I’ve convinced Todd that Cruella is just a vindictive, jealous liar. I even let him give me a quick pat down to prove I haven’t stolen anything. He apologizes, I say no problem. As I begin to leave...I spot a lone PS3 peeking out from under a pile of other boxes! Yes! I ask Todd if I can grab it and he says “Sure.”
I check out and head back to my car. Exiting the store, I see Cruella talking to two police officers. I freeze – you’ve got to be kidding, she called the cops on me?!
Nope, it turned out her car had been stolen. Hah! Holiday karma at its best!
So why after seven more years of Black Friday mayhem, savings, joys and disappointments is this still the story that sticks with me? Because Victoria is now my wife.
Mostly out of superstition, we’ve never gone Black Friday shopping together again for fear some cosmic reversal could take place, and we’d end up divorced. But, so far, so good. And as for Cruella? I never saw her again and I hope she pays full price for everything.