Since I’ve never done Black Friday, and since I believe being a fifty-something woman means you ought to try new things whenever an opportunity presents itself, I had the best of intentions this year. Little did I know that Black Friday PSSD – Post Shopping Stress Disorder – is something that should be included in the DSM-IV if it isn’t already.
It began simply enough. I was going to haul myself out of the house at 11:30 pm on Thanksgiving night and present myself in all my I’m-tired-but-I’m-here glory at the mall promptly at midnight in time for the new and improved shopping event. Once 10:00 pm rolled around it became apparent that Plan A simply wasn’t going to happen; a 7:00 a.m. substitution had to do.
My first shock came when I saw the mall parking lot. Full. At the near crack of dawn, for cryin’ out loud. I dutifully found myself a parking spot in the back 40 and, armed with a credit card and some lip gloss, off I went.
As I entered the Bon-Ton I was rocked by a wave of shopping energy that can only be described as reminiscent of the pre-Christmas week rush. Lines. Lots of them. People jockeying for position, arms loaded down with garmets, appliances and shoe boxes. Some savvy shoppers had it down; they waited in line while their sneaky little accomplice shopper darted into the aisles and returned with more merchandise for them, their piles growing as they inched their way toward the register. Hm…experience shows.
With visions of leaving empty-handed due to my tardy arrival, I hastened to the shoe department. Chaos. Boxes, boots and shoes in various stages of unwrap everywhere. Harried (but polite!) clerks ran back and forth from the register to the back, bringing out shoes and boots for eager buyers. As I began my search for just the right footwear, I quickly succumbed to my typical holiday shopping coma. Although I begin with a purpose, the sensory overload quickly takes it’s toll on my psyche. After trying on 2-3 pairs unsuccessfully, I begin to falter. Shoppers whizzed by me with packages, strollers and husbands in tow. Started getting hot in there…(yeah, you guessed it. When is that Amberen gonna get here???) My purposeful stride begins to resemble more of an aimless amble. The deer-in-the-headlights expression fades to an emotionless mask, dull-eyed and slow, the sure and final sign that I have finally checked out. I have succumbed to the seductions of shopping hell.
The take-away from my Black Friday shopping experience? My computer mouse is a lot better shopping buddy than those 4,000 single-minded, hard core professionals for one lousy pair of boots.