yep, I'm one of those.
come on, is it really so wacko to google freshly leaked black friday ads, create an excel file to compare 10 different store's sales, use about $12 worth of black ink printing out lists, map out a plan A and plan B driving route, synchronize watches and collect cell phone numbers of your fellow bf (black friday) posse, eat a huge Thanksgiving meal, then wake up at 3:30 the next morning to stand in the freeze-your-bum-off Michigan environs?
hmmm, when written out like that it does seem to fall in the weird column. but--it's tradition! (shouted in a Tevye-esque voice)
now, as to the title of this post, I know what you're thinking: if Meijer is the superstore, as chronicled, then why is she black friday-ing (I've verbed for you) 10 different stores?!
admittedly, it does seem hypocritical. as the superstore is an "open 24 hours" store (allowing one to wait inside @ 3:30am), inventory includes toys, electronics, clothes, "furniture," tools, dvd's, music, pet gear, and groceries--a snack while you wait. so why do I avoid Meijer on the day of days?
one word: 2005.
oh...I guess that's three words; two-thousand-five. or is it one number...?
day after thanksgiving, aka, black friday 2005:
how smart am I? it's 4:45am, I'm inside Meijer, snacking on a bag of entenmann's glazed chocolate pop'ems waiting for the 5am "start" of black friday's sales. I've got my cart filled with presents, I'm feeling pretty smug that this one haul makes me 75% done with Christmas shopping! waa-hoozle!
I'm standing in line for just one electronic item, taking in the whole holiday season/spirit oozing all around me. granted, Meijer's signage of season's greetings and my child-like Christmas glow are the only evidence of oozing Christmas spirit, but I'm determined to make up for all the early morning grinches around me. I munch and watch as the aisles become a fire marshal's nightmare, what with my fellow bf-ers (black friday-ers) sporting their puffy parkas, carts spilling over with potential Christmas morn delight, and "choice item" lines snaking through nearly every aisle Meijer has to offer.
after my second (okay, fifth) pop'em, I glance at the time and realize there are only 8 minutes left 'til official Meijer Black Friday Sale begins! that's when I felt it; an ever-so-slight disturbance in the force. you know the feeling, a sense of impending doom, but indefinite and obscure. this "flex" in the force reminded me of the time in college when my friend and I were in an overly-packed elevator. just before we dropped 6 floors to the basement I remember reading the OTIS elevator capacity warning: NOT TO EXCEED 10 PERSONS. I have a vague memory of looking at Scott and saying, "we're over capacity." as if on cue, the elevator doors opened about 8 inches, allowing all 18 boxed-up humans to watch as floors 6 through lobby whizzed by. ahh, the glory days...
but I digress. it wasn't long before the cause of my sixth sense presented itself--plasma! apparently, there was an awesome deal on 21.6" plasma tvs. not needing/wanting a 21.6" plasma tv, I was oblivious to the mortal danger I had sashayed into, all the while humming jingle bells and popping donuts like they were...pop'ems.
quick bf background for you: every year around 4:59 and 45 seconds, there's a group of people that jump out of their cars and run into a store, thinking they can by-pass the suckers that have waited in line for hours. some make it in with just angry howls and non-Christmas-like four letter words ringing in their ears. as I witnessed on bf 2005, others wished four letter words were the cause of their ears ringing.
the beginning of the line for the plasma merchandise was directly in front of the stack of "limited quantity, only 1 per customer" boxed tvs. the associates were stacking the boxes right until 4:59:50, when some yahoo (the Gulliver's Travels kind, not the internet company kind) came up, ignoring the stunned line-waiters, and pulled off one of the coveted goods. and so did his buddy.
well, as you can imagine, the long-arm of the Meijer Law came to the rescue in the form of two way-too-slender-to-handle-even-fourth-graders associates who were immediately shoved aside by the much larger, more tattooed and more prison scarred than said Meijer associates. right about then, the force went from "disturbed" to blatantly psychotic.
human shrieks and screams, followed up with dogpiles of fist-fights are unnerving enough, but when box-cutters flash in the glow of incandescent lighting, that's when I beat a path to the exit. I'm trying to grab my phone from my layers of winter wear when I realize some cooler head is way ahead of me. uniformed police officers run by, hands on holsters. I look up at the myriad of tinted, half-domed cameras dangling from the ceiling, understanding that Meijer's crack in-house SWAT team was on the job.
the "incident" didn't make news. not sure if these "black friday shoppers gone wild" stories are passe to news producers, or if after the messy, frighteningly gruesome fact, the indefatigable Christmas Spirit prevailed.