Black Friday, Terminator-Style

I'm not much of a shopper, and I certainly don't find going to a physical store appealing on many levels. But for the kids, I will subject myself to the cauldron that is Black Friday. Here is my running diary:

2:00a - Alarms go off. I rise as though powered on like a machine. I will retain this mode for the next several hours.

2:05a - I read in the Bible about Jesus calming the storm. Somehow, I'm not sure the disciples would find my situation to be analogous to theirs.

2:40a - Since I will be riding the bike and watching football when I get home, I put on my workout clothes under a pair of windpants and a fleece. I almost consider stretching before I head out the door.

2:55a - I slice through the non-existent traffic and pull into Kohl's. There's a line about 100 people long.

3:00a - The doors open and people shuffle in quietly. I decide to hit only displays at the end of aisles. It saves me times and concentrates me on deals, rather than on having to find exactly everything on my list.

3:20a - Fearing the long checkout lines from last time I did Black Friday, I decide 20 minutes is enough time in the store. Remarkably, there is no line. Even more remarkably, I wait a whole five minutes because a pair of freaking socks I picked out has no bar code. I'm about to say I don't want them when the cashier gets called back and punches the number in.

3:30a - For all of the care Kohl's put into fully staffing the checkout lines, my post-checkout experience isn't nearly as tight. I can't find an automatic door out to save my life so have to wangle my way through a regular door while pushing a cart with one hand and holding a big item with the other. Then I have to walk the length of the parking lot to put my stuff away, the length back to return the shopping cart, and the length again back to my car. Thankfully, I'm making really good time so this is just a blip.

3:45a - I arrive at Target and this line is a good 300 people long and growing. A security guy on a Segway uses his radio to find out how many Wii Fit Pluses they have in stock (83), where they're stored (Electronics), and where that is in relation to the store entrance (all the way to the back, and then a left).

4:00a - The doors open and we all march in. This scene is considerably more chaotic. Shopping carts are at a premium, people are making a mad rush for the flat-screen TV's, and I make a beeline for the Wiis.

4:20a - I employ the same strategy here as at Kohl's, and as a result am satisfied after just 20 minutes. Target is also on the ball in terms of manning the checkouts, so I'm in and out in no time.

4:40a - Home, bags and boxes unloaded. Two hundred dollars spent, two stores conquered, and I still have an hour and change to get my exercise and shower in before the kids are up. This machine is so pleased with its cruel efficiency that it tries to crack a smile but then remembers its face muscles haven't yet been properly fitted out.

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