Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Black Friday shopper lives to tell about it

Thanks to everyone for your nice comments on yesterday's post.  They're always greatly appreciated.  And now...

In the spirit of those brave war correspondents who put themselves in harm way to report while bombs explode only a few yards away, my courageous daughter Annie risked life and limb and entered that demilitarized zone called Black Friday.   Here is her heroic report, with additional material from her writing partner, Jon Emerson. 

Can you believe it's that time of year already? A time for families to come together, give thanks, and huddle up for warmth outside the City Target.

For the second year in a row, my mother and I decided to brave Black Friday. Two Jews looking for a good bargain. Anything to reinforce a stereotype! My dad said he would come with us just as soon as he finished changing every single aspect of his personality. Then he asked us to get him sweaters.

It seemed like people were lining up sooner than ever this year, some as early as Monday. Hey, eleventh guy in line? The store is only giving away ten TVs. Maybe pick up a calculator while you're inside.

This year we decided to go to the Westside Pavilion, a mall located in West Los Angeles. We were worried about finding parking, but luckily there was an open meter in Bakersfield. Armed with Coffee Bean lattes and an intense bloodlust for cheap slippers, we were ready to shop.

When we got to the mall, there was an enormous line at Guest Services. I guess people are so hungry for a good deal, they'll wait in line three hours for free information.

A rather ingenious homeless man arrived and started hitting everybody up for spare change. It's hard to pretend you don't have any money when you're sorting through your Visa cards on the pavement. I was going to cave and give him ten bucks, but I knew he'd just go spend it on blender attachments.

Everybody was incredibly cordial and friendly. At one point we all grabbed hands and sang Kumbaya. Then the doors opened and suddenly it was The Lord of the Flies.

The most savage group of the night were the all hipster tweens outside H&M. Picture the zombies from The Walking Dead, but with less brainwaves. I guess detached irony goes out the window when woolen caps are two for a dollar.

The Westside Pavilion Barnes and Noble went out of business, but the one by my house was packed with people looking for things to download on their Kindles. (Quick, Dad! Mention your book!)

Contrary to popular belief, Black Friday isn't even the busiest shopping day of the year. That distinction goes to the Saturday before Christmas, a day commemorating when the Three Wise Men realized it was too late to buy their gifts online and had to go grab something from the nearest CVS.

Guys, if you're looking to get a date, stop buy a jewelry store on Black Friday. Buy one ring get a desperate woman free.

Least successful Black Friday sale? Hot Dog on a Stick. I guess after a dinner of turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, green bean casserole, Jell-O mold, salad, yams, pumpkin pie and wine, there just isn't room for a corn dog.

My mom and I had the greatest success at Macy's. We made quite the team. Me body-checking elderly women out of the way while my mom price-checked to make sure this crap wasn't cheaper on Amazon.

The ads for Macy's always boast that this is the place all the celebrities hang out. No, I did not see Martha Stewart folding towels or Justin Bieber trying out electronics. I did, however, see Donald Trump shoulders-deep in the bargain bin, looking for his dignity. He went home empty-handed.

We called it a night ourselves around two in the morning. We were exhausted, we were bleary-eyed, and we were twenty minutes late for the door busters sale across town.

All in all the trip was a resounding success. Nobody was trampled to death and I got pajama pants for under five bucks.

See you all the Saturday before Christmas!

Thanks, Annie & Jon.  But you never said -- did you get me any sweaters?

Tomorrow:  If I ran NBC. 


Jerry Krull said...

Very funny writing Annie & Jon! Driving back from my sister's on Thanksgiving night about 10:00 PM we of course passed at least three Kohl's stores along the highway.

Kohl's is a midwest department store offering mostly clothes, cheap jewelery, and small appliances that make great gifts that nobody uses. You know, things like the electric coffee cup sanitizer or the mini screwdriver set that you'll never be able to find when you need it.

Each Kohl's store is near a freeway exit so people can make a fast getaway so nobody sees they were shopping at Kohl's.

Kohl's always has a sale. And they always have coupons that give you 30% to 70% off. I once bought a windbreaker for $3.99 - and that was before the coupon was added.

I can't imagine how much they pay people to take the crap out of the store on Black Friday.

Each Kohl's we passed had at least 75 people in line waiting for the doors to open at midnight. I sure hope they had enough festive terrycloth soap bar holders in stock for the crowds.

Richard Y said...

Always a JOYful surprise to hear from Annie

LouOCNY said...

Is this becoming like a legacy comic strip like Beetle Bailey or Family Circus, where you are slowly handing the reins over to an offspring? Will this blog suddenly become by Annie Levine?? Stay tuned....

The Curmudgeon said...

I'm sure she can't tell you now, can she? But it might be largely purple and she'll give it to you in time to wear it while watching Northwestern's bowl game.

Belated happy blogiversary.

Rick said...

Good stuff from Annie.

Barnes and Noble in Woodland Hills on Topanga Canyon is closing by the end of the year too, btw. Encino B&N closed about two years ago.
Good thing I don't mind buying from Amazon, though I prefer looking at a book in person before buying it from a "brick-and-mortar" store.

Paul Duca said...

I was out at midnight...not to shop, but hoping to win. I went to Patriot Place, the shopping/entertainment extravaganza connected to Gillette Stadium (a.k.a. the shrine of Saint Thomas Bradyus), where the New England Patriots play. They were having a giveaway of gift bags, which could have valuable prizes in them, including gift cards worth up to $1000. Mine only had discounts coupons and the like (if anyone wants something for Express or Victoria's secret, email me at But I did win $2 on the Patriots-themed lottery ticket. There was a line of several hundred people, but very civil on their end and well organized by management.

Two things of interest to Ken there...first, they have a place one can by iPods, iPhones, and Macs--and it's NOT an Apple Store.
Second, they have a restaurant/bar called CBS Scene, and the decor includes giant photos of classic shows from the Eye. Fittingly, Hawkeye Pierce, martini in hand, gazes down over the bar.
(plus, an electronic sign promoted the California property company which must handle the retail side of things...MASH Management).

Ron said...

If you ran NBC maybe you'd do an assisted suicide comedy such as BBC.

Mike Botula said...

I stay home on Black Friday and order my afternoon cocktails on I have to order a little bit in advance, so that a fresh Martini is delivered to my door each day promptly at 5 p.m. (You can set your watch by my UPS guy's arival. Sales action is best watched on CNN where Wolf Blitzer can be seen offering his take on the events. Later, we an see Erin "Out Front," at Target.

Mike said...

@Ron: Right there is why British television is the finest in the world.

Daddy Background said...

"I guess detached irony goes out the window when woolen caps are two for a dollar."

God, this made me laugh. And when I say God, I guess I mean you, Ken. Happy anniversary!

From other Ken.

JT Anthony said...

Clever post. Fun to see that wit runs in the family.

On a half-serious, half-sarcastic note, how do you attribute credits to your writing partner for this post? Did Jon accompany you on your shopping spree, or was his value-add in the "editing room"? If te former, what was his experience trailing two Jewish woman looking for bargains?

Pat Reeder said...

Not having much family, I don't do much Christmas shopping. But even if I did, the appeal of Black Friday eludes me, as does the necessity of camping out on a cold sidewalk for a week and missing Thanksgiving to save a hundred bucks on some Chinese-made crap.

That said, I did take advantage of Black Friday. I got a tablet PC for $69, a new monitor for 60 percent off list (a Best Buy doorbuster special), and a $100 MP3 player amp/speaker set for $37. The first two I ordered off the Internet while lying comfortably in my warm bed, and the third I got at Tuesday Morning by walking in at 3 p.m. and walking out with it five minutes later.

Again, WHY do these idiots stand in long lines at 3 a.m.?

Ed Dempsey said...

Here's a great take on Black Friday. Might actually be a great scenario for a sitcom script.

Sarah said...

You must be elated to have a daughter who very obviously takes after her Dad as a writer. The sarcasm, the cynicism....(sniffle)it's got to make a father proud!