On Black Friday, My Inner Child Escapes


I got a chance to do some serious Black Friday shopping last weekend, and here’s what I learned — don’t even bother making a list and checking it twice. BF (best done with your BFF) is all about splashy ads and impulse buys. Toss in the feeding-frenzy mentality indigenous to the day and you’re a goner.

It is so much fun.

I had a budget of $500 for Day One of this shopping extravaganza. I had read the ads, circled those few items that actually seemed to be at their lowest prices ever and confidently entered the first store on my list. I expected to be home by 10 a.m.

By 1 p.m., I had spent $1,000 and was still in the same store — and still shopping. Why? Because I hadn’t bought anything on my list. I had pulled a bait-and-switch on myself. I came; I saw; I changed my mind.

But it’s not all my fault. The store’s marketing department has spent a boatload of cash to lure me in with fabulous advertising, and they have gotten very good at this. Store managers further tighten the noose by putting tempting items at the end of each aisle and setting things up sort of like a maze so that I have to walk by each one. The music is peppy, the theme is gift-giving and, if they have carts, the carts are big — so big that I don’t even realize how monstrously huge they are. In fact, it seems almost a shame to have just a couple of items rattling around in the bottom of that immense cart. So you can see how all the overindulgence is not my fault.

The thing is, I know what’s happening but am powerless to resist.

Somewhere deep in my DNA, down below the strength and the fortitude and even the preteen tomboy years, there lurks a girly girl who waits all year for this day. She sits down there, dressed all in pink and carrying a name-brand handbag, hair in curls and face all tricked out with expensive makeup, and she counts down the days until Black Friday. She does her nails and watches the soaps and changes the outfits on her Collector’s Edition Barbies and watches the calendar like a rabid honey badger.

On Thanksgiving, she picks at her food — not because it isn’t good but because she doesn’t want to feel bloated at 4 a.m. when she laces up her high-heeled sneakers and sprints down dark city streets to the Apple Store. She may reward herself with a frothy latté and half a biscotti a little later, but right now, she is a woman possessed. The wild eyes, the wild hair, the unladylike “seek-and-destroy” competitive nature — to see her on Christmas morning, one would never believe it.

On Christmas morning, she and I are again one as we sit primly and properly in tasteful footed pajamas and look on with demure rapture as our family enjoys the bounty of our hunt.

They will say, “Wherever did you find this?! The stores have been sold out for weeks!” And we — I — will smile a knowing little smile and wipe the blood from the corner of my mouth.

I am Woman. I am Huntress.


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