Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Shopping: Chaos and Glory (Part 1)

When I was a young newlywed, the women in my husband’s family convinced me to attempt a holiday shopping trip on Black Friday.* Being young and naïve, and having been raised by a woman who had worked way more than her share of retail holiday madness sales, this was not something I had ever done, nor had I desire to try. 

But I was new in the family, and it felt like an effort I needed to make, so I woke up in the middle of the night and bundled myself to stand in line in sub-zero temperatures. All in the name of socks (because, apparently, starting at the Fred Meyer 50% off sock sale was part of the tradition).

I will admit that first year, with the socks, I really didn’t see the point. I mean, yes, we were stone broke (which might have been part of my problem, come to think of it) but even then it didn’t seem worth the effort to save two or three dollars on socks.

Fast forward a few years. Money was tight, and I had little children who had high hopes that Santa would bring them special gifts they’d asked for—and one of those gifts felt nearly out of reach to me. It was our year to have Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, and after the dinner dishes were done and the food was put away, the women crowded around the table thumbing through the newspaper ads.

Not wanting to be anti-social, I joined them, and picked up an ad for a big chain store. Low and behold, there, on the front page of the ad, was the very-expensive-almost-unattainable gift my oldest son wanted so badly, offered at a much more manageable price than I ever expected to find it. In fact, it was about half the price I’d seen it on other days, making the unattainable gift seem somehow, maybe, possibly attainable.  

A small flame of possibility sparked inside me, fanned by the crazy women surrounding me (and I mean crazy in the most endearing way possible) and before we left that evening, my sister-in-law and I had made a plan. We would go to that store, and we would purchase that gift—and others.

To be continued…

*In case you don’t know what Black Friday is, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and the day business managers hope to sell enough merchandise to put those businesses in the black for the year.

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