I have only participated in the wee early morning Black Friday shopping rush maybe two or three times in the past several years.  The crowds, the lines, this is what keeps me from joining the masses of Black Friday.  That and usually Jim has to work, so that means finding a sitter willing to take my 3 kids at 4 or 5am~  yeah right!

I remember one year I was at Toys R Us and the end of the line was at the start of the store- that was after it wrapped around the back of the store and in and out of aisles.  It was crazy.  I remember it went surprisingly fast, but I’m sure it didn’t go as fast as I would have liked.  I don’t even remember what I bought!  I do remember not being able to get the cart through the aisles because it was so full of people!  And I remember saying to myself I would never do that again!

On Thanksgiving day, Jim and I browsed the ads to see if there were any “cannot live without” great deals…when we noticed that many of the doorbuster deals were available TODAY online!  So about 90% of what we were looking for in the ads we were able to buy online from Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.  We shopped from the comfort of our couch wearing pajamas and drinking coffee.  It was nice. 

But there were 2 items I still wanted to get…doorbuster deals…not available online…

Fortunately, the 2 items were at stores that were opening at 8am.  So I had a chance!  

But I didn’t completely miss out on the mayhem.

One item was the Disney Mix Max- advertised at Tuesday Morning (OK- for anyone who has never heard of these, a Mix Max is a MP3 player that also plays videos…it’s made by Disney.  There is also a smaller version, the Mix Stick, which only plays MP3 and not video).  My 2 older kids have iPods, the youngest does not….nor will I buy her one anytime soon…she’s only 4.  But she feels left out when it comes to listening to music so I thought this would be a good idea. 

Tuesday Morning had it listed as a doorbuster item for $19.99, regularly $69.99.  There’s one here by my house and it opened at 8am, so I thought I’d give that a shot.  I got there right at 8am (kid free- Mom came over to watch the kids). 

I saw the item I was looking for right there by the front door and I grabbed it.  I looked at the person to my left and saw her basket was full of the same item I was grabbing.  Hmmm.  I got the last “Cheetah Girl” version (the only girl version they had) and walked around the store to see if there was anything else I ‘needed’ before getting in line.  

As I waited in line (only 3 people deep) the phone rang and the clerk answered the call.  She was answering questions about the item I had in my basket- when I realized (from her end of the conversation) that I had grabbed the wrong one!  I grabbed a Mix Stick, not a Mix Max.

I got out of line and went over to the display and saw there were no more Mix Max’s left, only Mix Sticks.  Oh well.  What I had was still a decent value because I’m still getting a MP3 player for under $20.  I got back in line, now 5 people deep….and this is where it all starts.

I’m in line behind the couple that was next to me at the very beginning of the story.  I look at their baskets- FILLED with Disney Mix MAX’s.   

This is where I lose it. 

I look at the person behind me- and she’s listening to the same phone conversation- the clerk telling the caller that they just ran out of  Mix Max’s, that only Mix Sticks are left.  I point to the basket in front of me and the gal responds with a look of horror and disgust.

This is where I open my mouth.   Loudly.  So all the people behind me can hear.

“Ohhhh…so YOU guys scooped up all the rest of the Mix Max’s.  WOW.” 

They respond with a smile….er, a smirk.

I say, “Any chance you would give one up?  I was hoping to get one for my 4 year old.   I see you have ALL of them.”

She keeps her back to me.  Her husband turns around and says to her, “You should give her one.” 

Ohhhh, that makes her mad.  She says to her husband, “I am NOT giving her one.”

Now I’m really peeved.  Now I know that they don’t have people in mind for these ‘gifts’….they are just buying them to sell for profit.

She turns to me and says, “You should have been here early.  You should have been in line.  You missed out.”

I respond that I WAS there right beside/behind them when they grabbed them all. 

Then I start making snide comments…like, “Wow, you must have a lot of kids.”  (Yep, she says). 

“So, could I give you my email address so that when you put them on ebay you can let me know so I can buy one?” (No reaction on that one).  

“How much are you going to sell them for?”  
“Can I buy one off you right now since you are buying them to resell anyway?”   (Husband asks his wife again to just give me one..she firmly refuses again). 

Yes, I was being a snot.  I was pissed.  And I don’t stop.

I hold my tongue and wait until they get up to the counter.  I speak up to the cashier- “So is it really OK that these people grabbed up EVERY Mix Max you had for sale?  Look at their baskets!”  She looks at their basket, then at the people around, back to the basket, then looks at me with complete compasssion (she had been listening to my interaction with these people all along) and says, “Unfortunately we did not put a limit on them so there’s nothing I can do.  Sorry.”

The people behind me are apparently on my side- NOT thinking I am a crazy person fortunately- commenting quietly among themselves how wrong this situation is.  Whew.

I hope I made those people feel bad about what they were doing.  It makes me so mad that people take this opportunity to make money, rather than allowing families to buy presents for their kids at super good prices.  There’s a new craze right now with Zhu Zhu Hamsters (google it).  When the stores have them in stock, they retail for $9.99.  But people are buying them all and selling them on ebay and Craigslist for FIFTY BUCKS.  And parents are paying that much!  CRAZY!

I digress.

So the couple leaves the store and the cashier says to me, “I’m so sorry about that.  But I can help you.  The phone call that just came in was from an employee who held a Mix Max last night- and she was calling to say she didn’t want it after all.  So I will go get it out of the backroom if you want it.”   


She comes back and smiles and says, “See, it pays off to speak up sometimes!” 

I smile.

She continues with, “had you not said anything….or had you been here any earlier, or any later, you would have been out of luck!”

I was glad things worked out in my favor….but I was still so angry….fuming for a good 30 minutes after.  I ran into these same people at Rite-Aid…figuring they were probably trying to score on the same deal there, also…. but I got my item and didn’t make eye contact. 

But what a way to ruin my morning.  That’s when I fully realized that Black Friday wee morning shopping would definitely NOT be my thing- lack of sleep, big crowds, mean people, etc.   People buying things to re-sell, not give as gifts.  Where’s the holiday spirit?

I heard from several friends that the morning was absolute chaos….an hour long wait to get into Old Navy (and it was OPEN!), hour to 2-hour long checkout lines at many stores, geesh.

Black Friday is over the top now.  Look at Target’s commercial- the gal is strength training to push a heavy cart and make it through the crowds- she’s so excited she can’t sleep.  They are selling the experience of Black Friday rather than selling the products they offer!

I DID go to Fred Meyer at 9:30.  They still had lots of donuts, lots of juice.  They were replenishing their sock bins and pillows, there were lots of doorbuster items still available.  The crowd was ‘normal’ sized….I was actually able to rummage through the sock boxes without elbowing anyone.  And with all the good deals we got online Thanksgiving day….I’m making THAT my new “Black Friday” shopping experience.