Black Friday: The Experience

Obrien.BlackFriday1The only other time I’ve ever gone Black Friday shopping was for a family my mother and I took under our wing from her Adopt-a-Family Foundation, and we had a mission—find as many clothes as possible and if we had time, a few awesome toys as well. Maybe it was easier for me then, because I was already in the mindset to conquer and disperse as fast as possible, but regardless, my experience then wasn’t too crazy.

This time, I had no mission except to find some good deals for my family for Christmas. It seemed simple enough, and I thought it would be better in my small town of Williamsport than the city-based Target I was skimming through a few years ago.

It all started at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night. 

My cousin mentioned that the deals were really happening around that time, and all I kept thinking was, there is no way I am doing this to myself on a holiday. Besides, it’s completely against my moral compass. Those poor people working 30-hour shifts just because I want a few dollars off? I don’t think so! But my mom thought otherwise—she thought that since it was opening with or without us, we would slip in and out before any more damage was done.

I was hesitant, but I decided to go, under the conditions that I would be extremely cheerful and grateful toward all retail employees and the money-crazed customers.

We started at Macy’s. We’d gotten there just as the doors were opening and the line outside wasn’t even really a line—more like a small gathering outside the doors—and we began.


My first hit was the men’s section. I was astounded—dress shirts for $20, ties for $20, pajama sets for $15, what-what!


I felt extremely at ease as I bought my first few items, and sauntered over to the shoe section, which turned out to be my first mistake.

A popular brand of shoes were on sale for ridiculously cheap, and I saw a pair that I thought were really cute. As I reached for it, a snarling, frustrated mother snatched them out of my hands for her bratty 16-year-old, who “had to have them now!”

I let go of the box and watched them glance over the front of it before they realized they were taking without even looking at sizes. The lady put them back on the shelf and stormed another part of the shoe section. I took the shoes and bought them before anything else happened to them.


Children’s Place—pretty low-key. Fuzzy onesies and winter hats and fashion socks, oh my! I went to town for my nephews and couldn’t help but bump into a few women who were also taking down some of the clothing for their own. I accidentally knocked into a lady who was too concentrated on looking for her son’s size in sweatpants and she growled at me.


American Eagle was packed over capacity, surely, as the entire store was 50 percent off. No wonder. My mom and I snagged four pairs of jeans and headed for the line, which we thought was in the back…and it turned out to be in the front. At least a 30 minute wait was ahead of us. An old lady was behind me and was making small talk with my mom about the atrocities occurring around us, which made life easier. I couldn’t help but take a look around, though. People were practically stepping over each other just to get to something they had no interest in. A woman near the scarf and belt section ran double-time toward one just because another woman was looking at it, and ended up completely bypassing it. What is this, a game of territory?


We headed back for the car, but not before hearing a few conversations on the way which consisted of topics like:
“Well, you might as well buy it now. You really never know when it’ll be 50 cents cheaper again!”

“Bailey, keep moving! Mommy won’t have anything else to look over as slow as you’re going.”
“I saw it in the pamphlet. It was in there, and it was 50 percent off! Try to tell me that item isn’t listed right there.”

Though my night was surely one to remember, turning on the television in the morning and watching people literally pulling hair for a 50 inch plasma just makes my skin crawl. Only here is it acceptable to have a day dedicated to giving thanks, and within hours of the meal be greed-driven animals. Happy Black Friday shopping.

Photo by Alex O’Brien

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.