Lyle's Blog

Black Friday

Friday, November 28, 2008

As I walked through the isle at Fred Meyers this morning to get socks for Judy and I this morning, I stood and waited as two shoppers stood in the middle of the isle sorting out their stuff. They couldn't stand to the side or even attempt to get out of any ones way. I waited patiently but it brought back memories of a previous early morning trip or two when i used to get up real early on this busy shopping day.

 

This is the first story:


SHOPPING FOR SOCKS


Shopping is usually not the most enjoyable thing for most men including myself, particularly on the day after Thanksgiving. That’s the day that socks go on sale at half price at one of our local department stores. I’ve drawn the duty on this the past few years because it is easy for me to pick them up on my way to work.

This past year, I decided to be at the door when they opened up so I looked up the time on their ad but I looked at the time for Portland stores rather than Bend. So.....I arrived at the store just before what I thought was the 6:30 opening. One other fellow had the same idea and when the store didn’t open on time. We tapped on the door, drawing the attention of the manager who was busy straightening displays at the front of the store. We showed him the time on our ad at which he smiled and pointed at the sign right in front of us that read: OPEN 7AM. With a shrug of our shoulders and an embarrassed “sorry”, we settled down for another 1/2 hour wait. As we waited, the front of the store got very crowded with other early morning bargain hunters. I looked around and found that we had quickly become the minority. 95% of the people around us were women.

We had positioned ourselves well though, right in front of the door that seemed the obvious to be opened first. Two other doors were there and the crowd gathered around our door and the middle door with no one on the far hardly used door. 7AM finally came and we prepared our selves for the battle that was ahead. My strategy was simple. The women's section first because that seemed to be the place that most would go. I would beat the rush, have my socks and be gone to the men’s section before anyone, then to the registers and out of there. I was cool and confident of victory in my battle plan.

Then the first setback arrived. That same manager came walking out and with a twinkle in his eye and that same smile he walked right by us with a little wink as we caught his eye. “No, Please don’t!”, we pleaded. But that sadistic smile walked right by us and to the middle door. With a twist of his keys, he unloaded the onslaught of primarily Women shoppers and then with a teasing twist and then turn away, he went to the unused doors and opened them first! By this time the mass of people had turned into a stampede through the two opened doors with us still standing there in shock at the turn of events.

The manager made his way over to our door and slowly opened the door allowing us to advance also. “Have a great time and thanks for shopping with us.” He quipped as we sprinted by him. With the speed and the grace of a gazelle, I leaped into action, grabbing up a basket, bounding down the aisle, and into the Women’s department where 90% of all of the mass at the door had already arrived at. “No problem,” I thought, merely a small setback. Because I was prepared. The night before when I had first set up my plan, I had scouted out both sections and knew exactly where to go. The socks that I had picked out for my wife and daughters were in a basket right at the corner of an aisle. These socks were perfect, with colors that would match any outfit. After all, isn’t that what is important to the feminine gender, that they match.


I knew that I was right when I saw the women around the basket. They must be at least four deep in spots. But my arm was long and I knew exactly what I wanted. Carefully, I reached through the mix of arms and grabbed. “Great, three packages in one grab. Doggone I’m good.” With that I retreated and off to the Men’s section that I knew would not be as crowded. Arriving there, I was pleased with my self to see just how right that I was. I quickly grabbed my package of socks and then headed to where my son’s socks would be. I had spent the longest time scouting this out. You see, My son is one of a kind and he only wears the most outlandish socks. His favorite, Argyle. I had scouted out the argyle section and knew exactly the one’s that I wanted.

Then I notice something that I hadn’t seen the night before. Someone had placed two rows of boxes full of socks just off to the left and I could see in the back boxes were argyles that looked to be similar in color to the one’s that I wanted. I leaped across the boxes and began to dig. To my delight, they were exactly the same socks and Eureka, they were one third of the price. As I piled high my basket, I couldn’t believe my new found fortune. As I watched others take the same socks off the racks, I felt like throwing my head back and laughing sadistically at my brilliant coup.

I filled my basket as full as I could. It didn’t matter if a few fell out as I made my retreat, because I had made one heck of a find. I stood up and prepared to jump back over the boxes when I notice that the way that I had came was now blocked with women who also were diving into the discount boxes. Arms waving and socks flying, they were intent on one thing, getting a bargain. “Excuse me.” I announced. “May I please come through.” No one notice me so I tried to persuade them this time louder. “Pardon me!” I yelled. I could see that I was going no where, none of them were even looking up.

I frantically looked around, claustrophobia beginning to set in setting off my sweat glands and flushing my face. I spied a line of tables off to my right that extended into the mass of shoppers. I couldn’t make out what was at the end but was willing to take the chance. I dove under the table and began crawling the length of them. My panic increased along with my pulse as I crawled between the legs of the last table. “What if there are people at the other end. What would they think of me coming up around their knees. Would they think me a pervert trying to look up someone’s dress.” Suddenly, this didn’t seem to be such a good idea. I blasted out the end of the last table to find to my surprise a aisle that was almost vacant. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I wondered if that was how they felt back in the war when they tunneled out of a prison camp and ended up sheltered in the adjacent forest.

With a victorious swagger, I made my way to the check out stands and eventual freedom. My heart began to sink as I spied the long lines of shoppers who had beaten me to the final destination. Now, I’m one of those guys that looks for the check out that is just about to open and to my good fortune, I found one. As I made my way to it, I was beaten by two people. A lady with a smaller basket than mine and a man with nothing (he probably just wanted directions). As the lady checked out, I heard a female voice behind me say, “Excuse me.”. Turning around, I found a lady with two overflowing shopping carts. “Excuse me.” She again said, “Could I get through to my husband.”.


Defeated again, I shrunk off to the side as she brought her carts past and began piling her bargains on the counter. “Oh well” I thought, “At least I’m almost out.” Halfway through her second basket a mistake was found. “Will the PIC from HI please contact 313?” I could only hope that was a call for help. I placed my basket on the ground, sat on it and began to wait for my turn. I must have dosed off as finger tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you going to check out?”, the lady asked, obviously annoyed by my catnap. I quickly placed my basket on the counter and filled out my check.

The brisk November air felt good as I stepped outside and drove to my workplace. Arriving, I called my wife to inform her of my victory and good fortune. After telling her of our son’s socks, she asked about hers. “You’ll love them.” I explained proudly, “Every color under the sun, something for every outfit.”. The silence on the line made my heart sink as I realized that I must have made a mistake. “Sweetheart.”, She said “I asked for white only.”

I guess I’d better work on my listening skills.

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