I have always had to work on Black Friday. I work for a company that runs 24/7. We get Christmas and Thanksgiving off. And unless you have scheduled the time off, then you'll be working. This year our company announced that we'd all be getting Friday off; it was a pleasant surprise. Plus it meant that I would be getting 6 days off to spend with my family.
I didn't really give it too much thought when I told my wife I'd go out with her on Friday. I just told her that I would. I didn't realize that I was going to get one hour of sleep before we had to wake up at three in the morning and then go out into forty degree temperatures and wait for two hours for the first store to open. The first hour crept by very slowly and I told my wife that I would never do this again. Ever.
My wife laughed at me and looked at the line ahead of us. "At least we're not standing out there in the rain."
As we stood shivering in the cold under the cover of the buildings awning, ten yards in front of us rain fell in a steady drizzle. For 30 yards the line was exposed to the wind and rain where there was no awning. One minute after my wife made that observation, the front door of the store opened up and the whole line moved forward so that people could sqeeze into the entry way and get out of the rain. Just enough for us to step out into the rain. I know the second hour was just as long as the first, but it seemed a lot longer.
At 5 a.m. the doors opened just as promised. Riding herd, the local police did a great job on would-be line cutters. Screaming threats like, "Get back to the end of the line or I will take you to jail!" It was the only thing that brought a smile to my face this morning. That and the fact that we got everything here we came for. As we made our way through the store we needed to follow only one trail, and we picked up everything on our list as we passed by it. We ended up at a register in the camera department and were able to purchase our items without having to stand in line at the front of the store. As we walked out of the store I looked at the clock: it was 5:22 a.m. We were on our way to the second store. A Target.
The next two stores were right by each other. We only waited 8 minutes this time to get in and this time it wasn't raining. Unfortunately, the line we stood in wasn't moving. As everyone started getting antsy somebody noticed the doors on the opposite end of the building were opened. Everybody waited for the doors on our end to open but nothing was happening. Soon the crowd started running towards the other doors and eventually somebody came out of the store with their purchase and told us all that they weren't opening up the doors on our side of the building until later.
"Read the sign," they said.
Right on the front door in big letters it said, 'Proceed to other doors.' As I looked at the sign I thought it was odd that all the people who were gathered here all morning long didn't think anything of this. We were so far away ourselves we couldn't see it.
'Huh?' I thought to myself as we headed towards the other end of the building. And when I turned around one last time they were still standing there.
We almost got what we came for. Only one item remained left on our list. And we may have even got that if somebody had read the sign. It was exactly 7:00 a.m.
If you have never done Black Friday then all I can say is: Watch yourself, it can be a little frightening. I don't think I'll be doing it again.