I Survived Black Friday

There is absolutely nothing on Earth that could convince me to go shopping at a mall on Black Friday—except arriving at my Thanksgiving destination and realizing that I forgot to pack underwear.

After two days wearing my husband’s briefs and socks (because I forgot to pack my own socks, too), I had exhausted his supply as well.  I was desperate.  We were about to be a Commando Couple. To me, going commando is the ultimate buffer zone violation. I’m all about boundaries. So, during the last few hours of Black Friday, I headed to the local mall down the street from our hotel and entered into the fray.

Once inside, I braced myself for pepper spray and gunshots.  “I’M JUST HERE FOR UNDERWEAR!” I was ready to scream at anyone who felt threatened that I was about to hijack their bargain electronics.

But there was no one there. Okay… there were some people there, but the scene was pretty calm around.  It looked like a regular weeknight. All the people willing to risk bodily harm and incarceration to score an Xbox had gone home hours ago.

The most violent assault I experienced was when the cashier at Victoria’s Secret insulted my purse.

“Did you make that yourself?” she asked, gesturing to my handbag as she wrapped my hard earned panties in tissue paper.

“Uhh…no,” I said, mortified. “I don’t even know where I got it.” That was a lie. I stole it from my cool artist sister years ago. I guess it looked a little the worse for wear.

“It looks like something I would have made with my grandma when I was 10,” the cashier added. “And then, after I’d leave, she’d throw it to the chickens.”

It was one of those insults that was all the more insulting because she clearly wasn’t even trying. She was just free associating—speaking from the heart. My defective handbag really did remind her of pre-teen craft sessions with her grandma and the psychological scarring that accompanied finding out her projects became part of a really abstract form of chicken abuse.

Had I been in a normal state of mind, I probably would have snapped back at her, but I was just so excited to get my underpants I just said:

“I know, RIGHT? Totally!”

But then I had to buy a new purse. And a new wallet to go with it. And some socks. And seriously fancy jeans from Banana Republic. And face moisturizer. And some underwear and socks to replace the ones I’d jacked from my husband.

Every time I tried to stop myself, that seductive Black Friday mantra began playing in my head: “You need these things anyway. You should buy them. They won’t be this cheap again for another year. Stuff. Stuff stuff stuff!” and I caved.

I emerged from the shopping center laden with bags and spender’s guilt, but otherwise unscathed. I felt pretty hardcore surviving my first Black Friday.

Now, all I have to do is go Christmas shopping for other people, and find a chicken farm where I can toss my old purse.

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