Friday, November 23, 2007

black Friday

So did any of you head out to the stores in the wee hours of the morning, set to empty your wallets at the altar of the retail gods? Nah, me neither. I've done it before, actually I've experienced the day-after-Thanksgiving mania from both sides of the retail counter, and at this point I don't have any strong feelings about it either way. I doubt you are shredding the fabric of society if you choose to go, but I think I'll stay home.

In high school and college, I worked at a toy store. With Jess, actually, because we have way too many things in common. The day after Thanksgiving is nuts in a toy store, as I'm sure you can imagine. We would have a big meeting about a week or so before, and the contents of the super-secret special sale flyer that went out on Thanksgiving day were revealed, amid much oohing and aahing. Or in some cases, holy crap we're going to run out of those before the store even opens. Everybody had to work at some point on the big day, and really the most fun shift was the early morning. By afternoon any excitement the day might have had is gone, and people are just tired and grumpy. But in the morning, people really are excited, and if they are hoping to snag that year's Big Toy That Is Generally Impossible To Get, their hopes have not yet been dashed.

Speaking of such toys, I was working there when some of the big ones came out. Remember Tickle Me Elmo? The original one, when just the shaking and giggling was enough. Now they fall over laughing and kick their feet and roll over and slap the floor and no, I'm not kidding. But the first ones just giggled and shook, and if you stacked up about ten of them and squeezed them all at once you'd get something resembling a skyscraper in a gale. Not that many people had an opportunity to be around ten Tickle Me Elmos at once in that particular year. Really, I am blessed.
There was also Furby, which was big but I don't think quite as big. Furbys were fun to keep on the counter for if it ever got slow. They really were pretty entertaining, in a kind of creepy way. They had that weird robot voice, I think that was the creepy part.

The first couple of years after we didn't work there anymore, Jess and I would go to the toy store for the day-after-Thanksgiving early morning. It was pretty fun to see it from the other side. And it wasn't like we didn't have any kids to buy for; we did have an actual reason to be shopping there. Gloating at those who had to be working was just a little bonus.

This year, as I said, there was no shopping. The day was hectic in a different way. Somehow an explosion of some sort hit my house without me noticing, or at least that's what it looked like. Then there's also that, you know, craft fair thing going on tomorrow . . . but I'm not nervous about that. Nope, not me. Because I think we're ready. Really. Ahem.