Oh, please get me out of this store

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2003

After the turkey comes the door-buster sales at many of the major stores nationwide, but try not to get trampled. But also be prepared to be disappointed, as many of the gifts you're looking for may have somehow magically disappeared from the shelves…

I learned that the hard way, as I was waiting to be one of the first through the door. And then it came - absolute madness. I couldn't help but think I was in the middle of an arena of frantic soccer moms cheering for their children as they get closer to the goal. I admit it. I came to realize I was only contributing to the problem of mass-insanity. Before being crushed by waves of people on either side of me in the electronics section of a major chain store, I somehow managed to achieve my goal of purchasing my idea of the perfect gift. It was the last one in the store, only 20 minutes after it had opened the doors. Sure, I felt lucky - that is before I stood in line for at least an hour and a half - when in actuality, it felt like weeks.

Amusement parks are perhaps my all-time favorite places for free thrills on the planet. Nothing is more exhilarating than a good roller coaster, and I guess you could say it has become a hobby of mine over the years - searching for the best and fastest. I would be more than willing to wait for three hours for a good ride, because at the end of the wait there's satisfaction.

Well, at the end of the check-out line, which wrapped around the entire store, I found no satisfaction – just a gaping hole in my pocket. And I want that time back - the time I spent in line waiting, which could easily have spent better been elsewhere - I really do.

I have the utmost respect for employees in department stores across the nation. Not that I didn't before - I used to work in retail - but today I witnessed it from a different standpoint. We, the shoppers, want something and we want something instantly. The employee literally bends over backwards to meet the customers wishes. And most do it with a smile … it must be Vaseline on their teeth, because you couldn't try to pull a smile on my face the day after Thanksgiving.

All of this makes me think maybe there was a reason - and a good one at that - for my family to steer clear of the pandemonium all these years. Have I induced a new tradition that I feel obligated to follow every year from here on? And the craziness that comes with it?

I'm not sure, but in all honesty, after the headache and near tackle from a fellow-shopper, I felt pumped. Granted, there were several items I would have liked to grab at half of the original price, but I guess I would have never known if I hadn't tried … And if at first you don't succeed, well you know…