I haven’t ventured into the masses of fashion-starved people, packed into a line of 200 square-foot deals, in 14 years. And this caged bird certainly didn’t sing, while being pushed and shoved to skim through lines and lines of sale racks, just to find one marked down gem. I take that back. I sang bloody murder in the same octave as nails on a chalkboard, only in my head.
Pulling out the boxing gloves to fight for my clothes to delete a few dimes or even dollars from the total charge, trying to keep the fashion heathens from wearing and tearing the skin off of my back, has regained its title of “the absurd”. Whatever material I did find was like a handful of odd numbers with different suits that I just wanted to throw back at the dealer or, better yet, at my overzealous competitors.
Here, b#itch, take this ill-fitted designer jacket that you’re eyeing like a hawk, ready to pounce at the sound of the metal hanger on the rack. Take it and shove it! By pretending that I’m not here and bruising the side of my arm, you clearly want it more.
I now know why it’s called Black Friday. There is no lightness of being. In fact, many thrifty shoppers scared the daylights out of me. It’s just pure darkness of the shopping kind, lights dimmed and greedy hands flailing around with polyester and cotton hooks. It would more rightfully be named, “The Shopping Apocalypse” or “The Black Hole”.
I had gorged on tryptophan and red wine, less than twelve hours before, so I already felt like the walking dead. We’re trying to save money right now, so I decided I would set sail into the bargain-minded masses, just to get myself a dress for my husband’s Christmas party and some park-playdate clothes that weren’t dated circa 2000. Maybe look presentable for my daily outings for a change.
It seemed like a novel idea, but I could write a horror novel, rivaling Stephen King, about the outing. I was a dolphin in a sea of great whites. I was just trying to get my blowhole out of the water, my daughter riding my back and my husband leading us through a sea of jellyfish. The higher the savings, the deeper and more numerous the bites and stings.
In one store, the poor salespeople waiting on a decent commission were vying for the slide of my credit card. I tried on a dress that was only about a 90% fit for my personality and my body, while I was in search of perfection. They gagged me with shawls, sweaters, blazers and jackets to match for even more imperfection. I felt too bad to turn away their after-Thanksgiving kindness, knowing that their feet were probably aching ten times more than mine.
In another store, there was a deal that if I purchased a certain amount of clothing I would receive a large discount. I found the perfect dress, but one that would only feel the skin of my body once and then be pushed to the back of my closet to gather dust. It was unique and eye-catching, but a fad that would disappear with the blink of a season. They convinced me to get it and to search for an extra item to reach the trophy discount. I obliged and it was a sound suggestion, except nothing in the store screamed “mommy”, only $$$-slutty.
In times of economic crisis, retailers and patrons strive to make ends meet. I get it. Salespeople do their due diligence to hold onto their paychecks. Shoppers search for deals to keep from breaking their piggy banks during the holiday season. I get it. I just won’t ever venture into this black, black day, ever again. Never again. My sanity is more precious, than a cashmere sweater marked down 50%.
I say this with ease now, but the shopping memory of Black Friday is like a woman post-pregnancy. We remember pricks and tiny stitches of our experience, but we always forget and try again. Here’s to keeping the shopping dementia away for at least another 14 years. Never say never, but I’ll pretend my memory is as sharp as Betty White’s, when it comes to retail madness.