A Shopper's Guide to the Friday Apocalypse

"Excuse me..."

I ignore the comment. 

"Ummmm....excuse me..."

Still ignoring.

Tap on the shoulder, so naturally, I must turn. 

"You cut me in line."

(There may be some sort of eye roll involved on my end.)

"I think you're mistaken," I say. "I was here first."

I turn away, but there's yet another tap on my shoulder. Oh. My. God.

"Listen," I begin, holding back the most unholy of frustrations. "I don't know what you think happened, but you're literally one place in line behind me. It's not a big deal."

I never want to punch someone in the face more than I do on Black Friday. 

It's the most wonderful time of the year (play the tune in your head if you want). Our bellies are newly stuffed with ample servings of turkey, homemade stuffing, mashed potato goodness, and a host of veggies...not to mention the pies and other assortments of tasty delicacies. We're also fresh off binge-watching football, food comas, and waking up in the middle of the night with awkwardly strong stomach cramps. We don't need to go into detail, but you see where I'm going with this. 


The fact is, everyone is maniacally joyful and obsessively frustrated on Black Friday. It's a mixed bag of holiday cheer and misery. And yet, every year we mosey our ways to department stores, malls, and outlets across the country to hold back the rage that is the first weekend of true holiday shopping. It's insanity, but we're Americans...and apparently that's what we do.

So, in light of Black Friday approaching next week, I've compiled a list of do's and don'ts for our 2015 day of horror.

Rule #1 - Use your blinker when you park. 

Give yourself the advantage. Use your blinker. Don't be the guy (or girl) that creeps oh so slowly through the aisle in hopes that a car will suddenly put itself into reverse. The creeper never wins. Instead, be civil. Wait your turn. We'll all be in the same holiday mess and, this way, you won't get your car keyed while you shop for kitchen accessories in HomeGoods.

Rule #2 - Just smile, even if you don't want to.

A little grin can go a long way, even the s#^*-eating kind. If a particular store employee is busy and you need help, plaster a toothy smile on your face and I guarantee you, someone will make their way over. A word of caution, though: there are bad types of smiles...ones that make you look like a villain. Just ask the Joker.

Rule #3 - Go ahead, you can take the last of something.

Yes, there will be resistance. Yes, you might have to evade a few flailing fists. But you know what? You have a right to the last Elmo. Take it because, in capitalist America, you snooze you lose. Just make sure you run to the car and screech away before anyone can catch you. Thievery may ensue. 

Rule #4 - Don't be that guy. Don't be that girl. Please.

I get it. It's natural to get involved in the chaos. As much as we don't want to believe it, we are part of the crowd. We may act like individuals sometimes, but in the larger scope of things, we are just part of the crowd. What does this mean? Well, when other people act a certain way, we have a tendency to follow along. When those acts are positive, it's great. When those acts are negative, well...let's just say, don't be that guy. It's not worth it. If a crowd of people were jumping off the Tobin Bridge, would you? Didn't think so. 

Rule #5 - Don't expect to eat any form of dinner while you're out. 

You'll be better off disregarding sustenance altogether during your adventurous excursion. That is, unless you want to wait 4 days for a table. Of course, if you're savvy, you could probably find a place to sit down and enjoy yourself, but I've always found that heading home after a day of shopping to Turkey Day leftovers is your best bet. Hands down.

Rule #6 - It's all about timing. 


How badly do you want that new video game console? How about that Carrie Underwood CD (Are there even CD's anymore)? Well, if you sleep in, chances are you'll miss your shot. Just remember: No matter how crazy you are, there is always someone crazier. You don't have to be the first one there, but you certainly can't be the last. 

Rule #7 - Don't flip the bird, no matter how badly you want to.

...because everyone is probably doing it. And it just makes people feel bad. It happens more than you think.

In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of your holiday season and keep your head on a swivel out there. It's a crazy world!

Until next time,