A Reason to be Thankful

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and while everyone’s thoughts are focusing on tomorrow’s big feast I know that there are some that are already planning their Black Friday routes. Me? I’ll be staying in this year and you should thank me.

See, I’m a competitive sort. On past Black Fridays I have been known to be at the store in the wee (and freezing) hours of the morning eyeing up the competition. I’d listen to surrounding conversations to see who was going after what; I’d contemplate other’s “aisle strategies” and try to envision the floor plan to formulate the optimal route through the aisles. I’d notice the little old lady that used her cane on the left side but occasionally limped on her right foot, signifying that she brought the cane for either sympathy or a weapon.

But no, not this year. I’ll leave the crowds, tension and fights to you. However, I give you one piece of advice, if you find the gift that you have been coveting since you read the Thanksgiving ads, put it securely in your cart, not on the ground while you look at something else. Because someone like me may come around and take it from you. :)

Now, you’re probably sitting there thinking that I’m this horrible person that goes around looking to capitalize on other’s mistakes. Well, I am, but not in this case. In this one, I’m completely innocent, kinda.

It started just like any other Black Friday. I was waiting in line to get into Sears. There were little things that I needed to pick up but there was one gift that brought me there that cold November morn: a 19.5V cordless drill set for my husband. I had no idea what was in the box, what he’d use it for, but it was our first Christmas as man and wife and he wanted it. That’s all that mattered.

The line at the tool department entrance was too long but I figured that I could make up time if I were at the front of the line at another entrance. I could cut through the shoes and be at the tools much faster than if I stood at the end of the line at the tool entrance.

The doors opened and I let the force of the line behind me carry me over the threshold. An evil laugh bubbled up out of me as I ran through the shoe department. The aisles were filled with people and some of their carts were already full, these were seasoned shoppers.

I pushed through to the tool department and searched frantically for the display. It was a huge gift that year for whatever reason and apparently they were selling it a ridiculous price so time was of the essence. When I looked up and saw a sign hanging from the ceiling close to the department’s entrance my heart sank. It was too close to the entrance… the entrance I should have been standing at.

I rushed to the sign and my suspicions were correct, the display was cleaned out. Someone even took the cardboard cut-out of the set; maybe they thought if they wrapped it the intended recipient would appreciate the thought. Bastards.

I breathed through the disappointment and tears and took out my list of little odds and ends tools I needed. I found myself staring at a wall of wrenches cursing at everyone who got there before me. The noise of the shoppers clacking around me was feeding the headache that was starting to form behind my right eye.

“I don’t know, Mom, tools are dumb, why does he need so many?”

I heard a tired sighed followed by, “I don’t know, Melissa, just hold this and let me figure out what the hell this means. Your father has the worst handwriting in the world.”

A couple of seconds passed and I decided that it was time to count my loses and get on with my day.

I rubbed my eyes and turned to leave. My foot hit something. I looked down and almost fainted.

It was the drill!

I frantically looked around and saw the mom and daughter I heard seconds before but they were at the end of the aisle. Before I could decide if I should ask if it was theirs or not I found myself standing in the check out line gripping the box.

It was my luck that the line was moving quickly and I only waited about five minutes before it was my turn. My heart sang when the cashier put the drill in the shopping bag. Just as I handed over my credit card I heard a shriek come from the aisle I was just in.

“What do you mean you set it down, Melissa? Do you know how much your father wanted that damn drill?”

“I’m sorry, Mom! it was freaking heavy! Whatever, we’ll just get him something else.”

The mom came barreling out of the aisle and almost ran into the register hub. Apologizing to the one clerk she saw me and my purchase. Her eyes went wide. She knew. I quickly signed my name on the credit slip, grabbed my bag and made my way back through the crowds and out the shoe department entrance.

I sat in my car for a while after that. I just took someone else’s gift. But then again, if they wanted it that badly they should have put it in the cart not leaving it discarded on the floor for anyone to pick up. I mean, a clerk could have come by and restocked it letting someone else get the gift. So, really, it served them right. And honestly, maybe the expression on the mom’s face wasn’t recognition but frustration that someone else was buying the gift she wanted. She was too busy bickering with her daughter that she probably didn’t even notice me in the aisle. Right? Right?

Still, the guilt started to sneak in. Should I go back in and find the mom and daughter? I looked back at the store and decided that it would be hell to go back in there so I turned on the car but instead of going to the mall I drove home. For some reason, Black Friday lost its appeal.

I’ve been to Black Fridays since then, but that moment always plagues my day. So, I decided to take a year off and do my shopping online. Besides, karma’s a bitch and sooner or later I’ll get what’s coming to me. At least with online shopping I can push off someone stealing my gift. (As long as I play nice with the UPS delivery guy.) ;)

Be safe out their friends, protect what is yours and watch out for people looking for an easy grab.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

**All joking aside, this is a time of year where it is easy to lose ourselves trying to get the perfect gift, make the perfect meal or be the perfect hostess. While all those things can be good, remember that it’s the little things in life that make it worthwhile. A smile from a stranger, a kind word to a friend, a long distant hug to help you get through the tough times; these are things we should be thankful for. I am.

 

5 Responses to “A Reason to be Thankful”

  1. Shay Fabbro Says:

    Oh holy CRAP! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    On a serious note, the stress of the holidays made my family decide against gifts years ago. Instead, we shop throughout the year for Angel Tree gifts so we can really spoil the kids. Where they ask for one thing, we can give them other stuff since we really load up during the year (I have 2 HUGE plastic totes stuffed to the brim with clothing and toys for all ages). Sort of made us realize what Christmas was REALLY about: food and game and lots of drinking :D

  2. D.C. Says:

    Ah, Karen! You taught that girl a valuable lesson, one she is lucky to have learned at such an early age and with something as trivial as a drill. After all, it’s not like you stole Little Timmy’s crutch or anything.

  3. antonio angelo Says:

    Wow, well at least you weren’t among the crowd that killed that poor clerk in the stampede. Actually wait a minute that clerk knew he was taking his life in his hands, it is a danger of the job. But taking advantage of a fatigued child drug into a sea of humanity and expected to defend something far to heavy for her to carry. yup you are a special kind of rotten.

    Every time you hear the whine of that drill as your bath fixtures are being installed, or the dog house is being repaired what you are really hearing is the cry of a child with no gift for her father.

    ok just teasing, as a man who loves tools I can assure you, whatever tool they were buying for dad was probably the wrong one, and when they replaced it with something else it was probably just as good or better than what they had. There christmas was not ruined, their lives went on and that image that woman has of you leaving the store with her precious gift has burned so deeply that every year she returns to the battle with new found strength, she has taken deals most of us will only dream of, her husbands drill has been replaced a thousand times over by xboxs, rock band, bigger tools, cameras, kindles, all because she will never lose another item once it is in her grasp and she grasps more harder and longer now that she knows how fleeting the deals can be.

  4. Eric DeLabar Says:

    I really like that drill. :-)

  5. Karen DeLabar Says:

    @Shay That is a great idea! If you pick up little gifts throughout the year it would take away all the major stress of the holiday. Then all I would have to worry about is being around family… oh wait, that’s what the wine is for. Never mind. ;)

    @DC Yes, I hoped I taught her that when she finds a drill she likes she should hold onto it with both hands… wait… is that what you meant? ;)

    @Antonio You are too much, brother! LOL! Thanks for stopping by now aren’t you supposed to be out hunting and scavenging… I have a can of peaches here for you. :D

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