Black Friday

Black Friday…the day our society shows how much it loves its god, Mammon.

I don’t like to shop that day.  Not even for groceries (even less so now that most of my grocery shopping is done at Walmart).  But last year, I went out late on B.F. afternoon for something and noticed that the local Walmart wasn’t too busy.  So if I time it right, I can head out for a gallon of milk or something, right?
Anyway, this year I didn’t see that in my day at all.  I needed to work the phones.  Required time, 4 hours.  Requested time, 8 hours.  Ugh.
So Travel Man worked from home, breaking from work when I did, and keeping the girls busy with some chores or small jobs that they could do while we both worked.  And between my shifts – when I didn’t wind up working through my breaks! – they made meals, washed dishes, and made things nice for me.  It was fantastic, really.  I am so blessed.
Wow, I can tell already this is a rambling post.
Well, I had a big break between 4:00 and 8:30, for things like dinner and such.  And we sat, discussing the girls’ favorite recent topic: when they could shop for the Wii that they’d saved up for all year.  Pinching pennies, socking away nearly all of their birthday money, doing extra 
chores for extra allowance (commission, for the Dave Ramsey fans).  And they did it.  They’d saved enough for a Wii and extra remote set!  Suddenly, at about 4:35, I slammed my hand on the table and said the words that nearly made Travel Man fall off his chair.
“Let’s go out and let the girls get their Wii!!”
Like a shot, they’d put on shoes, pulled on coats, and run out to the car for a shopping expidition!

We drove past Walmart (busier than last year, but not awful), past the Re-Play Games, and on to the bank.  The girl each withdrew $170, I packed the two envelopes in my purse, and went back to Re-Play Games.  The girls walked in, looked the man behind the counter right in the eyes, and asked, “Do you have any Wii’s?”
“Yup,” he answered.  “Right there.”  He pointed at a row of game consoles above his head.
Big Girl cried, “I’ll take one!”
“WAIT!” I said.  “How much is it, Big Girl?”
“Oh.”  She looked at the man again.  “How much is it?”
“$279.99.”
Emotion took over again.  “I’LL TAKE ONE!”
“WAIT!”  She looked at me, and the look on her face was slightly annoyed, slightly confused.  They have one.  I have the money.  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM, PARTY-POOPER MOTHER OF MINE???
I looked right at the man behind the counter.  I noticed his nametag: Jason.  “Sir, does that include extra controllers or anything else?”  I looked back at Big Girl.  “That’s $30 more than the usual price, honey.”
The man looked at the girls and back at me.  “I know.  It’s $30 more than the retail price, but it doesn’t include anything extra.  Because this is such a small store, we could only order a few – four, actually – so I think he’s trying to make some money on the few he could get.”
Travel Man put his hand on Big Girl’s shoulder.  “Sweetie, let’s see if Walmart has any, okay?”
Jason-Behind-the-Counter looked at me and said, “I work at Walmart, too, and they had a huge stack this morning.  And when I left this afternoon, they still had a bunch.  Want me to call them for you?”  I think my face must have shown the shock I felt at this statement, and he continued, “I don’t get any of the profit here, but I do there.  I’ll call them right now.”  And he nearly winked at us.
A few moments later, he got off the phone and said, “They’ve got about 15 of them behind the counter in electronics.  Go get them.  Use the money you save to get an extra controller for yourselves.  But you can come back for the games.  Our used games have a lifetime warranty.”
After profuse thanks, our family walked out in wonder.  We picked up the Wii and extra remotes (no wait, no mark-up) and headed home.
Today, we’ll pack up Travel Man’s X-Box and games and go back to Re-Play to exchange those for Wii games. 

I’ve got to say, it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for my children.  Jason is my hero of Black Friday.
And my day?  All nine hours that I wound up working?
Well, I have to say that working the phones on Black Friday is much better than working in the “real world.”  Most people were happy, they didn’t mind waiting (up to half an hour, some of them!), and they were in the mood for computers and iPods.  It was a successful day (sales-wise — let’s face it, I am in sales, and I have to sell to keep my job), and not as stressful as I thought it would be.  Of course, that also was due to Travel Man and the girls doing everything they could to let me relax between shifts.  I barely lifted a finger!  I even took a quick nap after lunch.
So this was the best Black Friday I’ve ever had.  And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make my Mii on the new Wii.

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