June 19, 2018
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A Black Friday lesson to remember

Renee Ordway
By Renee Ordway, Special to the BDN

I woke up for a Black Friday deal once.

It was two years ago and my 16-year-old daughter thought it would be fun.

God skipped over me when handing out the savvy and enthusiastic shopping genes, but since I gave birth to a girl who got both, I decided to forsake my common sense and a bit of sleep for some mother-teenage daughter bonding.

As many mothers of teenage girls can tell you, patience and good humor can be difficult to find on the best of days during those challenging years, and trying to find it amid thousands of determined, competitive and sleep-deprived shoppers — well, let’s just say that neither one of us remembers it as a real positive experience.

What I did get, however, was a digital picture frame that normally was $69.99 but was on sale for that brief moment in time for $29.99.

It was a gift for my husband.

God skipped over him when handing out the materialistic gene.

He’s a banker, for those of you who don’t regularly read this column.

Each Christmas, each birthday and each Father’s Day, we ask him what he would like for a gift.

This is what he says every time, after giving our question lots of thought: “A new tie would be nice or a new [white] work shirt. I always love to get some new black dress socks or some undershirts.”

Every time, every gift-giving holiday, every single year.

But that year I was quite tickled when he mentioned a few months before Christmas that a fellow banker with an office down the hall had this digital picture frame with pictures of his family in it and the pictures switched out automatically.

He liked it.

I grabbed hold of that nugget and tucked it away and when I saw that picture frame advertised front and center in one of the many fliers that fell from my Thanksgiving morning newspaper that year, I decided it was the year for me to join the masses.

Not only was I going to get him a somewhat interesting gift that he actually wanted, but I was going to get it for a helluva bargain. What more could a banker want in a wife?

Right off my daughter and I realized we were amateurs when we were caught in a complete standstill traffic-jam on the Stillwater exit off I-95 at 3:30 a.m.

I became edgy. My palms started to sweat and I knew this was a mistake. I was out of my league.

I’m not a competitive shopper, and my teenage sidekick was the same little girl on the basketball court who would gladly hand the ball over to another little girl on the other team because “she wanted it more.”

We were doomed. We would be the ones trampled to death.

We weren’t. We actually made it into the store a couple of hours later and there were quite a few of those digital picture frames left.

We grabbed one, looked at a few other items and started making our way to the checkout.

And there was the rub.

The checkout line was so long that it actually was interwoven with another line that had formed in the opposite direction.

Glazed-eyed shoppers with armfuls of bargains asked, “Is this the end of the line?”

And they kept walking and we followed with our pitiful single item.

Finally we reached a spot and turned around and faced forward. We seemed to be in line and no one was yelling that we had cut, so we started on our journey to the checkout.

It was a long, slow journey.

I didn’t enjoy it.

We didn’t do a lot of bonding.

But we made it, paid our $29.99 plus tax and tossed the digital picture frame in the back of the car.

The sun was up. It was 6 a.m. We were three hours in, but we had both had enough and decided to be satisfied with our $40 savings and head home — along with about a thousand other customers who were leaving the mall parking lot at the exact same time.

An hour and a half later we pulled into our driveway, which is about five miles away from the mall.

I was not assaulted with pepper spray by another customer hoarding her deals, as were 20 customers at Los Angeles Walmart on Friday. There was no gunfire as there was in the line at a mall in Fayetteville, N.C., on Friday. I didn’t witness any fights that resulted in serious injuries, as occurred in upstate New York and in central Florida.

But for me, it was just enough of a nightmare to keep me away for the rest of my life.

I have to admit that paying $29.99 for a $69.99 digital picture frame is, as I said, a helluva deal.

And on Christmas morning he seemed very happy with it.

That was two years ago.

Where is it now?

In the box, unopened, tucked beside his dresser.

He’s waiting to find the time to read the instructions.

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