Monday, December 2, 2013

Black Friday Shopping

I remember the first Black Friday I went out shopping.  It was 1998.  We were in southern Ohio visiting my parents for Thanksgiving when we looked at the ad papers.  We saw that Wal-Mart had Ferbies which were the HOT toy of the season.  Our thought was we would go and each of us buy one and then try and sell them for a profit. 

Four of us got up at some horrible early morning hour, dressed for the frozen tundra and set off to get in line at Wal-Mart.  We got there around 4 AM and the store opened at 6 AM.  At that time this was not a 24/7 Wal-Mart so we actually had to stand outside, in twenty degree weather, in a mass of people seemingly with the same idea as conversations could be overheard. 

Surprisingly time went quickly and I still remember when those doors opened.  You’ve heard the phrase “door busters” well we were a bunch of door busters.  I can still hear the sound of my feet hitting the tile floor as I ran the most important race of my life.  Everyone’s faces were filled with determination and I can see the entire event unfold in my mind in slow motion.  Wal-Mart workers were standing off to the side watching the race with huge smiles on their faces.

Of course where we were all running to, we didn’t know as they didn’t have them in TOYS like you would suspect.  Instead someone was standing nearby in electronics with boxes full of the highly coveted Ferbie.  My group was still together, with the exception of Mom who got lost somewhere.  We stood in line hoping to get what we came for and we did.  Three of us got Ferbies and we took whichever one was offered; this was no time to be picky.  Mom said she was laughing so hard she had to step aside as the crowd threatened to mall her in a stampede. 

Then, once we got a Ferbie, we had to guard them with our life as people were stealing them out of other people’s carts.  But we made it out alive, three Ferbies in hand at a cost of $29.95 each.  Now to find someone who might want to take them off our hands for a slight profit.  Of course this was before eBay and other on-line auction sites so I had to place a classified ad in the newspaper.  Talk about old school; I placed an ad in the Plain Dealer asking $50 each for the Ferbies.  We had one taker.  Another I sold to a co-worker for $39.95 and the last one we gave to my sister-in-law since her daughter had asked Santa for one and they couldn’t be found anywhere.

So that’s my story.  Now each year, instead of Black Friday, we call it Ferbie Hunting Season.  We look at the ad papers and set off to find the perfect “Ferbie”.  This year my daughter and I went Ferbie hunting at Kohl’s.  They had a Gloria Vanderbilt duffle bag, regular price $99.99 on sale for $19.99.  They opened at 8 PM on Thanksgiving and I could not believe the amount of people standing in line waiting for the doors to open.  It brought back fond memories of my first Ferbie Hunt; and as the case with the first one, I bagged a “Ferbie”.

May you find the perfect “Ferbie” and have memories that last a lifetime.

R. K. Avery