14 December 2011
I was standing in line at a local Sears in Pennsylvania. In my hand were slippers, a pair for myself and a smaller, pinker pair, for Daughter. I had braved the dreaded Black Friday crowds and found something I needed on sale. I was thrilled. Unlike many of the horror stories floating around this Thanksgiving shopping season, I did not feel the need to pepper spray a fellow shopper to get a video game console on sale (Wal-Mart, Los Angeles), step over a man that collapsed and eventually died without having anyone stop to help him (Target, West Virginia), trample a part-time security guard to death by breaking down the glass door (Wal-Mart, Valley Stream, New York), or steal the item from someone else’s cart (from some undisclosed location).
Only one person stood between the cashier and my freedom. Actually, a dozen people who looked like they were growing old waiting in line stood in front of me at one register, so I asked politely if the solitary lady in jewelry could ring up these types of items even though they weren’t watches, bracelets or necklaces. She said, “Oh sure, as long as it doesn’t have one of those security tags on it.”
I quickly scanned my fuzzy pink find. No security tags. Yes! I was almost home free. I gingerly approached the counter and confidently plunked down my two items.
That’s when the air started leaking from my happy balloon. I thought I had a coupon for Sears in my bag. I fumbled around but couldn’t find it. The next person in line actually leaned in and tried to save me.
“I’ve got an extra, here you go.” I thanked her profusely. I thought I was back on track. But we didn’t read the fine print. The coupon was not valid for certain items, including shoes.
Thus began the Great Black Friday Shopping Debate of 2011 – Are Slippers Really Shoes? Everyone joined in, if nothing more than to speed up the conversation and get me the heck out of their way.
Then the salesperson asked me for my phone number. Not because she decided right then and there that we were BFFs but in order to ring up the sale. I asked her politely to put a dummy number in since I don’t give out my phone number. Not because I’m famous in Fluvanna but in order to avoid getting phone calls from salespeople asking for money and politicians asking for my vote.
This actually made the saleswoman’s head implode right before my eyes. Never before had anyone withheld their phone number, which prompted a consultation with another salesperson, who was busy trying to help Coupon-Lender-Lady.
Meanwhile, Husband had already been downstairs to the automotive section, asked for, found, stood in line, and purchased a tire gauge, walked back upstairs and across the hall to the sports store, found a ridiculously cheap hockey jersey on sale, bought two and walked all the way back to find me.
Husband immediately realized that his wife had become That Woman. The one in line that makes a simple purchase seem like a home refinancing. All others in line behind That Woman now wanted to throw sharp items at her for taking up their valuable discount hunting time. Husband glanced at me and said quickly “I’ll be over there,” pointing to the comfortable chairs in the clothing section. “Way, way over there…”
Chivalry was not dead, but it understandably wanted no part of a Sears riot involving pink fuzzy slippers.