Dawn's Early Fight

Having boycotted Wal-Mart for well over a year, I was a bit disoriented to find myself caught up in the store's annual after-Thanksgiving frenzy. It was our first ever Black Friday sale.

Wal-Mart's junk mail had appeared on the kitchen table. Flipping through the pages to tally how much money I would not be spending there this week, I noticed the 5 a.m. special on an all-in-one computer printer-scanner-copier for a scant $25!

That's a deal, especially for a guy years without a printer, who had grown tired of emailing documents to his family and friends with the plea, "Make me a copy, Guttenberg."

Choking back acid reflux (mmmm, Wal-Marty flavor), I looked at my wife and said, "We're going in."


3:14 a.m -- I crawled into bed at the normal time. Unconsciousness followed within minutes.

4:01 a.m. -- The clock alarm squealed.

4:01:37 a.m. -- Donna stirred. "We've overslept," I said.

4:22 a.m. -- Cold in a cold car, the couple of us aimed for town.

4:23 a.m. -- "We are officially nuts," I said.

4:31 a.m. -- "Run! Hurry! Get it! Get it!" I barked, as we raced beyond the entrance doors, grabbing the last available shopping cart. That's an ominous sign, no shopping carts. I felt fear and started running deep into the store.

4:32 a.m. -- "Sorry, 'Shrek 3' display," I yelled, increasing my pace, having been slowed by bumping into the ogre. "Somebody will buy you off the linoleum."

"That's not Shrek," Donna said from behind, as I turned a sharp left and sparks flew from the speeding cart's axles.

"Oh," I said with compassion. "That lady'll be okay. She was next to the bronzers."

4:34 a.m. -- We found the shrink-wrapped pallets of desirable merchandise parked in the Electronics department. I towered over the $25 Lexmarks and Donna hovered next to expensive $34 Hewlett-Packard printers, our devious back-up selection. We waited. No items would be released until 5 a.m.

4:37 a.m. -- I counted only 20 "while supplies last" printers stacked at my knees. There were easily that many customers-in-waiting circled near me with more arrivals every minute, all with a glare of menace.

I knew that look. I, too, am a cheapskate.

4:38 a.m. -- I remarked, "There's going to be bloodshed, isn't there?"

4:38:07 a.m.
-- An elderly woman sized me up, adding: "Virgin, ain't-cha?"

4:38:11 a.m.
-- Looking down at my feet, swiveling, I blushed, gushed, "Tee hee."

4:57 a.m. -- Sweat dripped off my brow. I felt a chill and thought of Bambi's mother.

4:58 a.m. -- "The tocking! The ticks and the tocking! Make it stop!" I told 'em.

4:59 a.m. -- Bargain bounty hunters packed the aisles. The promise of fresh roadkill permeated the air, commingled with sounds of heavy breathers tensing.

5:00 a.m. -- "Okay!" signaled the clerk. Like piranhas on a cow, the mob devoured the entire stock of printers.

5:00:01 a.m. -- Sale over.

5:03 a.m. -- I fought my way through the crowd and rescued Donna from the losers' printer envy. She clutched her own box of treasure. We compared the technical specifications on the two packages and decided to go with the $25 beauty.

"We save another $9," I said with a high hop and an airborne heels click, and a yawn.

For the next two hours, we examined the leftover pickings of $2.96 unwatchable DVDs, and pretend blenders.

We did hoard a dozen inexpensive bath towel sets in all our favorite colors, providing those colors could only be rust, off-rust, rust rust, rust rust rust, or lint.

Out front, I posed with the finest of fortuitous finds, the pink Volkswagen Barbie car.

Liked it so much, we dove back into the Wal-Mart and elbowed and trampled, but in a Christian manner, to snag another.

"We are officially buggy," Donna said.

To top off the exhilarating Black Friday value grab adventure, we crossed the road to treat ourselves to coffee at Starbucks. Our lucrative morning savings were depleted three sips into peppermint 'spressos.

Too-too caffeinated, we strolled hand-in-hand into the Wal-Mart for old times sake, just as the first annual grandmas slugfest over Chicken Dance Elmo and Little Mommy Bedtime Baby threatened to get ugly.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Continued: "Dawn's Early Bite"
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