24 November 2006

Blue Friday

Black Friday shopping - it is indeed a crazy thing to do. I got up at 3 a.m., picked up my two nephews at 3:30ish, got to the Gateway Mall off Belt Parkway's Erskine Street exit around 4 a.m., an hour before the Circuit City electronics store's opening. There were already 200 or more people lined up outside the store, ending at Staples. We actually got into the store shortly after 5, after witnessing a bunch of people simply cutting right in the front at the store entrance. The entrance should have been roped off on one side so only people who were on the queue able to get in. A beefy security guard stationed at the rope would help, too, but neither guard nor rope was there. The store probably didn't care whether people behave decently or not, as long as they get to unload the merchandise. Inside, the same scenario occurred, only worse. My goal was to get the Kodak Z612 camera and a stack of it was in the camera corral, but the line never moved in two hours. Supposedly, one salesperson took down what the people on the line wanted and place the piece of paper on top of the merchandise. When the people advanced to the cashier, they would pay for and walk away with their loot. That's the theory. In practice, it was total chaos. People just jumped in front of the line and made all the fuss. Only a few people got to tell the salesperson what they want and had their notes taken, while the rest just stood on line. To make matters worse, two ladies held up the line for hours because of some problems with their credit cards. I'm a pessimist so I chalked that up as bad credit. The ladies probably blew their credit limits the day before and yet still went out shopping. My nephews managed to grab some blank discs and car stereo stuff so I had them pay for those first. By the time they came back, I was still in the same place on the camera queue so I gave up. Instead, I went to Staples and got an internal DVD burner and other items. Mission failed.

I wasn't tired while waiting on line but by the time I got home, a nasty headache set in and lasted all day. It didn't help that I had to drive my Kid and Wife to music class, plus my sister to her office in midtown to take home her personal belongings. Both Chinatown and midtown Manhattan are unfriendly places for cars. Inattentive pedestrians, horrible traffic, you name it. My sister and I tried to buy lunch at the Pathmark's in Chinatown but they didn't make sandwiches, even though some idiot Pathmark employee said so when we asked him. Instead we got a fruit plate, a manager's special, which is just another way to refer to rotten fruit. Half of the fruit chunks smelled and looked bad and had to be thrown away. The worst part of the day was when I came off the Manhattan Bridge and unintentionally ran the red light at the foot of the bridge. Maybe because of the insufficient amount of sleep, I simply didn't realize it was a steady red until I passed under the light. There was a traffic agent nearby with his back to me and he did turn around. He didn't flag me down and I didn't dare to make eye contacts - maybe he's lazy and would let me go. I secretly wished that maybe if he really wanted to ticket me, he could have either walked over or alert the other two agents at the next light. Shortly afterward, a few blocks away, a truck that had stopped at the red light that I ran came alongside me to tell me that the agent back there wrote me a ticket. Maybe he lied, just to make other people's life miserable, or maybe he told the truth. I'll just have to wait a few days to get the ticket in the mail. Or maybe never.

In case I lose my senses next year and plan to do this again, NEVER AGAIN! I'm too old for all this hassle. Six-hour special my foot! I just checked Amazon and it had the camera for $286, just $16 more than Circuit City's $270, but don't forget taxes.

Well, the evening is still young, what will happen next? I told you I am a pessimist.

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