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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Real Test of Survival

Is Target right after they open for Black Friday shoppers.

Here is my tale of survival.

I crossed the border without incident in the early morning hours of Thursday, November 22nd.  That in itself was oddly disconcerting.  As I drove away I was left wondering what just happened.  No border guard ordered me out of my vehicle, inspected my underwear for weapons or grilled me on my intentions.  I was confused.  This was a new experience for me.  I made my way to the Spa to enjoy a massage and to kill a few hours before check-in at the hotel where my shopping experiences would begin at 10pm that evening.

Mid afternoon I made my way to my hotel in Burlington just an hour or so from the Border and checked in.  I settled in and went in search of food.  It was not to be had.  It was the US Thanksgiving holiday and the streets were dark.  I ended up having a dinner of candy dispenser junk food.  Stale junk food.

I left my hotel at 9:30pm and started to make my way as per the directions of the desk clerk - "the outlet mall you seek is about 15 minutes down the road on the right hand side - you can't miss it".  I headed out the doors into the dark, windy and rainy night in search of the outlet mall armed with a list and the sizes of my grandchildren.

After driving for about 12minutes I noticed the bright lights of Target and people going in to the store.  I thought this was the outlet mall and Target was part of it.  I found a parking spot and ran towards the store as the rain was coming down sideways and the wind was almost knocking me over.

I was deceived right from the start.  There was no line up of people so I thought I was doing pretty good......until I actually stepped more that 3 feet into the store.  It was utter maddness.  I had never experienced anything like this before.  I felt the walls closing in around me as screaming children, angry husbands and demanding women were pushing and shoving and in a hurry with their baskets and buggy's overflowing with goods.

Since there were no baskets left, I grabbed a couple of gift bags off the shelf and started to wade into the fray as I headed to the children's department in search of deals.  I must admit, it was pretty good.  The deals on kids clothes were quite remarkable.  As were the deals I found on household items (I cannot mention them here as those reading might be the recipients of those deals).  However, after about 30 minutes I could not go on any longer.  I had only made it to one corner of the store and I had to leave.  The experience was sucking the life right out of me and I had to escape.  Having gotten totally disoriented and quite frankly, a little frightened, I tried to make my way to the check-out counter.  I had no idea where it was so I stopped the first clerk I found and he took me to the end of an aisle and told me this is where the line started.  It was aisle 33C. 

As I began my winding journey through Target's maze of aisles in search of a check out, I mentioned aloud that I suppose I could handle the wait through 33 aisles.  The lady in front of me laughed.  She said I was in section C and still had to wade through the aisles in Sections B & A before I could make my escape.  OMG!!! Was she kidding?  Was it going to be worth it?

We started a pool.  You could get in for a loony.  We were betting on the time I would be at the front of the line and headed to my car.  It began at 10:40pm.  As we wound our way up and down each aisle I continued my shopping.  I got wrapping paper, christmas candy, a book, some make-up and a few other odds and ends.  THEN we arrived in the booze aisle.  We had been in line for about an hour.  Someone grabbed a bottle and cracked it open.  It got passed down the line.  I grabbed a bottle of water and drank it in almost one fell swoop.  Another 15 minutes and we made it to the hard liquor aisle.  A bottle of vodka found its way down the aisle as well as a bottle of orange juice,  These avid, industrious shoppers were mixing the drink right in their mouths before passing it along.  We were a pretty happy bunch by the time we made it to aisle 25B.  However, after the bottle of water I had to pee.  I had no idea where the bathroom was and no way was I going to start this line all over again if I left it now.  Plus, I would lose my loony.  I had to hold it in and do the pee pee dance the rest of the way.

A guy tried to cut in line - first about 10 people ahead of me and when that did not work, behind me.  Women are mean.  I thought this group of rather overly "healthy", rubenesque women were going to snap him like a twig.  I wonder what happened to him.

I lost the pool.  I had figured I would be at the front of the line by midnight.  I made it to my car by 1:20am.  I spent $248 and had 6 bags of goodies. 

Turns out, I was not at the outlet mall.  After asking questions as to it's location, I headed south in search of the elusive bastion of deals.  I went about a block when I noticed a sign that said MALL (turns out the upper portion of the sign was burnt out otherwise I might have noticed this was also NOT the outlet mall).  I pulled in and right away noticed MACY's.  Cool.

Things were not as wacky here.  I think the longest I waited in line was about 10 min.  People were more refined here.  There was no pushing and shoving.  No yelling and name calling.  I found some more good deals. 

I headed back to my hotel about 2:30 in the morning having given up on the outlet mall.  I was exhausted and hungry.  I would try again in the morning when it was light out and I could actually see where I was going.

I was woken up at about 10:45am by the sounds of knocking on the door by housekeeping.  Holy crap!  I slept in.  I had only 15 minutes to check out or my card would be charged for an extra night.  I was racing around in a bit of a daze packing and brushing my teeth and hair at the same time.  By the way, do not try this at home.  I almost lost my left eyeball. 

I found the elusive outlet mall first try.  Turns out I was so close the night before - less than a block.  I found a couple of my best deals at this mall,  It was so cool (again, cannot say what I got lest those who will be in reciept of said deals is reading this).  After a few more hours of shopping I was done.  I had no more energy and my credit and debit cards were almost on fire from the number of times they had been swiped,

Late afternoon and I was on my way to the Spa/Casino again where I was to meet up with my aunt and cousin for dinner.  It was great and we had a real nice visit.  We had a nice evening and met again for my birthday breakfast before I headed to the border.  After a brief stop at the Duty Free store for my bottle of Bailey's, I drove right up to the guard.  Again confusion ensued.  He askd where I had been and for how long before letting me pass right through.  What on earth was going on?  What was happening?  Had the world gone nuts in the last 48 hours?  How come I was not subject to my usual security checks?  It must of been because of my birthday.  I am sure that my next crossing attempt will make up for it and I will be back where I normally am being searched and patted down.  All will once again be right with the world.

I was home by noon exhausted but pleased with my purchases.

I am such a party animal that I spent my birthday napping on the couch and sharing a chinese food dinner with my brother before  heading to bed at 9pm.

I was a good wee holiday but remind me to NEVER see the inside of a Target store on black friday again.

I still have two days of holiday left.  I plan on doing laundry and buying groceries and finding hiding places for my purchases which right now are piled up in the hallway and my bedroom so deep that I can barely move.  However, they have to be hidden before the wee ones come over next weekend.  It is the Santa parade again and time for help putting up my tree.

I will keep you posted on the happenings of the annual santa time.

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