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Single +1

There is a moment in time, the briefest of hours, a sacred ritual if you will, that only comes once a year. The stars are in order, the planets align and the universe is hanging in perfect balance. And there is a flat screen TV on aisle 15 that is marked 75 percent off. Ladies and gentleman, I’m talking about Black Friday. There are professional athletes, professional fly fishermen and even that guy who can eat 82 hot dogs in one sitting but there is nothing like the drive of a professional shopper. We are a small, select group of like-minded individuals who have one goal, and one goal only in mind: Get the sale and get it first. We are the ones who can calculate percentages in our head in a nanosecond. We are the ones who know to skip the items at the front of the store because more often than not, the new items for this season are in the back. We are the ones who don’t go to sleep the night of Thanksgiving because our Super Bowl, our day of reckoning, begins when the clock strikes twelve on Friday morning.
The week of Thanksgiving most people are concerned with turkey, stuffing and waging the classic war of whether cranberry sauce is better homemade or from the can. But for me, that’s not the case. I could care less how many mini marshmallows it takes to top a sweet potato casserole or whether that crazy uncle will embarrass us all and unbuckle his pants at the dinner table. No, those are trivial concerns and I can’t be bothered with them. What I’m concentrating on are the glossy, beautifully colored ads that arrive daily in my mailbox, trying to lure me to the warmth of their stores with promises of “Deep deep discounts!” The numbers practically jump off the page proclaiming: “50 % off electronics!” 75% off cashmere sweaters!” or Prinny’s personal favorite “Life size Barbie for 49.99!” Even my innocent little five year old knows this is serious business, asking me just this morning if I was ready for Black Friday and telling me that I needed to, and I quote, “Get your game face on!”
Please don’t get me wrong, I love that I get the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with my family and friends. There is nothing like the joy of spending time with my family, eating one too many deviled eggs and I know Butterball warns against it but oh my goodness a deep fried turkey is Heaven on Earth. That being said, there is just something about competing with a total stranger for the Deal of the Day that gives me a rush I can’t describe. After all the relatives have gone home and Prinny is tucked snug as a bug in her bed I take a moment to sit in the quiet preparing myself (and my sale flyers) for the madness I am about to enter into. I dress very carefully for the task ahead; it’s not about looks at 2 am, comfort is key. I wear black yoga pants and a black fitted t-shirt for easy maneuvering, my hair in a ponytail and running shoes on my feet. You can’t be too careful, this is one step away from street fighting; people get hurt over the last Tickle Me Elmo. You don’t want to be caught wearing dangly earrings or a scarf when you reach for the last half priced item on the shelf at the same time as another crazed mommy. Trust me.
If years past have taught me anything it is that timing is of the utmost importance. You need to be at the store with enough time to size up your competition but not too much time to let your enemy become familiar with you. Yes, it sounds extreme but this is war. As the women and brave men who were undoubtably dragged along for the heavy lifting line up outside the store, it is easy to tell who is a first timer. For example, the woman juggling her keys, coffee cup and wearing four inch heels is obviously an amateur. Then there will be the woman with a purse bigger than my child. Either she’s an amateur or a shop lifter, it’s a toss up really. As the minutes tick down I slowly and stealthily ease my way closer to the door; every inch is an inch closer to victory. Then suddenly, it’s go time.
They open the doors and it’s like Moses parting the Red Sea. You get this unbelievable feeling of excitement, panic and ecstasy before racing towards your prize. If you’re smart you’ve scanned the store the previous day, much like a bank robber who cases the joint before he attempts to pull of the biggest heist of his life. I make my way around the corner and AH HA! Gleaming under the florescent lights is the present that will surely make me the Best Mommy ever. In that moment where you swipe your prize off the shelf, inches away from the grabby little fingers of someone surely less prepared that you and hastily make your way towards the checkout you realize that all your planning, plotting and scheming that are just on the other side of crazy has paid off. It’s a feeling of satisfaction that is second to none and I’m beginning to understand why hunters get up at 3 am and sit in a deer stand for a glimpse at that prize buck. Who knows, Black Friday is only once a year but I’ve heard deer season last considerably longer. Hmm…I wonder if there is a sale on camo…

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