Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

Madness at Midnight

Posted on: November 24, 2011

She needs a second TV for the apartment she’ll soon move to. I told her to leave it to me; I’ll take care of it. There are lots of good sales going on before Christmas, I figured. Surely I’ll find a good model at a good price.

During today’s traditional Thanksgiving NFL game, I caught a commercial for an electronics store. They were selling all brands, all sizes at cut-to-the-bone prices; all you have to do is ‘be here at midnight tonight when we’ll bust the doors open.’

So I did due diligence as is my custom with major (even minor) purchases and found that one store had a particular model at an incredibly low price. I knew I’d have to wait on a line; I’ve seen the news stories of stampedes to grab the coveted Tickle-Me-Elmo talking dolls and stomping on old ladies’ heads on the way to get it. It’s not funny, and the “bargains” have never been enticing enough for me to participate in such madness.

And there’s something else: I remember even as a kid hating lines. Even the magic contained within New York’s Radio City Music Hall could not make me like waiting in line for tickets. Through the years, I’ve done my best to avoid similar experiences.

But here I was; highly motivated to buy a brand-name product at a steal of a price. I decided to chance it and left the house super early; at 9:30.

Wrong!

When I arrived at the store only two miles from home, there was a steady flow of cars looking for parking spaces in the Lowe’s Home Center lot; the Best Buy lot had been full for quite some time already. I drove slowly toward the store’s front door: the front of the line. I saw the end of the line only five hundred feet away. No, it was a break in the line for cars to pass through. Looking to the right I saw more line, and more still. It wrapped all the way around the Best Buy parking lot and was already deep into Lowe’s territory. I’m the world’s worst estimator, but there had to be hundreds and hundreds of people queuing up to scramble into the store at midnight.

My mission’s purpose dissolved. I headed for the hole in the line.

But I was curious, and ever-so-slightly hopeful that I’d find better fortune at another store. So I drove toward Walmart on my way home. Steady stream of cars looking for non-existent parking spaces, line all the way past the neighboring Sam’s, all waiting for the stroke of midnight. Then another electronics store: same story. Then Target: same story. Whatever hope I may have had had crumbled and been replaced with an odd combination of embarrassment and shame.

I was embarrassed to think that my applied logic could win the competitive game of combat shopping. I’d have been a piker standing amidst titans of the sport. And I was a bit ashamed that I had wasted time that I can’t get back, and wasted non-renewable resources in the process. How many dinosaurs were sacrificed for my little adventure?

It’s getting close to midnight now. I think I’ll make some popcorn, turn on the news, and watch live coverage of the hoarding masses rushing into Best Buy. I don’t yet know if I will regret not having the intestinal fortitude for the effort, or the satisfaction in knowing that I avoided the hospital visit resulting from being trampled to death. I’ll watch closely to see how many of my special bargain-priced TV’s walk out (limit 1 per customer).

1 Response to "Madness at Midnight"

You have GOT to be kidding! I have never done the blockbuster sales and only assumed that the places I heard about on the news were the exception, not the rule.

Well, thanks for trying anyway!

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