I have done it. I have survived an event similar to the zombie apocalypse (no bath salts required). Some would even consider it to be equivalent to survival of the fittest: Black Friday.
My name is Lauren Estlinbaum and I am a shopaholic. There, I said it. Most women in my family are. I was persuaded to participate in retail therapy at a young age and my passion for fashion/craving to live in Zara and Urban Outfitters has only flourished.
It was my first time home since the summer and while I was spending quality family time with my grandmother, she insisted that we go Christmas shopping on the busiest retail day of the year.
Images of ruthless crowds and never-ending lines flashed through my mind. The image was haunting. I looked at her delicate smiling face. How could I say no?
All Thanksgiving Day I could not get the thought out of my head. My grandmother and I are both 5’2″. If my grandmother and I were between a pack of people and a plethora of half price iPads, we wouldn’t stand a chance.
We decided to skip the haywire of going at o’dark-thirty in the morning and finalized that our trip to the Houston Galleria would take place at 9 a.m. I felt as if I was prepping for D-Day.
When we arrived at the grounds, I imagined the parking garage would be as stuffed as I was after eating three servings of my mom’s sweet potato soufflé. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, there were few spots but it was nothing compared to the nightmare I had imagined the night before.
Our first stop was Express. Everything was 50% off until noon and the store was packed. Not only was the store in shambles, but also one’s personal bubble was continuously popped. I managed to find a couple of items. My grandmother and I waited in a contorted line that reminded me of the snake in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” This being said, we only had to wait a total of 30 minutes and 47 seconds. But who’s counting?
The rest of the day was fairly tame. We took a chance and took a lunch break at the typical time most shoppers do (12/12:30 p.m.). Not only was there no wait, our food was served to us in half the time it normally is. Apparently people are serious about their deals and steals.
I also realized that certain stores didn’t have any deals at all. It was just business as usual.
Overall, that was my Black Friday experience. It was business as usual during my time at the Galleria. Not too much shoving or yelling or getting into fights over a My Little Pony figurine. It was a typical Saturday at the mall with a little less wiggle room.
I personally wouldn’t mind going again during the day, but you couldn’t pay me to go to Wal-Mart or Target when they open their doors (especially not on Thanksgiving). And who knows, after this year with stores opening their doors earlier and earlier we might have to start calling it Grey Thursday.
Go on you Black Friday veterans. Maybe someday I too will participate in the shoving and waiting in line into the wee hours of the morning. Until then, I’ll stick to what I know.