Raiding Walmart on Black Friday can be quite a crusade
by Robin O’Bryant
Dec 01, 2010 | 2251 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Christ-mas tree is up with lights glowing through my window into the cold street beyond. The stockings are hung by the chimney with something resembling care, and the ornament fatality rate is rising. It’s Christmas at the O’Bryant household and the decorations are paying the price.

We’ve decked the halls and we’re ready for the festivities to begin. I’m normally a last-minute shopper, waiting until Dec. 1 to even get started, but this year I couldn’t help getting sucked in as my sisters-in-law (there are a lot of them) and my mother-in-law (there’s only one of them and I wouldn’t trade her for her weight in gold… she’s a tiny little thing, anyway) planned their Black Friday attack.

They were huddled together over a laptop talking about the deals they were going to get when I heard Tina mention a particular gift she wanted to get for her youngest daughter.

“Oh! We need one of those for my girls!” I exclaimed. “How much are they?”

“They are marked down from $230 to $88!” Tina told me, excited.

I was gobsmacked. Is this what I had been missing out on all those years while I’d been sleeping off my turkey? Savings of more than $100?

I sat down at the table to learn from professionals.

“So how early can I get there? The sale starts at five in the morning, right?”

They all began talking at once. There were so many things to learn I felt like I needed to take notes: don’t get a buggy because I would get stuck in traffic and never reach my items in time; prioritize the things I really wanted and head to those items first; work as a team, never go anywhere alone; once I got my hands on an item, never set it down or walk away from it.

I was overwhelmed but determined, if I could get most of my Christmas shopping done at a bargain price I was going to do it. There was just one tiny problem: My kids. If I was going to be team shopping at the crack of dawn, I either needed (a) a partner to shop with, or (b) a babysitter who wanted to come to my house at dark-thirty.

I discussed my problem at length with my husband. I feel sure the only reason he agreed to go to the store for me was to put an end to my shopping monologue, but regardless of his reasoning, he volunteered to go shopping on Black Friday for me. (Men, this is true love.)

We studied store maps like Indiana Jones planning a crusade for the Holy Grail and found out where our desired items were hidden. We read the fine print and found out the sale started and 12:01am as opposed to 5 a.m. as we had originally thought. On Thanksgiving night I tucked my little turkeys in the bed, took a shower and pushed my husband out the door, into the cold, cruel world that is Walmart on Black Friday and wished him well.

I’d like to tell you it was like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie: The beautiful woman wishes Indy well, saying good-bye with a passionate kiss, never knowing if she will see him again. But it was more like a scene out of “Modern Family” or “Roseanne” — I slapped him on the behind when he bent over to tie his shoes and said, “Go get ’em tiger. Don’t make eye contact with anybody and don’t come home without ’em!”

I crawled into my bed to read, not knowing the drama that was playing out in front of my husband’s very eyes only a few miles away. He narrowly made it through the automatic doors as he ran and threw himself on top of the two items we were shopping for. (My 6-year-old can read, so I can’t be more specific.) He held his position for almost 45 minutes as he waited for the official sale time to roll around. He was making his way to the check-out line, dodging dangerous and rogue shoppers when a fight broke out in the linen department. He quickly snapped a picture and texted me, “Fight breaks out in towels. These people are serious!”

I was scared for him. If someone would throw a punch over a $1.33 Egyptian cotton bath towel, what would they do for big-ticket items? Would he make it to the checkout unscathed? Only time would tell. As I waited for his phone call giving me the “all clear” I contemplated human nature and what it would take to make someone throw a punch for linens. I can safely say I wouldn’t throw a punch for a bath towel, but for a flat-screen television I might.

Wait, who am I kidding? Why would I go myself when I have my own personal Indiana Jones crusading for me? (Cue the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme song.)

Robin O’Bryant is a syndicated humor columnist, author and speaker. She was born and raised in Jasper and now lives in Mississippi with her husband and three daughters. Read more online at www.robinschicks. com or email Robin at