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Tuesday, December 01, 2009  

Doorbusted, Part II: The Doorbustening

I mentioned before that pretty much the only thing that went right in my midnight Black Friday trip to Toys R Us was scooting across the middle of the store to nab the first item on my list. Because from there, my goal was to head to the back right corner of the store to grab something else. Which proved pretty much impossible, because see previous entry about the aisles being backed up like a centenarian's GI tract. The main aisle I was in only went one way tonight. Maneuvering a cart upstream was like trying to drive a semi the wrong way up a gridlocked freeway. However many people they were keeping waiting outside, it wasn't enough.

So I ducked back into one of the side aisles that fed off the main one, which wasn't much better. For one thing, the traffic there was almost as bad. For another, it didn't go back as far as I needed to, so I had to fight the main aisle traffic anyway, but at least this time I had the added impetus of an impatient woman behind me, wanting to go the same direction and giving me occasional pushes in the ass with her cart.

Finally I got my hands on the second item. The deal was to get those two, and then call home, where Trash was serving as mission control, with the sales brochure as her flight manual. I told her I had accomplished our two primary goals.

"Oh, good," she said. "Why don't you go back over to the Star Wars section and look for the lightsabers that are on sale. And then there's an MP3 player you might want to check out. Oh, and wander by the art supplies if you get a chance."

She. Did. Not. Get. It.

Still, I gamely followed her instructions, and called her a half hour later. "I got the lightsaber," I panted, about twenty feet from where we had last rung off. I didn't tell her what I'd had to do to get it, because I'd been forced to abandon my cart some distance behind me and had to get back to it before it was emptied for me. The small side aisle I was in, you see, had been backfilled by people waiting to check out. Now I was understanding what those arrows of blue masking tape on the floor were all about.

Trash suggested I just sort of browse around. I could have explained to her that this was not an environment where anybody was going to be able to move anywhere without firm, definite purpose, and possibly also mace. I could have told her how much I was, at that moment, wishing the lightsaber in my hand was real. Instead I just told her, "Right now I'm just worried about getting out alive."

But on my way to where I thought another checkout over line might start, back on the other side of the store, I was lucky enough to get a chance to fight my way past the art supplies (I was fighting my way through there anyway), where I saw that everything on sale had already been snapped up. So I drifted toward the front of the store, where there was a deceptively clear area opened up before the checkout lanes.

"Are you ready to check out?" a store employee asked me. I was, in more than one sense of the phrase. He said, "The line starts over there."

I looked in the direction he was pointing. Through a wavering haze created by the vast distances, I could see another employee holding a sign that says, "LINE STARTS HERE." He was holding it high above his head, which was the only reason I could see it over the horizon.

So I schlepped my cart all the way to the back corner of the store -- it was all over in this area but some mopping up and body disposal -- where that employee added me to the end of the line. A line that wound through the baby baths, all the way to the back corner, through baby clothes, and then back and forth in a zigzag pattern that led through seven or eight side aisles. It was at this point I texted Trash, "NEVER AGAIN." She asked if I wanted to just skip it. I said there was no way I was going to abandon this ordeal, having already gotten as much as ten percent through it.

And I didn't begrudge Trash getting to stay home. It's not even like she had a choice; M. Edium was asleep in his bed, and someone had to stay with him. But I did find myself wishing that there was someone she could call at this late hour, just to sit downstairs and read a book in case he woke up. That way, she would be free to get in the car, drive down to the store, find me, and kill me.

I think I actually left my body for a while there, as I did the slowest browse in history through board games, books, and drinks. But even then, I didn't go far, because even if I couldn't stay in my corporeal form, I wasn't about to leave my cart. At one point, I seemed to sense myself coasting swiftly downhill toward a bright light in the shape of an unprotected car door panel. I was brought back to myself by the observation that the last aisle the line went through was the snack aisle, and I was both astounded by the nefarious cleverness of this and curious as to how many empty boxes and wrappers would be rung up that evening before everyone got out of there.

Finally, I reached a register, checked out more quickly than I ever have before at that store. When I got outside with my merchandise, there were still people waiting to get in. "Abandon all hope!" I wanted to call out to them. But any interest or concern I might have felt for any of my fellow humans had vanished upon witnessing an argument between a woman who wanted to move her cart and another woman who wanted it to stay right the fuck where it was.

So how long did my twenty-minute shopping run last? Well, let's put it this way: I wrote and posted this as soon as I got home.

posted by M. Giant 10:20 PM 1 comments


Waaiiiiitt a minute .... you got to the sale before midnight, and the post was dated after ten p.m. You were there for ten hours? Surely I've done the math wrong ....... I waited in line for two hours once, and was ready to stab someone by the end.

By Blogger rockygrace, at December 3, 2009 at 12:08 PM  

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