Black Friday Was Not So Black


I’d never gone shopping on Black Friday for good reason. But that all changed a few years ago because of my stepdaughter… Here’s my story:

Really? Go shopping on Black Friday? No way! I didn’t want to deal with all those crowds, lines, and traffic! Not my idea of fun. But, when my step-daughter said that she wanted to go and that her mom wouldn’t take her, I knew I was going shopping on Black Friday. Something this seasoned shopper had avoided her entire life. When Jessie told me her mom wasn’t good in crowds, that she got angry and frustrated too easily, and she thought I’d handle it better, well, I just couldn’t say “No”. Stepmom to the rescue! Stepmom as the hero! For some reason that has always been so important to me.

Luckily, Jessie is not a morning person, just like me, so we headed out around noon. She insisted that we go to the big mall in the city next door to our neighborhood. What!? Oh, geez. I thought we’d go to our little local mall- so much smaller and less crazy. “No, Shawn. We have to go to the big mall, If we want to experience Black Friday. We have to do it right!” She said this with a big, excited smile on her face. On the drive, she was worried we wouldn’t find parking at the mall. But, it was funny, she seemed excited by the prospect, and I started getting into the experience. She was embracing every part of this journey. “Oh, Shawn, I wonder if we will get a space! How crowded will the lots be? Oh boy!”  We drove around and around, thinking we had found a place, but, no… Someone else grabbed it, or they were just straightening their car in the spot… Around again, we drove, circling the lot. Finally, we got lucky. Someone we just passed was leaving, so what did I do? I backed up my car all the way down the aisle, just to get that spot. She loved that! We couldn’t let that spot get away!

We locked up the car and headed into the crowded mall. Bouncing up and down, she excitedly asked, “How crowded do you think it will be in there?”  She seemed a little disappointed that it wasn’t more packed with shoppers when we entered the mall. I asked if she wanted to stop for lunch first, and she said, “No! We can’t do that! All the good stuff will be gone if we wait!” What good stuff? Did she even have anything she wanted to buy? Were we looking for anything in particular? She was so adorable!!

I did want to buy a baby outfit for my manicurist who just had a little boy, so we went to Gymboree. Normally, I wouldn’t shop there as it’s so expensive, but they had their big Black Friday sale, so in we walked. The line was insanely long, wrapping around the entire store. We split up: Jessie waited in line, and I searched the racks for a cute infant boy outfit. We had perfect timing- I found the most adorable plaid shirt and corduroy pants right when Jessie got to the front of the line. We high-fived that one!

Then, we were off for our next shopping adventure. We bought her dad gift cards, we bought her cousin a shirt and necklace, and we even found a couple cute things for ourselves. Then, we finally stopped for lunch at the food court. All in all, we felt it was a successful afternoon, and she got to experience her first Black Friday. When we pulled out of our parking space, Jessie enthusiastically announced, “Wow, I bet those people behind us are happy we’re leaving! Because of us, they’re getting a parking space!” On the drive home, she was quiet, until she shyly said, “That was fun. We make a good team.”  We do, don’t we?

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