Thanksgiving Series : I Survived Black Friday

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Kryptonite
Kryptonite | Source
River Oaks Mall in Calumet City, Illinois circa 1966.  It is now an enclosed mall.
River Oaks Mall in Calumet City, Illinois circa 1966. It is now an enclosed mall. | Source
Carson's at Woodmar Mall
Carson's at Woodmar Mall

Around The Way

The target was between midnight and two. But we didn't get up until 4am. Then Babygirl let it linger on until 4:30 because she couldn't find her ding dong Kohl's coupons, so she could save ... like, 100 thousand percent off of her purchases. But I digress.

We started out at Carson Pirie Scott's -- last of the great Chicago department stores --down the street from the house. It used to be attached to Woodmar -- an enclosed mall that died a long, slow death, but a mall none the less. Now it looked like war torn Israel or some place like that; waiting for the strip malls that our esteemed mayor promised 3 to six years ago. Right after he tore down a beloved country club to build residential kryptonite -- a hunter's playground called Cabela's. Yet again I digress.

Carson's had some comforters on sale for like 20 bucks or some ole' mess. We needed four for our sons and she wanted them all to match, which was easier said than done. So we ended settling for one pattern for each set of beds.

The cashier had been on duty since midnight and looked dog tired. Her older peers who looked as if they were the same ones working 40 years ago when I shopped with my mom -- you know, the ones with the chains on their eyeglasses -- were huddled in a circle gossiping; forgetting their sworn duty to provide good customer service no matter what. I say this, because we had to wait several seconds longer than expected.

Three floors. There were about 30 people between the 3 floors. Though if there had still been a mall attached, I'm sure more people would have drifted in. Instead, they were probably at the River Oaks mall about 15 minutes away in Calumet City. A much bigger mall was about 30 to 40 minutes away in Hobart, Indiana. Southlake mall. Which was our next destination.

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Hobart Here We Come

Hobart, sweet Hobart. The home of Southlake mall on one side and a mile long strip mall on the opposite side. Separated by U.S. 30/ Lincoln Highway. The kind of street with 3 or 4 lanes going in both directions. The kind that I wouldn't cross on foot if a wolf and alligator were chasing after me.

First stop, Kohl's. On the mall side, though they are actually a stand alone structure that just happens to be on the grounds of the mall.

Here we were looking for some outfits for the two younger boys and the nephew that I affectionately referred to as "the fifth Beatle". Also, some containers to put my lunch meals in. The kind that -- unlike everyone else seemed to sell -- had tops that locked and prevented spillage. But of course after finding them and paying for them, the wife got in the customer service line to return them. Why? Because the rebate didn't match the product ... Whatever.

I didn't trip out. Because (1) I was used to this type of behavior and (2) I'd found a pizza pan for the 16 inch pies we often bought at the Aldi's grocery store ... Plus, I found a cool collection of Hallmark Channel holiday movies on DVD that were priced at $6.99, but actually were marked down to $3.99; featuring my favorite modern day classic, The Most Wonderful Time of The Year starring my childhood hero, HENRY "The Fonz" WINKLER. So I was as happy as Mary's little lamb.

By the way ... I discovered that the cashiers had been on duty since 8pm. It was now 4:30 am and they were being relieved by the next shift of cashiers ... Next stop, the mall.

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Wall To Wall ... Hanging Out At The Mall

I sent her on her merry little way as I went to my favorite hot spot, Books A Million, which had replaced the late and much beloved, Border's book store. Which was okay, because this new store had a similar feel. Except where the former store was almost like a Jazz club with softer lighting, BAM was fluorescent city. Unfortunately I didn't get anything, because she came back way too soon before I could make a decision. And since she was hot in her buttoned up suede Winter coat and threatened to pass out, I had mercy on her and escorted her to the car. But trust, if I had been by myself, I probably would have spent hours in that store ... And still probably wouldn't have come out with anything.

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Strip Mall #1

Around about 6 or 7am we were across the street. She went to Bed Bath and Beyond to find a better deal on those infamous containers. In the meantime, I went next door to Best Buy just to see if they had anything to feed my tv-shows-on-DVD addiction. Which they did in fact, but nothing that I just had to have. You know?

It must have been closer to 7 when we went over there. Because it was around 8 when we left out of Best Buy and the half empty store began to fill up all of a sudden. But before we could make any sudden moves to do more shopping, "Sister Girl" had to feed her addiction -- some kind of Peppermint concoction only found at Starbucks.

After, we went a few stores down to one of my favorites. A place called Disc Replay. But they were closed, though they were supposed to be open. Someone was probably sleeping on the job, or maybe making out in the supply room or something. So I was feeling some kind of way, because I couldn't satisfy my DVD set jones. A habit that I had been able to feed at least a three years in a row at Big Lots, until they started flipping the script.

The only other store that I wanted to go to in the strip was Office Maxx. After buying a portable hard drived at the top of the year, I'd amassed hundreds of movie files. So after weeding out the ones that I didn't want so much, I decided that I needed about 30 blank DVDs to burn the essentials. Plus I had over 900 music files to weed through and burn as well. So for that, I wanted at least 100 blank CDs to get the party started.

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Strip Mall #2

So we took the long way around. Instead of hopping back on the I-65 and crossing over to 80/94, we took Rt 30 through Merrillville and Schererville to Highland, Indiana. On the way, we dipped into the newer, prettier Big Lots just in case ... But to no avail. Not like last year when one store had none and the other had plenty. So disappointing.

Before copping my blank CDs, we went to another Disc Replay. And remarkably, this location had been open since 8pm and were having one wang dang doodle of a sale.

For the unschooled, Disc Replay is a store that specializes in selling used DVDs, CDs and video games at discount prices. Which meant that a DVD set listed at 40 bucks, could potentially be found here for 20, 10 or less dollars ... In fact, if I had come in on Thanksgiving night, I could have had my choice of titles marked down to $2.99.

Seriously? from 8pm to 11:59 .... Several titles for $2.99 ... I mean, I had what I really came for -- Friday Night Lights Season 1 for $7.99. And there were a selection of movies priced at one dollar ... But I really, really wanted more DVD sets. However ... Wait for it ... Due to some miracle of nature ... The manager extended the $2.99 sale. Which meant that I put down the set I had -- deciding that it could wait for until another visit -- and replaced it with two other series for basically the same price I would have paid for one. Hot stuff, cool beans and of that.

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The Madness I Avoided ...

In Summation Your Honor ...

Black Friday is insane. It is crazy. It can be downright dangerous to your health; hunger g, ames type competition where ignorant fools will literally fight for the last Tickle Me Elmo, Guitar Hero or whatever this year's so called "hot" item is supposed to be. Well, not I, said the blind man.

Here's a tip: The fools are out from 8 to midnight-ish. If you want to see fights, state police, blockades and fireworks ... By all means, have at it. But you might not be around to celebrate Christmas. I'm just sayin' ... However for cooler heads, head out as the majority are heading home ... Say, around 2am or later. Then by 8/9am, the new and improved fools are waking up and heading back to the "front" like a fake M.A.S.H.episode.

Front (military), a geographical area where armies are engaged in conflict

Personally, I was back home by 10:30am. My wife dared to go back out to the nearest Kohl's after finding her beloved coupons. However, she discovered the hard way that the parking lot was 3x fuller than when we'd passed by not even 15 minutes prior. In fact, the cars went from the main parking lot to the Burger King parking lot near the traffic lights. But that's okay, because I was laying on the couch watch reruns of The Big Valley by then.

TruSoulDJ is a self proclaimed expert on all things trivial to the Mainstream. He is an avid classic comic book reader, non popular music lover and tv-show-on-dvd binge watcher who shops the clearance racks near and far to find the best deals. He would like to think he knows everything important within the realm of Pop culture. But in actuality, he only knows about 99.9 percent of what he thinks he knows.

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