Black Friday? It's all in your perspective

Friday, November 25, 2011

Let's just say we have quite the convoluted holiday schedule in our house.

The Thursday feast that is Thanksgiving is always Saturday in our home. And honestly, we're thankful for that.

There's no rush to stuff a turkey Wednesday night and awaken to baste it in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday. No clamor to gulp down giblets and suck down succotash Thursday afternoon so everyone can run and camp out in front of Best Buy Thursday night.

Nope. Our Thanksgiving Day is about as uneventful as the second Saturday at the Putnam County Fair.

We worry only about feeding ourselves and the dog. We can nap before lunch (and after) if we wish, without waiting for any tryptophan-induced coma or mind-numbing middling football game.

Normally we try to sneak in a movie. But this year, unless you are captivated by werewolves and vampires or mesmerized by Muppets or morons, there is absolutely nothing worth plunking down $15 a couple at the box office to see.

So instead we decided to run a couple errands. Pick up a few odds and ends for the feast that will Occupy Our Kitchen this weekend.

Having a job that requires me to work the day after Thanksgiving, I thus far have managed to steer clear of all the hubbub over deeply discounted electronics and sales on stuff we'd never buy to begin with.

So the whole Black Friday thing escapes me.

And now in a dizzying array of commercials that even includes Kohl's capitalizing on that ubiquitous Rebecca Black "Friday, Friday, Friday" (Rebecca Black Friday, get it?) video, the big box stores have thrown our already convoluted holiday schedule into chaos.

I mean, we bought light bulbs on sale at Dollar General ... on Thanksgiving morning ... Sylvania 100-watts are on everyone's Christmas list, aren't they? Later we descended upon CVS and latched onto Listerine strips, Pepto-Bismol, AA batteries and Breathe Right Nasal Strips -- all for free with CVS bucks coming back to us. Who wouldn't want to find those in their Christmas stocking?

At Walmart we battled the crazies in the wine aisle. Scoured the store for a browning bag and got stuck behind some guy whose debit card wouldn't work in the checkout line.

After lunch, we ventured over to Kroger, needing broccoli cuts for the casserole, limeade for the margarita mix and salt for the water softener. We managed to beat the store closing at 3 p.m. but promptly drove off without picking up the softener salt. (That was partly due to air escaping from my right rear tire and a necessary pitstop for 75 cents worth of air to re-inflate it.)

Returning to Kroger to find the store closed, I dreaded loading up a 40-pound bag of salt from under the overhang and driving off. Last thing I need on Thanksgiving is to be surrounded by a SWAT team ordering me to lay off the salt and toss it out over my left shoulder for good luck.

Thankfully, with Kroger employees heading to their cars to finally share in their own Thanksgivings, my misgivings dissolved as I managed to spot Melissa, the kind cashier who had helped me on an earlier quest inside the store.

I presented my receipt, ink still wet (thanks to the melting frozen broccoli), and she indeed saw I had paid for salt pellets.

Relieved, I explained I certainly didn't want to be caught on tape running off with a $5.99 bag of salt.

"That wouldn't look good in the Banner Graphic," she assured.

No ... no, it wouldn't.

And that truly would be a Black Friday ...