November 28, 1994
The day after Thanksgiving should be set aside for rest and recuperation after all that feasting on turkey and the trimmings. But instead, it is traditionally the biggest single shopping day of the year, the one when people tend to become slightly aggressive and a bit edgy as they join the throngs at shops and malls throughout the U.S. When I read in this paper that our local Wal-Mart store was planning a five-hour door-buster kickoff of its own last Friday morning, starting at 6 a.m., I had serious doubts that it would stir up much interest. Maybe such promotions work in the big cities; not very likely here. Or so I thought.
Then I noticed that one of the advertised specials for that five-hour kickoff was an item that we were already planning to buy, and they listed it with such an attractive discount that I felt I had to buy one during that early-morning extravaganza even if it meant an early reveille. A trip to the store a day before the sale confirmed that they did indeed have the product I wanted -a shelf full of them, in fact. So many that it seemed totally unnecessary to be there for the early opening.
A decision had to be made, though: Should I be there for the door-opener at 6 a.m., or wait for a more decent time of day, like 8 or 9 a.m.? I finally decided to go out before daylight to be there at the opening, just to see if I weren't the only one that foolish. Well, to shorten this up, I arrived at 6:05 a.m. and headed straight for the department where my prize was waiting. I was mildly surprised to see how many other eager shoppers also were up at that unseemly hour. Then I passed a gentleman pushing a shopping cart full of the very thing I was there to buy.
We exchanged salutations and I told him I was there to buy one of those same gadgets, laughingly adding, "I hope you didn't get the last of them." He smiled but said yes, he thought he had done just that. He's kidding, I thought. At the same time, a mild sense of panic began to surge as I realized just how many of us early-risers were on the premises. Every aisle, in fact, was doing a very brisk business.
Onward then to the display shelf. There, to my disbelieving eyes, was a gaping hole where only a day before had appeared what seemed to be a most abundant supply. They were wiped out of the item I had so confidently expected to be there. What a revolting development!
The sales associate kindly offered a rain check, redeemable in less than a week, but she could sense what I was experiencing: acute distress. Suddenly, a solution. The floor display model was still there and was available for immediate pickup if I so desired. Going away empty-handed after rolling out of bed at that hour of the morning didn't appeal to me, so, yes, I took the display model home. There it now awaits only the arrival of an installer. He has promised to come after breakfast tomorrow morning, by which time I should be well caught up on sleep again.
Moral to this story? Let's just say that he who languishes, anguishes.