It was Thanksgiving Day and we had just finished dinner at Aunt Turilla’s house. As we helped to clean the kitchen and put away leftover food, Aunt Turilla said, “Gee, I need someone to fix my divan.”
“What hardware do you need for it?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I think I just need a screw and a nut.”
I looked at the settee and said, “You’re right. I’ll run to the store and get what you need. Substance Mart should be open.”
I wanted to get out of the house anyway, as too much family time exhausts me.
When I got to Substance Mart, I was surprised at the traffic jam. Silly me, I thought. I didn’t realize Black Friday has already begun.
I had to park by the elementary school down the road because of the crowd in the Substance Mart lot.
I walked for 20 minutes in the cold rain to the store.
Inside I was directed by police tape and laser guns toward the end of a giant line of people at the rear of the store.
“But,” I said to the cop who was sending me to the back of the line, “I haven’t even found my products yet.”
“There’s another line you have to go through after this line. The other line leads to the line where you can finally pick up your product and/or products. We do this to avoid a repeat of last year when 19 people kicked me.”
“I just want a screw and a butterfly toggle thing.”
But the cop was already walking away. “Move along,” he called to customers. “Nothing to see here.”
I debated. Should I wait here and then stand in two more lines just to get a flathead? I don’t need a 360-degree TV. My Good Samaritan quest is unrelated to holiday greed. I just want to fix some furniture so my aunt doesn’t fall on her fanny!
The lady with the Rainbow Brite coupon behind me said that the cash registers didn’t even open for another 2 hours.
I kept debating. The line was moving, albeit slowly. Because of indecision and inertia, I continued waiting, following the crowd along the taped arrows and footprints on the store floor.
By the end of the night, I was completely caught up in Black Friday hype and frenzy. I called Aunt Turilla’s house.
“You’ve got to come to Substance Mart right away! They’re giving away bunny socks and Star Wars can-openers! Bring me a slice of pumpkin pie and a sleeping bag. Tomorrow they’re selling kaleidoscopic scuba masks!”