Blanchard River Buzz

A blog for rabid sports fans in the Findlay Area. Maintained by Findlay Courier sports writer Jamie Baker. The opinions expressed are my own crazed ramblings and not those of my employer the Findlay Publishing Company and its subsidiaries.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A column on Black Friday

I spent the morning fighting the crowds doing my Christmas shopping. Here's my column that will be running in tomorrow's Courier...

Tomorrow I'll post some girls basketball capsules from NW Ohio I put together...

Black Friday is all about having a plan and then sticking to it.
Shoppers just don’t wake up from their Thanksgiving turkey-induced stupor Friday morning and decide to go shopping on Black Friday.
There‘s planning and preparation involved. For the unprepared and uninitiated, if they are not fully awake and have every single one of their wits about them at 5 a.m., they might as well stay home because they will become the equivalent of shopping roadkill.
Getting those Black Friday deals is serious business to most shoppers, myself included.
But I have to tell you, because I am a man, I have that genetic disposition to hate shopping.
Yes, I’ve stood there in the corner of Bath and Body Works my fair share of times on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon wishing I was at home watching football. As men, being led into stores where we don’t belong or would otherwise avoid, is the price we pay for love.
How many men out there enjoy shopping? Let’s see a show of hands. If you are a man and raised your hand, your wife or girlfriend is probably reading The Courier over your shoulder right now. Or it could be that you’re like me and try and pinch six pennies out of each and every nickel. If you truly do enjoy shopping, and not just on Black Friday, it’s time to turn in your Man Card immediately at the receptionist‘s desk.
But back to preparation.
It all started on Thanksgiving. The first thing a shopper has to do is load up on carbs much like a marathon runner. I didn’t feel one bit guilty about those two heapin’ helpings of dressing I had Thursday because I knew those carbs would help me get though the Black Friday experience.
Then it’s time to check those Christmas lists and pour over all of those inserts that were in Wednesday’s Courier. I made my list for each store I planned to visit. And luckily, the stores I hit Friday morning staggered their openings at 5, 6 and 7 a.m.
I was in bed at 9 p.m. but couldn’t sleep with the challenge and excitement that awaited me. The alarm clock stunned me awake at 2 a.m. and I shook out the cobwebs. After a quick shower, I gulped four cups of coffee knowing I would need every caffeine-induced advantage I could get over the crazed hordes.
A thin glaze of ice on my windshield greeted me as I climbed in my truck at 3:15 a.m. I let the defroster thaw the windshield to save all of my energy.
Then I’m off. I’m shocked at how light traffic is on Findlay’s streets as I head across town in a dense Friday morning fog that seems as thick as my mom’s turkey gravy.
I turn onto Tiffin Avenue not knowing what awaits me. There it is the Tiffin Avenue shopping district — Black Friday’s ground zero. I knew I was there because there were the bright neon signs for Golden Corral, Elder Beerman and Beneficial shined brightly though the fog.
First stop was the Tiffin Avenue Wal-Mart. I head into the store, do a few laps to see where the key merchandise is located and patiently wait with the throng. I didn’t even know what an I-Dog was until my sister-in-law told me Thursday my niece really wanted one. I found the guy guarding a cart full of them wrapped in plastic and I set up my position near the coveted I-Dogs well in advance of the start of the sale at 5 a.m.
As the mayhem got underway, a Wal-Mart employee with a boxcutter cut away the plastic wrap hiding the I-Dogs. One person made a move and sneaks up toward the cart of I-Dogs from the rear I used the tried and true cart maneuver to cut him off, putting my shopping cart between him and the merchandise until I had picked two out of the cart.
I carefully worked my way through a gridlock of carts and a sea of shoppers going every which way. I grabbed some DVDs, a bike for my other niece and a few assorted odds and ends and was out of the store in a record time of 23 minutes.
Then, it’s next door to Menard’s.
By the time I got there the line of humanity waiting to get in at 6 a.m. stretched from the “In” doors all the way across the front of the building to the Garden Center.
Trying to perfect my line-cutting technique I waited until a few minutes before the doors opened and walked right up to the front. It was a risky maneuver and I half expected to get a beat down by some of the ladies near the front of the line that had been waiting there for hours. But they were focused on their own shopping lists and I slipped right in to the store with them.
I’m out the door with more bargains in hand in just 36 minutes.
A quick stop at Walgreens was next. I was amazed at the lightning speed that the gentleman at the front counter was checking out the customers. He told me, he and his co-worker previously worked at Foodtown and had been in the retail business for 40 years.
No Black Friday experience would be complete without a trip to the mall. I dashed into Elder Beerman for one of their Doorbuster Items.
I got in line, just behind, Courier reporter extraordinaire Steve Dillon, paid for the merchanidse and was home by around 8:30 a.m.
I was ready for a nap and content to leave the rest of the bargains behind to the serious shoppers and not a one-day shopping wonder like myself.
Now I have a full 364 days to rest up for next year’s Black Friday Blitzkrieg.


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