Friday, November 28, 2008

The Wal-Mart Experience

I can't believe that I am actually alive to blog about my experience this morning. Wal-Mart's Black Friday sale began at 5 o'clock this morning. I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m., determined to get out the door by 4:00 a.m. I left a little late and pulled in the Wal-Mart parking lot by 4:30 a.m. There was hardly a space to be found. I managed to find a parking spot about 200 yards from the entrance and pulled in, amazed that so many people were already parked.

Before I even got out of my car, I saw people running through the parking lot. That's right...running. I picked up my pace a little and stepped through the front door. No shopping carts. I asked an employee, and she directed me to the other entrance where they had a few carts left. I picked up my pace a little faster, determined to get a cart so I didn't have to manually carry a 6.5 ft. Christmas tree around the store. Another employee directed me to a dark alcove where I heard the familiar sounds of shopping carts being banged around. A frantic woman whipped her cart out of the alcove and almost ran me down, but I jumped out of the way. I managed to find one in the darkness and began my quest down the aisles.

The particular Wal-Mart that I frequent is open 24 hours, but the sale didn't start until 5 a.m. So, there were mountains of merchandise stacked up in the aisles with tarps covering them. A Wal-Mart employee was stationed by each huge tarp. The tarps had signs on them that described the treasures that were hiding beneath. Soccer moms were camped out next to the tarps, eagerly anticipating the moment when the merchandise would be revealed.

I made my way to the Christmas decor area to stake my claim on the advertised Christmas tree that I wanted. To my surprise, I found that this item wasn't important enough to be covered by a tarp, so me and about 50 other women began to load the huge box in our carts. This changed my game plan. Since I didn't have to wait until 5 a.m. to put it in my cart, I got to move to the second most important item I wanted this morning: Disney pajamas for $4.

I managed to make my way around all the soccer moms camping out by the tarps to the kid's clothing area. Once there, I discovered that the Disney pajamas were in a special aisle at the front of the store covered by tarps. By this point, the time was nearing 5 a.m., so it was almost impossible to get up to the front of the store. I got stuck by the DVDs with no way out. (While there, I found a new Barbie movie for just $4). However, I could see the pajamas about 20 feet in front of me. About 100 women with carts were completely surrounding the pajama area. I watched helplessly with visions of all the size 4T's being snached up before I could get there.

Suddenly, I heard an announcer say the it was 5 o'clock! Christmas music started blaring. A sound that I would equate to the Red Sea parting reverberated through the building as dozens of huge tarps were ripped off. The only way I can describe the sight that I beheld is to call it a feeding frenzy....I immediately thought of stories I have heard of Pirahnas in the Amazon.

I watched in amazement for a couple of minutes, still unable to move from my spot by the DVDs. Suddenly, I saw my chance. I slowly crept towards the stockpile. When I managed to get close enough to grab a few, I noticed two men who were trapped right next to the display. One of them was laughing hysterically, and the other man looked like he was about to throw up. I could see the panic in his eyes, especially when he started muttering, "I can't get out...I can't get out....I can't get out." He started getting louder and louder, so I decided to try to help him. I used my cart (with the huge Christmas tree box sticking out) to block the flow of people so he could try to find a way. He managed to get out, and I gleefully took his spot by the merchandise.

I spent about an hour in the store, and was pleasantly surprised to see that checkout was fairly quick. Most of the lanes were open, and I only waited for about 10 minutes.

I'm not going to describe the great deals I bought because certain gift recipients are sure to read this post. However, the things I purchased were at amazing prices.

And, yes, it was worth it!


Mimi said...

Well, you are brave to have gone it alone. Audra & I paired up for moral support and hit the Tanger Outlet at 1 a.m.! We had visions of fairly busy stores. WE HAD NO IDEA there were that many thousands of crazy people out at 1 a.m.! The traffic was backed up on I-10 for 1/2 mile for the exit! As we came over the hill I saw the whole parking area--not one spot left and every closed business everywhere around had full parking lots! We ended up at a Popeye's behind Tanger's with the last parking spot probably within a 1/2 mile! There are no words to describe the 1000's of people! But we're with you--we decided this needed to be an annual event!

Joanna said...

Hey I hopped over from BooMama's to see a fellow Joanna.

You are brave! Glad you got what you wanted and wasn't run over by crazed people.