Okay, so none of you died. That's good! However one of you got knocked out cold by a lady with a heart of stone and eyes only for discounted cashmere:
We arrived around five am and it was already a madhouse. There were women who were dressed in everything from pajamas to business suits, all clamoring to grab whatever they could. The largest spectacle were two women, one dressed in a floor-length fur coat, the other in a stylish grey suit, engaged in a literal fist-fight over the last cashmere sweater of a certain size.
These women were trading blows like champs, and there were a few people untouched by shopper's frenzy that were staring horrified as these two continued to pound on each other with everything they had. Salespeople were on phones, and a voice from a loudspeaker was frantically calling for some sort of security. I managed to hear someone yelling that the police, who had a small downtown station, were sending over officers.
As the woman in the fur coat took a solid punch, she crashed into some people, including my mom, and knocked most of them to the ground. Seeing my mother fall, I darted out into the open to go help her up. The woman in the grey noticed me and, thinking I must be going to help Fur Coat out, swung at me and connected with a right to my face. I was knocked out for a good couple of minutes and when I came to, I was being attended to by several paramedics, and an officer who was trying to ask me some questions. Apparently, the police had arrived in time to see the woman clock me.
As I was loaded into an ambulance, I could make out the women still struggling to attack each other. They needed two separate police cars to transport them. At the hospital, I was diagnosed with a concussion, complete with a black eye and swollen face. They took several photos of my face and I gave a statement to an officer. The police went on to press charges and I ended up having to go to court to testify. Both women pled and were sentenced to a few days in jail and at least a year's probation.
And from there, it kind of gets worse. There was this fracas over a parking spot:
Then, the Lexus that had *just* pulled in to the Target lot, pulled up next to us. The woman began screaming at us: "Get out! Get out of my spot!" We ignored her at first, then it became, "I saw that spot!" She yelled, "I circled around to get that spot!"
"You just pulled in the lot, I saw you. And we've been circling forever." I replied. She was following us in her car now, still screaming: "It doesn't matter! I saw it first!"
At this point, my mom and I really decided it would be best not to engage her, and she shut up and so I thought that would be that, but we walked another twenty feet and we hear the roaring of a car engine and her SUV comes blasting up really fast past us, and she slams her breaks next to us: "I could run you down! I could kill you both in this parking lot right now!"
My mom looked at her and said, calmly, as we scootched in between some parked cars, "But you would go to jail. Especially since all of these witnesses just heard you." Sure enough, the woman had caught the attention of a number of other pedestrians who were now watching, and we were close enough to the store entrance that the security guard was coming out to see what was wrong: "I could go to jail!" She screamed, "BUT YOU WOULD STILL BE DEAD." And she took off, gunning her engine again.
One of you was in an actual stampede!
Then without warning, something happened and everyone in the back of the line started bum rushing the door, people are shoving each other. Tons of screaming, the guy behind me (who is kind of a big guy), and I get shoved into the doors with him basically on my back. I'm holding desperately onto the women in front of me (sorry 50+ lady!). We actually can't get through the doors because where all jammed together. Somehow one breaks free, and starts running through the store. The rest of us topple in and guy behind me, picks me up, and he and I proceed to run, we had no idea where just away from the front of the store where there is a stampede going on. Target workers are jumping out of the way screaming at people to stop. No one stops. After doing a lap of the store with big guy (my adrenaline was off the charts). We find the packed electronics section, I pushed my way (I'm not proud of this) through little old ladies, middle aged men, and the scared teenage Target employee to wrestle a tv off the shelf (all the while screaming "I'm next!).
She notes, "I now do all my holiday shopping online." There were panic attacks a-plenty, uncontrollable bodily functions, and some of you retail wretches would rather quit than work Black Friday, while others of you stuck it out only to faint on the clock. (I've actually done that.) Speaking of underpaid and overworked teenage employees, would that they all had awesome mums like this:
I was 16 years old and working at Sears on Christmas Eve. The store was supposed to close at 5pm. Yet, there I was an hour later with a long line and customers still milling around as if the store managers hadn't announced a dozen times that we were closed. Meanwhile, my mom who had come to pick me up was out in the car fuming. Somewhere around 6:30pm I see all 5 feet two inches of my mom come stomping down the aisle (how she got past the guard, I still do not know). She bypasses several customers and comes up to the front of my line and tells me to close my register. She then proceeds to tell my coworker (also a teenaged girl) to close her register as well. She stands there has we count out our money and put it into the money bags. Meanwhile, customers in line are fussing and getting very pissed. My mom turns toward them and says. "Damn it, the store is closed. Stop being selfish. If you don't have whatever it is that you're looking for then you're not going to get it now. This is MY child. A child! And I would like to spend Christmas Eve with her."
There were so many stories of early-morning and late-night holiday retail horror. But the one that made me snarf my tea with laughter perhaps more than any other, was this one from Raphaela:
I had lost track of my mother, but spotted her through the crowd. I also got a glimpse of a girl with the cutest haircut I'd ever seen. I was bobbing and weaving through people, and kept getting glimpses of the same girl coming from the opposite direction.
Cute hair, cute smile, she was adorable! Full of cheer, I thought, "When I pass that girl, I'm going to tell her how cute she is. My goodness, she is cute!"
I was framing my compliments when I realized she and I were coming right at each other, and she was moving. My good nature faltered and I slowed down, but did not alter my course. Neither did she.
People were still passing between us at a rate that I couldn't really get a good look at her, but I could see that she seemed to be playing chicken with me. And then my Black Friday Shopping Gene kicked in, and I thought, "All right, missy. You want to play? I'll play!"
I grabbed my purse strap and pretty much hurtled myself forward.
The next thing I knew, I had a horrible pain in my face, and I had bounced back a few feet. I couldn't even begin to guess what that girl had done to me. People were staring and whispering, and traffic had actually come to a standstill around me. Holding my nose, I looked back to see what had happened to the girl, and realized I had rammed myself into a mirrored column.
I had been admiring, and then challenging my own reflection all along.
I had not broken my nose, but I had bruised it, and had a huge red mark on my forehead for two days. My mother still teases me when there are floor to ceiling mirrors around. "Oh, Raphaela, there's that cute girl you tried to mow down!"
Go forth! Shop if you must. And be nice.