Breakdown of a Black Friday

There are two ways to live a Black Friday: as a continuation of Thanksgiving or as the day after Thanksgiving. This year, I went the first route.

Thanksgiving, 11:03 PM

My brother, William, asks if I want to go out shopping… beginning at midnight. Evidently, Old Navy opens then. I don’t ever shop there, but, “Ah, okay.”

Thanksgiving, 11:51 PM

I’m still writing the Thanksgiving post for the day, trying to pump it out before midnight. Looks like we’re going to be late to the midnight opening. Sorry, William.

Black Friday, 12:06 AM

Ted’s coming too. Oh, and we’re meeting some friends at 6:15 AM to wait in line for Half Price Books. I’m pretty sure we’re not getting any sleep tonight.

Black Friday, 12:18 AM

Stopping at Thortons Gas Stations for gas and coffees. Heck, if we’re going to be out, we might as well get warm and buzzed, 24 oz. style.

Black Friday, 12:31 AM

We arrive at Old Navy. No other stores in the strip mall are open, just Old Navy. Still, the entire parking lot is packed on that side. Okay, let’s do this.

Black Friday, 12:46 AM

After trying on a few jackets (and realizing they’re still too expensive), we decide to leave. The line is headed straight for the back of the store, so even if we wanted to pick something up, it probably wouldn’t be worth the wait unless we were getting a great deal.

Black Friday, 1:03 AM

Wal-Mart seemed pretty inviting. It had an even bigger parking lot, and it was even fuller. Of course, we didn’t know that when we left Old Navy. We look around anyway (what else are we supposed to do at 1:00 AM?). William tries on some UofL Chucks. Pretty snappy if you ask me, but he didn’t.

Black Friday, 1:30 AM

We’re headed across town (sorta) to the Kohl’s by Mall St. Matthews. I tell Ted and William that we’re going to tell our kids about these all night Black Fridays.

Black Friday, 1:41 AM

There’s a long line already forming at Kohl’s for the opening at 3:00 AM. Obviously, these guys don’t understand the art of cutting in line…

Black Friday, 2:34 AM

Ted, William, and I stay in the car to stay warm listening to Christmas music, Maroon 5, and ourselves talk.

Black Friday, 3:02 AM

We notice the line is moving. Time to join it.

Black Friday, 3:07 AM

Everyone from the parking lot is just cutting in front of the huge line to get in. The line’s not happy. No one else cares. Well, except for Ted, William, and I. We wait a respectable amount of time, like three or four minutes, and then follow the herd.

Black Friday, 3:34 AM

After looking through some more jackets (always one of my favorite things to look at) and some pants and shirts, I head all the way upstairs to use the restroom. Lots of people on those escalators. Lots of people everywhere, really.

Black Friday, 3:46 AM

I run into a friend from church on my way back from the restrooms. He and his family were supposed to go to the Mall of America or something, but one of them got sick. They settled for Kohl’s instead. As I’m talking to them, I realize that people think it’s Friday now. It still feels like Thanksgiving to me. Maybe I’m just a really thankful guy. 🙂

Black Friday, 4:07 AM

As we drove to J. C. Penny’s, we hoped it was opened, but we really didn’t know. Come to find out, it was and had been since 3:00 also. Cool, we even got a free snow globe just for showing up. Ted noticed someone behind us just grabbed the globe and then left. Seriously, it wasn’t that nice of a snow globe.

Black Friday, 4:44 AM

William buys a leather jacket. He didn’t save that much money, but then again, that’s not why we do this. It’s a nice jacket. The mall, which is attached to Penny’s, is open but only like two of the stores are. We decide to walk it anyway.

Black Friday, 5:12 AM

We see Vernell, a long time friend from our first neighborhood in Louisville, where Grandma Jones lives now. We haven’t seen him in months. He says he’s here to shop at Champs, but it’s not even open yet. Ha, we could never get him up early back in the day, so we’re pretty surprised to see him out. Then again, none of us are exactly morning people either. Later, William says that Vernell didn’t seem as tall as he remembered.

Black Friday, 5:18 AM

We make the decision to drive over to the other Wal-Mart near our final, Half Price Books destination.

Black Friday, 5:41 AM

Ted and William use the restroom at Wal-Mart – that coffee! I end up buying a few things since the do-it-yourself line isn’t too long.

Black Friday, 5:55 AM

We arrive at Half Price Books. Three people are standing in line already. Nerds, we just grab a front parking spot and stay warm.

Black Friday, 6:15 AM

The line is already up to around 40+ people. If you’re part of the first 100 in line, you get a free $5 gift card and the chance to win a $100 gift card. Most people, though, are in line just because they like the store. We decide to go into the Game Stop next door. We figure we can hang out in the warmth and when the line stretches past the front of the Game Stop door, we’ll know to get in the line.

Black Friday, 6:24 AM

The line’s reached the door. We jump in it. We’re probably at the 55-65 mark in the line.

Black Friday, 6:28 AM

Ted calls our friends who still haven’t shown up. We told them sometime between 6:15 and 6:30. No one answers. We try texting.

Black Friday, 6:32 AM

We start an off and on conversation with two guys behind us. One cracks a “That’s what she said” joke about two minutes into talking with them. Oh, those kind of guys. 🙂

Black Friday, 6:42 AM

One of them asks what time it is. I say, “6:42.” Who wears a watch anymore, especially if you’re under 25? Anyway, we were hoping more time had passed. It’s freezing.

Black Friday, 6:49 AM

We’re talking about lame comedies now, the type that always end up in the used-DVD’s-for-sale bin. Adam Sandler comes up more than once.

Black Friday, 7:01 AM

The line is moving, but we’re still not in. I don’t think our friends are going to make it. At the door, I get a bag with my gift card. Only $5. Same for my brothers. Wow, after all the times we’ve done this, you’d think the odds would be in our favor now. 🙂

Black Friday, 7:11 AM

I find two books I’m going to get: Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer and Writing About Your Life by William Zinsser. My brothers don’t buy anything.

Black Friday, 7:14 AM

I decide to drive out of the parking lot a different way than I usually do. My brothers and I hear and feel me hit the curb as I pull around another car.

Black Friday, 7:18 AM

Hmm… the car’s not driving so well. I feel a bumpiness in the steering wheel. Not good. I hope I didn’t pop el tire.

Black Friday, 7:27 AM

We’re back. Parked, I jacked up the rear end of the car, hoping the tire isn’t popped. If it is, though, I don’t want the wheel to tear up the tire when it goes flat.

Black Friday, 7:31 AM

Food, a glass of microwaved tea, and I’m sinking into the couch to read… actually, I fall asleep within ten minutes.


I slept for four hours – our friends, who missed Half Price, slept the whole night. The tire was fine. I enjoyed Your Life As Story more than Writing About Your Life.

That’s pretty much how Black Friday works out. For me, it’s more about the experience and the company than the deals and the stores.