Black Friday Shopping: AKA Gladiator Games

A yearly event for only the most cunning and physically fit is about to commence. Do you have what it takes? 

I’ve decided since we are only days away from Thanksgiving, I’d write about one of the scariest events of the year, at least for me. I suggest only the fittest, the most aggressive, and battle-hardened attempt the foray known as Black Friday – or more specifically those early bird specials that many retailers promote.

I have to be honest, I haven’t ventured into a store on Black Friday in eons, perhaps not eons, but not since my son wrote letters to Santa asking for the season’s hottest toy. The last time I went, I stood in a long line before daybreak, which wove around the front of the store. Since I live in the Northeast, the early morning temperatures were bitter. Most of the other fools customers were bundled up, sipping super-sized cups of coffee to ward off the cold and stay awake.

Once the store managers opened the doors, it was as if I’d stepped into the streets of Pamplona, and I was a participant in the Running of the Bulls. Then it hit me! These people where souped-up on caffeine from the gallons of coffee they’d consumed. Suddenly, the camaraderie we had forged in line was forgotten, and it was clearly every person for themselves.

I can remember running down the aisle toward my intended target, a coveted Game Boy system, accompanied by a mob of wild-eyed customers who looked not only like they’d taken their caffeine intravenously, but had also gone through combat training. They were practically clawing at each other. Once we hit the toy department customers scattered to the left and right, but the majority of us appeared to be after the same prized hand held gaming system.

My toes were trampled, my body shoved, and somehow I ended up at the back of the crowd. I watched as each person in front of me grabbed a Game Boy. With slumped shoulders, I stared at the empty slot. But it seemed, at least for a moment, that God had smiled down at me for suddenly I noticed one last Game Boy in the wrong place. I stealthily moved toward it, and just as I outstretched my hand a woman plucked the item off the shelf. She turned to me with a smug smile. It was like adding insult to injury.

In all honesty, there had been a crazed moment when I’d contemplated grabbing it from her and running, but instead I just stared like a beached fish, my mouth soundlessly moving. I was clearly out of my league. I didn’t have the balls for this, figuratively speaking that is.

So, how many of you will take the plunge this Black Friday? Any stories you care to share?

I know I won’t be joining the throngs this year. I’ll be shopping on Cyber Monday, where my pride and my toes will stay intact.



  1. WELCOME TO THE GANG, RENEE!! So happy to have you onboard as one of the chicks!

    The running of the bulls – LMAO!! That’s such an apt description! I’m with you, Renee, I’ll be sitting happily at home on the computer doing my shopping. Although that can be tricky too as store websites get overwhelmed…Still way better, though…

    …Unless my sister in law gets a wild hair and drags me along like she did 2 years ago *

  2. Hey1

    No way, no how! Never EVER did it nor plan on doing it. The crowds are viscous!

    • Ah, smart move! I saw on the news that people have already started to line up in front of some stores. It looks like the crowds might be even larger this year. Yikes!

  3. Hey Renee! Great post. We don’t have Black Friday here in Canada, but we do have insane line-ups at the border to get down there! Never been brave enough to attempt THOSE… But, I have a sneaking suspicion that when my kids are old enough to *Mommy, I really want this*, I might have to! 🙂

    • It’s bad enough traveling to the local stores and battling those crowds. I can’t imagine crossing the border to shop Black Friday. Here’s hoping your kids never put one of those Holiday Must Have toys on their lists.

  4. I’m one of those people who doesn’t get Black Friday. When I was a kid, it didn’t seem to exist–or if it did, my family blithely ignored its existence. And now I live in Canada where the stores start encouraging Christmas shopping the second Halloween is over. A consequence of having Thanksgiving in October, I suppose. I can think of a TON of things I’d rather do than line up at midnight and freeze my butt off.

    I’m also wondering, with the amount of coffee consumed, if that stampede wasn’t for the restrooms…

    • Hi Ashlyn! I actually don’t remember it either when I was a kid. But I know it’s been going strong for the last few decades. The stores are just as bad where I live – Halloween goes down and Christmas goes up in the blink of an eye. Yes, I’m sure the bathrooms had a huge line. LOL

  5. The closest thing to black Friday we have here in Canada is Boxing Day. The line ups and just downright evilness of people are NOT worth the reduced prices seeing as their not really different than any other sales they have during the year lol

    • Definitely not worth it if the prices aren’t any better. It’s strange how these sales bring out the worst in people. My husband once waited all night in line just to have a woman cut in front of him. She got the item. He didn’t.

      • OMG, that sucks! Yeah, I think it does bring out the worst in people. The one time I went out a lady waiting behind me asked me if I expected to get bruised up as people trampled over me. Honestly. Give me a friggin’ break!

  6. I stay far away from stores/shopping the entire four day weekend.

    • Hi Angela,
      Thanks for stopping by. I’m with you. Though I will admit that the 50″ TV I saw for $288.00 looked really tempting until I read the small print – 5 per store. That’s going to be a feeding frenzy that I’ll stay clear of.

  7. marsharwest says:

    We used to take my husband’s aunt shopping on Black Friday, though it really wasn’t called that much back then. It was hectic and she got all her shopping done that day. We never go now. There are some dangerous things we have to do in this world–driving on freeways comes to mind–but where I live the same sales have been going on for a week and will continue after Friday. Why go? Not to mention that I love Fall and Thanksgiving. I did not appreciate seeing Christmas decroations up in the malls before we’d celebrated Halloween. And please keep the carols off the airways until at least the day after Thanksgiving. A radio station started them a week and a half ago. I switched channels. Not that I don’t love Christmas music. I just don’t want to hear it until Dec. 1. Okay, I know that was off topic.
    Even though none of us posting on this blog is hitting the stores on Friday. Apparently, enough folks are to keep the stores running this craziness. Stay home. Stay safe. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • I think over the years it has just gotten even more crazy. These hardcore shoppers are in a league all their own. I had to laugh when I read your comment about Christmas Music. My husband put the radio on yesterday, and, yep that’s what was on. Thanks for stopping by and have a great Thanksgiving!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Marsha, Im with you honey…the whole concept of Christmas has been lost over the years! Gluttony!! It REALLY bothers me. Instead of ‘gifting’ a loved one with something from the heart…we kill ourselves trying to buy them something they want at the moment. – itll most likely be in next years yard sale…

  8. “Black Friday” is best spent in front of a computer screen while logged into — if they don’t have it, you don’t need it.

  9. Josie Matthews says:

    Hi Renee!!!! Im so excited you are with us! As Yoda would say ‘Gladiator Not Am I’! I LOATH Black Friday and everything it stands for…Commercialism of a sacred holiday. What happened to the true meaning of gifting? When I buy a gift, I want it to be from the heart…something that says ‘wow…I saw this and all I could think of was you!’ Let’s sit down to a meal on Thursday…give thanks for all we have…then rush out and buy more shit NONE of us need! I Always shop locally for my family anymore. I’m refusing the big name stores and their evil little ploys to lure me into their web of commercialism. We have so many awesome homegrown shops were I live…some of the best in the country…It makes me feel good to buy a beautiful, one of a kind gift and help support the little guy.
    Love you! J

    • Hi Josie! What no waiting in line before the crack of dawn dressed in three layers of clothes? LOL. I saw on the news this morning that one of the women camped out in front of Best Buy with her pop-up tent always takes off from work the week before Thanksgiving just so she can sleep in front of the store. What a way to spend your vacation. She doesn’t even eat Thanksgiving with her family. She says they bring food to her. Maybe she just has an aversion to cooking and it’s the only way she can get out of it. It just seems bizarre. Glad to see you support your local stores. They are becoming few and far between with those big box stores taking over.

  10. I am one small business person. I try to shop locally or in small shops because small stores sell the soup mixes I make. I appreciate every customer who orders online or in a store that buys from me.

    • Hi Ana! Thanks for stopping by. Now that’s a great gift idea, making a basket with homemade soup mixes to help keep you warm during the winter. Sounds a lot better than most of what you can get in the cookie cutter stores.

  11. If you’re shopping at Kohls, please be kind my daughter is working a ten hour shift.
    My best story was shopping at Target. Never again. I don’t like crowds period, but when they opened the door the crowd swarmed forward. I had to run with them or get crushed. They poured into the store running at full speed. I am grateful for my track training because I actually hurtled an electronics counter to prevent getting stomped.

    I did get the digital camera came for, I also went home with five cd changer I didn’t come for, but someone passed it to me in the chaos.

    I used to go to this wildlife preserve that has lions, zebras, giraffes that you can actually interact with. I felt safer there.

    • Hi Morgan! I think my local Kohls is opening at midnight Friday morning. When I worked in a department store, we never opened at midnight and never on Thanksgiving. But it seems Holidays for retail employees are becoming a thing of the past, and Black Friday shopping starts earlier and earlier each year. Love the comment about the wildlife preserve! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Great post, Renee Ann! Black Friday Shopping is a full contact body sport and after seeing the footage yesterday, I *never* want to play! *shudder*

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