Against my better judgement, I attempted Black Friday with my mother in law. We got a later start, about 10 AM. We first hit up the Walmart Supercenter because they had one of those quartz heaters that looks like a fireplace on sale that I have been wanting for my bedroom. To my surprise, the parking lot was not even as full as it is on a typical Sunday. I was fortunate to arrive when I did because despite the absent crowd, I got the last little quartz fireplace.

Everything changed when we headed over to the mall. To go to Macy’s, we had to park at the back of the adjacent furniture store, or walk about a half mile from the very back of the mall parking lot. Most of the things I wanted from Macy’s were gone, and what was left that caught my interest didn’t involve such spectacular deals as to be worth standing in line for at least a half hour, judging by how long the lines were at nearly every checkout. So, we left emptyhanded.

We next headed over to Best Buy that is located in a smaller strip mall on the other side of the main shopping mall where Macy’s is located. The parking lot there was not full. I had no problem finding a decent parking spot, but inside the store was markedly more crowded than usual. The line for the checkout was long. But the length of the line was likely more the result of having removed half of the checkout counters, leaving only two cashiers to work through the hoard of the customers, perhaps an attempt to keep people in the store longer to peruse the shelves that snake around along the path of the checkout line.

We did not stay in Best Buy very long. My mother in law wanted a specific thing from there, and while she was making her selection a rude shopper shoved her which resulted in a shouting match that required my intervention to quell. Fortunately, the altercation occurred at the end of an aisle, and I was able to reach around from the next one over to grab mom by the arm and pull her away. We then made a hasty retreat to the checkout and headed home to have lunch afterward.

After lunch we went to Target. All I wanted from Target was a big bow to put on the birthday present for my husband. I wouldn’t ordinarily mention such a trivial pursuit, but Target should be commended for being staffed and ready to handle crowds. I went in, grabbed the bow, and waited in line for less than 5 minutes. It was more crowded than usual. But not so much so that I couldn’t move, and not nearly as crowded as last year.

I can’t say that my Black Friday antidote matches a national trend of Grinchmas. Though it could match a national trend of online shopping instead to avoid crowds and shouting matches; and I certainly hope that it does. I recall that in 2012, at least Walmart were not expecting the shoppers, judging by the amount of space dedicated to holiday decorations. There was only one aisle dedicated to the holiday back then. This year, there are four aisles inside the store, and nearly the entire indoor area of the garden department is lined with stocking-stuffers and decorations; and they probably know what to expect better than I do.

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