Friday, January 27, 2012

Blind Black Friday

Black Friday can be a treacherous shopping day no matter who you are. Its main objective... get everything on your list at rock bottom prices and of course survive the crazy at all cost. People rush, trample, scream, fight and generally forget all the manners and good grace they were ever taught during their entire lifetime.

So, do you have a mental image in your head yet? Perhaps a memory floating through your mind? Do you ever recall after the shopping day was finally done saying to yourself, “I’m never doing that again”? If you said yes to any of these then great! We are on the same page.

I tell myself every year I’m never ever under any circumstance going to do that again. Then, the following year roles around much too quickly and I find myself waiting in the long lines like everyone else. I know ridiculous but unfortunately they had me at “savings”.

Still have that mental nightmare in your head? Well now I’d like you to attempt to imagine the experience all over again but as a blind person. Ha Ha, got a headache yet?

Of course I should start off by saying I’ve never done Black Friday by myself. I honestly don’t think that prospect would ever occur to me. The night before, I gather my list and wait for my ride (who ever it may be that year) and sike myself up for the coming day’s events. I am going to share with you to help you discover the monumentous horrors… oops I meant joys of my Black Friday experiences.

Most of the time as I’ve mentioned in a prior post, people tend to give me a wide birth. I can’t explain it I think they think blindness is contagious. Sometimes I like to purposefully cough in their direction for good measure. Is that rude? Anyway as I was saying. If I start out at a store where you have to wait outside in a “line” it sucks just like for everyone else. It’s of course always freezing outside and the “line” tends to do a wrap around the entire store half the parking lot and a million blocks later you find the end where I tend to get the pleasure of standing. You know how some people camp out in line so they can be the lucky winner of a scarf for getting there first? Well, I’ve never been that person. I’ll just buy my own scarf thank you very much. Although, one year at Target I got to move to the front of the line because they didn’t want me to get trampled. Sure I can take care of myself but it was sure considerate of them to think of me (sarcasm). Personally, I think they just didn’t want the bad publicity in the paper. The headline would read: Blind Girl Smashed At Black Friday.

When stores allow you to be in the store from the beginning that is also interesting. When my companion for the day tries to walk down and aisle they sometimes leave me with the cart at the end so they can move through quicker. Sounds fine right? You would think so but nope. That’s always about the time someone else wants something from a shelf that I am of course blocking. They for whatever reason say nothing. They just stand there expecting me to use the force and know they are there. Sure I feel them staring but that’s a regular occurrence for me so it doesn’t normally occur to me someone might need to get by me until it’s much too late. Oh and besides, what am I supposed to do every time I feel eyes on me be like, “hello? I feel the eyes on me… am I in the way?” Um… probably not.

Another problem that tens to happen is when I’m rushing through the store by sighted guide I sort of get run in to a whole lot of people, shelves, displays, signs and the list goes on and on. In all fairness it’s not their fault. They are in a hurry. They want to get in and get out as quick and painless as possible. It just so happens that in the process of this my lack of pain tolerance is forgotten. I’ve never gotten seriously injured so really it can be categorized under “no blood, no foul”. When I run into a person there is usually one of two reactions. First, they and or I say excuse me and we then go about our business. Second and much more common the other person gets some what annoyed. The worst part is sometimes they stay annoyed even when they find out I can’t see them. Apparently those people are related to the staring people and think I have the Jedi mind tricks and extra human abilities.

While all this is going on my heart is racing and not with anticipation. I’m personally not a huge fan of shoulder to shoulder traffic where I can smell ten different kinds of bad breath and body odor at one time in the artificially confined space. It’s very overwhelming for me to have a million different people and conversations happening around me all at once and they become jumbled into one giant loud humming noise. On Black Friday there is definitely no avoiding the crowds. The things I do for my baby girls… hopefully some day they will appreciate my self sacrifice.

Once we have all our items and go to stand in line I’m totally relieved and over the stress (at least a little) because the excitement of getting my girls things they wanted for Christmas is powerful for me. I don’t have the money to go spending crazy on them all year so Christmas is my one big hoopla for the year.

The worst part of standing in the line is when my companion gets distracted in conversation or by browsing the impulse items that the store’s strategically place through out the line. I’ve actually had someone run into my back with their cart to get the point across that the line was moving. Boy do they usually feel bad once they fine out they just tried to run down a blind girl. Hahahaha! Some people seriously need to learn manners. Under what circumstance is it ever okay to just randomly ram your cart into someone? Haven’t they ever heard of saying “excuse me”?

The last part of the line is the check out. A person should be home free at this point right? Nope, of course not. Inevitably in my effort to hurry and get the heck out of there I punch in the wrong pin number for my debit card. Which as you probably know means you have to have the checker reset so you can rerun your card. This always embarrasses the crap out of me. It always makes me think that the people in line behind me assume I have no money and they’re about to watch me have to put all my stuff back. Not to mention they tend to get a little huffy when the line is held up. I can’t blame them though I’m not a very patient line waiter either.

As much of a hassle as Black Friday can be I do think it’s kind of fun. Obviously, why else would I keep coming back? I just wish the dropped prices wouldn’t bring out the animalistic blood lust in people. No item, no matter how cheap, is worth the loss of ones humanity.

PS… Do you have any horror stories from deep in the trenches of Black Friday? Share them down in the comment section.

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