Black Friday Or Bust

todayIt’s that time again.

Almost as obnoxious as the primaries, but on a yearly cycle, the biggest shopping day/weekend is only a few days away. I dread it. Yet I can’t wait for it.

I am a late bloomer when it comes to Black Friday. All my life stores were closed on Thanksgiving, and the most important thing of the weekend was what you were going to wear on that day and if there would be enough stuffing for everyone.

Nowdays we are shopping weeks before we even catch sight of a turkey. The whiff of money outblasts any scent of turkey or baked bread.  I’ve seen a dozen ads now for Black Friday on the Monday Before, Pre-Black, Pre-Cyber Post-Black, and so on. Even my own employer is trying their hand at it.

Too much chaos and madness made me stay home all these years. Scenes of people punching each other out on the sales floor for a Cabbage Patch doll or stepping over someone who was unfortunate enough to lose their footing is NOT how I wanted to spend my vacation day. Lines wrapped around buildings and down parking lot aisles and once inside did a double wrap around the store.

Nuts. They were all nuts.

Then one Thanksgiving all the cousins and grandparents and kids pulled out the sale papers after dinner and I took a peek. Oh! I love that movie! How much? $1.99? No! And my mixer — it does make a weird noise every time I use it. What? Here’s one for $7.99? No! Temptation took hold. Suddenly I found myself wanting all sorts of things. Things I needed, things I didn’t need. Things I thought about but not really but there it was more than half price!

Needless to say, the madness couldn’t match my pocketbook, so I wound up putting back half of my cart. Good thing. My drawers had more than enough fuzzy pajama sets and socks and my cabinets didn’t need anymore glasses or blenders or industrial gloves.

I’ve learned a lot since those first couple of shopping considerations. I’ve got friends who won’t come within 30 miles of a shopping center or store that day. I know others who get up at 4 a.m. so they can hit the place when the doors open at 5.  I know people who hate the crowds and some who just laugh at them.

Whichever category you fall into, know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gimmicks to get your money. All the hype makes you believe you need whatever they’re selling — especially with such big discounts. Stores place the most innocuous things along the aisles, hoping you’ll toss a few into your shopping cart as you move along. Ten innocuous things later — surprise at the checkout. You get my drift.

So my advice for this upcoming fiasco is simple. If you go shopping, have fun with it. Take your time. You don’t need to be anywhere at the crack of dawn.  If you’ve been waiting to purchase something big, and you’re in a financial position to do so, go and buy it. Just that one thing. Don’t be tempted by the fantastic deals sitting right next to it.

If you go shopping with no particular deal in mind, limit your impulse budget. Take a second and decide exactly where you will put this new treasure. If you don’t have room don’t buy it. Take a list. If you’re Christmas shopping, stick to the list. Don’t let the buy of the hour distract you.

And if you’d rather stay home, by all means do it. That way you can hit that pumpkin pie you “forgot” to bring out for desert the night before.

Besides — you didn’t need those polka dot jammies anyway.

Magic Shoes

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034

I used to love to go shopping.

An hour or so after work, couple hours on Saturday…check out the shirts, the pants, the shoes. Try on some tops, match them up with a pair of shoes, grab a sack of socks, then move right along to lunch or hanging with the family. Never a big deal.

I am beginning to hate shopping.

I would like to think I’m no more “senior” than the mom with kids next door or the junior executive down the block. But I have never been so frustrated in finding a new pair of “gym” shoes than I have been lately.  Last eve was a case in point.

Went to the mall after work. Stopped into one of the big anchor department stores and headed to the shoe aisle for a new pair of tennies (my dog chewed up the trim on one of my pairs and the other popped a hole in the toe). Not a biggie. I get to the store. There are four aisles of women’s “gym” shoes. I say “gym” in quotes because these days there are no such thing as plain, old gyms. There are walking shoes, running shoes, cross country shoes, all terrain shoes, and volleyball/basketball shoes. There are memory foam shoes, high arch shoes, waterproof shoes, non-sole shoes, and designer shoes.

So, okay. First I had to pick my shoe. Seeing as I didn’t see many marathons in my immediate future, I wandered to the walking shoe, There was an aisle of ASICS, an aisle of Skechers, an aisle of Reebok and Addidas, and an aisle and a half of Nike. There were high tops, tie shoes, slip ons (with or without laces), pink and black ones and aqua and orange ones and all black ones and neon green ones. Some had big wide soles in white and some had cleats that weren’t really cleats but for fashion’s sake looked like cleats and some had toes that turned up like wicked witch shoes. The boxes were beneath the display shoes, and the ones I finally settled on were missing the match (naturally).

Seeing as the plain white tennies were way above my weekly salary, I settled on a mesh-looking lightweight pair of pink and blacks. But to try them on was another story. They were connected with a squiggly, stretchy wire threaded through each shoe lace hole and anchored together by a security tag. And not a paper tag – two of those big, plastic clunkers. The shoe was stuffed with a make-believe shoehorn and an insert liner, and an extra pair of shoelaces were threaded in a different shoelace hole.

Now, you can imagine me trying to try on these magnificent, overpriced, designer tennies. I struggled to get my foot in one, and barely managed to stand straight. I couldn’t test walk in them because the shoes were connected to each other by the squiggly, stretchy wire. I looked for a salesclerk to take the security clip off so I could at least walk down the aisle in the shoes, but no one was in sight. Naturally. (I used to work retail; the clerk was undoubtedly pulled to Women’s or Junior’s to help put away the 30 tops someone tried on and left in the dressing room.)

So here I am, tired, trying so hard not to be a cranky old lady, walking with a bag and a purse and my shoes in my bag because I had store peds on my feet down the main aisle passed the Women’s Today Wear, around the tables of jewelry placed strategically in the middle of the aisle, up to the main cashiers, and asked them if they could please take the security bobs off the shoes so I could at least test drive these overpriced shoes before I bought them.

They looked at me as if I had brought the plague in with me. “Oh, I don’t think we’re allowed to do that.” Like this worn-out, over-worked little granny was going to walk out with their overpriced, eye-bleeding-color shoes.

I suppose store policy is strict in their adhering to their “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Severe Woowoo and Burning in Hell for Eternity” rules. I’m sure lots of overpriced, designer, hurt-your-feet shoes go walking out the door of their own (or rather of a thieve’s) volition. But I bet they at least get to try on the shoes before they put the squiggly stretchy things through both lace holes.

Needless to say, I put the bunny…er, shoes…back in the box, put the box on the top of the stack of mismatched boxes beneath the bright pink and black shoes (which were right next to the aqua and orange ones), took off my little Peds, put my sandals back on, and walked out.

I guess I must be old, for I miss the two-or-three-choices-of-shoes-and-quit-yer-bitchin’-and-pick-a-pair days. There is something to be said for a nation that has too many choices. For restaurants that have seven page menus and ice cream that has 45 flavors and stores that have more choices of shoes than astronomers have stars to chart.

But I don’t have that word at the moment. I’m too busy trying to trim the doggie teeth marks from my last pair of tennies.

March Madness Mamma

printable-march-madness-bracketFriday at noon I’m taking the Women’s March Madness Weekend into my own hands — and into the hands of loved family members. I’m busting out of this basketball-crazed household and going to a world filled with sister-in-laws, goddaughters, daughter-in-laws,and mother-in-laws. We will be pedicuring, manicuring, shopping, wineing, and whining, talking and laughing about anything but “THE” tournament.

Of course, I had to jump into my family’s competitive male circle and fill out the March Madness brackets before I left.

Have you ever seen these diagrams designed by the left hand of God? They look like a spider’s nest.  64 perfect little lines connected 2 at a time, narrowing down to 32 little lines, narrowing down to 16 little bigger lines which break down to 4 decent sized lines which flip into 2 important lines that poke into a big box from either side that will hold the logo of the winning team. You need a magnifier to read the teeny type on the 64 lines, and and patience to finally narrow it down far enough so you can thread the needle into the box.

Plus all these team names make my head spin. I know what Eagles  and Wildcats and Badgers and Cardinals are, but they also have Blue Hens, Billikins, Aggies, Sooners, Tar Heels, Crimsons, and Jaspers. Am I supposed to know what they are? Are they supposed to help my picks?

But I am a team player. I love my boys and cousin boys and all who encourage me to enter these nonsense pick ems games. I wanna be a cool mom, a cool granny. I don’t want to get lost in the nonsense of girlhood where you run around saying “Who’s THAT? What does THIS number mean? I don’t WATCH basketball.”  So the other day I sat down and tried to take the challenge seriously. I didn’t pick by the color of their uniforms or the cuteness of their mascots. I read the competitors side-by-side statistics and even their strengths and weaknesses. No way my family was going to call me a dumb redhead!

At the moment I’m in last place (out of 7). Pink toenails and lunch at an Italian restaurant will do more for my psyche than triple-overtimes.  But just want them to know — if I win, I DO want the trophy. I’ll take a picture of it and post it in a blog. To show you what women can achieve.

Of course, I might put a hat and purse on it first…