The holiday where you wear a helmet: May the greediest shoppers win


By Jannah Kalai
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Blink and you’ll miss it. It is what separates you from your enemies. It is the full moon to the werewolf, the facts to the politician, the sunlight to the vampire and the Rogaine to the Donald Trump. It is a battle cry to once-sane beings, who just hours before laughed at the dinner table alongside their brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and that one extended family member you only hear from if something is wrong. They were once powerful, independent individuals, and now they answer to the call of the clock whose hands have struck midnight. The battle of Black Friday has begun.

Squatting, behind their 2004 Prius they crouch, their eyes darting back and forth, their hearts beating like a cash register’s hymn. The gravy of the turkey they had just eaten lies in symmetric lines underneath their eyes, like the black war-paint of a football player. Their head flicks, back and forth, back and forth. They carry their Chanel purse in one hand, helmet in the other. Their eyebrows furrowing, knees buckling, feet attempting to find ground in the cement. They sit waiting for a sign of movement: an opponent. A quick flash—a blur of Versace—their enemy has swarmed the Walmart greeter. And one by one, these beings emerge from their lightly used cars, their Rolex strapped, Calvin Klein’s buttoned and Jordan’s laced.

It is never the case of remembering if you already have a couch, it’s remembering that your second-grade teacher would remind you with a tight smile, “Two is better than one.” And remembering what you bought last year, you pause and shake your head because maybe that teacher was confused. Three is definitely better than two. Staking your claim, you grab the paper that says, “50% Off Furniture” and hold it above your head like a baby lion on Pride Rock.

Moving forward, you jump five feet high in happiness at the sign of glass and the Microsoft logo—you’ve reached the technology. To buy your third computer or to not buy your third computer, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous sales or to take arms against a sea of the sweaty upper-class. You let doubt sit in your head for a mere .032 seconds and then pick up a third and fourth marked-down computer. The more the merrier; if that theory works for Hugh Hefner when adding blondes to his mansion and M. Night Shyamalan when making more movies after “The Sixth Sense”, then it will definitely work for you; just look at how great their additions turned out.

At the peak of dawn, you emerge from your hovel inside the racks of cashmere sweaters. You see the skid marks of the mighty transportation-shopping-cart-steeds, and a VCR copy of “Spy Kids,” which was discarded for a marked-down 30 percent off DVD copy of “The Last Airbender.” Leaving the store and pulling up into your driveway, you unload your war prizes and walk into your fully-furnished and well-equipped home and place that fourth computer next to the third, which is next to the second, placed right beside the first. And at the end of it all, you don’t really have time to think of those who chose to enjoy their Thanksgiving feast and fall asleep. Because you, oh mighty one, are on your way to the bank. To take out a second mortgage, and prepare for the battle of the Christmas markdown.

"The Housewife Chronicles" by Mary Conner
“The Housewife Chronicles” by Mary Conner