last night, i made a terrible mistake: i convinced josh that we should accompany his mom to a doorbuster sale at toys ‘r’ us at midnight, to find a christmas present for his little sister. i just thought it would be a nice thing to do so that his mom didn’t have to endure the madness on her own. my good intentions were repaid with extreme physical discomfort and a good deal of rage. we got there at 12:15am. we got home at 3am.
it took us about a half hour to find the three items we were looking for, solely because the mass amounts of people there made it impossible to maneuver. once we had everything, we entered the line, the end of which began right before the checkout lines and wrapped around the entire perimeter of the store and came back to the checkout lines. we had barely gone fifty feet when we saw that the end of the line had been pushed back even further, so that the people in line next to us who were moving the opposite direction were looping around and up to where we had started. a lady with a cart full of toys tried to go under the rope that separated our line from the checkout because her “friend” was already in line, blocking both lanes in the process. a toys ‘r’ us employee stopped her, and she just stepped in line behind us instead of looping around like she was supposed to; about ten people behind her followed suit until they closed the gap between the two lines, and everything went on as it had before.
we stood in line for two hours. the first hour wasn’t that bad because we were still in decent spirits; we made jokes about the people around us and the dumb slogans on the front of board games, and we pushed buttons to make toys light up and to activate their automated voices. it was when my heels and back and shoulders started cramping up and sleep started making my lids heavy that my good attitude dissipated.
once we had made it into the home stretch and were about one hundred feet from the check out lines, we realized that there was a line of about thirty people that was perpendicular to us, and a toys ‘r’ us employee was letting in one person from that line into our line for every three people in our line. people that were still looking around for toys while we were in line on the other side of the store were let into our line in front of us. that’s when i lost my shit. someone behind us in line yelled at the employee that they had been in line for an hour and gone all the way around the store, and the employee said that he was just trying to do his job and get rid of the line that was perpendicular to us. i, and a group of people around me, jumped in and said that was asinine because our line wasn’t even that long anymore and that it would be that long for them to wait if they went to the end of our line. and when i started to ask the employee how his system was fair or even logical, josh started pulling me back and saying “it’s not worth it, it’s not worth it.” i was so livid. and to make it even worse, we got up to the checkout lanes and realized that our line was only being split between two checkout lanes, and a completely separate third line was being funneled straight into the third lane. it had all gone to hell.
standing in line wasn’t upsetting to me, because we were doing it to get josh’s sister a present that she would love, and that made it worth it. what was so infuriating was how machiavellian the entire scenario was, how the people who did the right thing and followed the rules got screwed by the people who deviated from the system and happily took on mild social chastisement in exchange for their own personal benefit, and really did not care that they were screwing anyone else over. while we were in line, josh and i were talking about how black friday sales would be the perfect setting for sociological observation, and what a disturbing documentary it would make. black friday is aptly named, i think, because it shows the blackest, basest, most vile characteristics of humanity in a neat, ostensibly moral consumerist package. i hate it.