Tales from Black Friday

So I get home yesterday, dead set on relaxing after my ordeal in the hospital… Put a movie on, make a cup of tea… I’m only half watching when the screen goes black. Ok, I’ve seen movies do this, it’s nothing new. Dialogue continues, screen still black. Crap. I restart the TV, unplug and replug, sound is still coming out, backlight is dead.

Before heading up to Best Buy, I check the website to see what sort of options I have. They’ve got a “doorbuster” option, and a non-doorbuster option that are the same size. The non is a few hundred bucks more, but I figure I’ll compare when I get there. Getting to Best Buy really wasn’t a problem. The place was packed but traffic was moving.

When I get in the door, of course I’m presented with the doorbusters, absurdly low priced brand-name TV’s that are the size I’m looking for. There’s another guy in a FedEx uniform looking at it and talking to a friend. I do some quick research, turns out the model number aligns with a ‘black Friday only’ model with very poor reviews.

I share the info with FedEx guy then go track down my set, it’s quite a bit bigger and heavier than I expected, and I’m running out of breath trying to carry it through the store. Did I mention I was in the hospital for several hours due to near syncope? Yeah, probably not a smart move dragging a 60lb TV through the place. but I never claimed to be smart!

In the checkout line, I see an older couple behind me with a few unwieldy items, as we strike up a conversation about the perils of Black Friday I let them rest their purchases on my TV box while we wait. The guy in front picked up a Nintendo Switch for his kids. Overall, everyone’s in good spirits here.

That’s the funny thing – over the years I generally made a point to AVOID going out on Black Friday. My general (well earned) impression is that on Black Friday, normal people turn into raging psychopaths who will curb-stomp someone over a Tickle-me Elmo. In actuality – everyone I ran into was in a good mood, even in absurdly heavy traffic.

I pay for the TV and head out into the parking lot. Protip: Park as far away from everyone else as possible. Protip #2: doing that when you have to carry a 60lb box is a stupid idea. I get about halfway to my truck and run out of breath again. That’s when the friendly older couple save the day. The wife takes the boxes, the husband grabs one side of my TV and helps carry it out to my truck.

Immensely grateful, I joyfully thank them and without even thinking wish them a Merry Christmas. They both break out into huge smiles and say it back to me. As I strap down my new toy into the bed of the truck I can’t help but think of how the joy of interacting with those strangers made up for most of the stress of the day up until that point.

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