November 24, 2006

Lunatic Shopping

My husband and I decided to do something we'd never done before: join all the crazy people shopping before the sun came up on this so-called Black Friday. I figured it would be a good adventure. We were interested in a low-end laptop and router equipment at Best Buy. Not being morning people, we struggled to arrive by 6 AM, an hour later than we'd hoped. Cars were parked e v e r y w h e r e -- in closed restaurant lots, along the sides of parking lots, and any other place where a car would fit. Inside the store, every available square foot was occupied by homo sapiens.

We dashed (er...uh....pushed and shoved?) our way to the computer section. Too late! All the laptops were gone. Se la vi: we keep our money. Our luck was not all bad, though: there had been no mad rush on routers. We picked up the equipment and sought a check-out line. OMG! There was one line that started at the front registers and wrapped all the way around the perimeter of the store. (So I thought.) We got in line with blind faith that we would eventually find our way out.

In fairly short order, we worked our way toward the back of the store. It was looking good. Then reality hit: the line wove down and around each and every aisle in the store, probably 18 aisles. We'd only just begun.

Just as we began to move through the aisles, a plain, small-framed young woman behind me spoke, commenting on the outlandish price of HD TVs. With that ice breaker, we struck up a conversation. Over the course of the next hour and fifteen minutes, as we wove through aisles of DVDs, electronics, appliances, and bins of items meant to temp us, we became friends.

She was exactly one-third my age, a first-semester freshman at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studying to become an environmental chemist. Never have I met such an interesting, delightful teenager. We talked about our mutual love for the diversity of life in a university community, our experiences learning and speaking Spanish, her travels to Europe, consumerism, the environment, and so on.

I noticed that she was holding only one item, a music CD, and asked why she would brave the mobs and lines for one CD. She hugged the CD with delight and began to explain just how special it was. She described the music as mellow and acoustic, with an unusual mixture of bells and other instruments. Her enthusiasm nearly convinced me to jump out of line to buy one for myself. The CD is Sufjan Stevens' Songs for Christmas. I've been able to hear small snippets of his music via Internet, and I'm intrigued. I suspect the album is a delight.

Our visit finally ended at the cash registers, where we exchanged well wishes and parted ways, sorry, in a way, that it was over. So, I was right -- the lunatic shopping was an adventure. The shopping was not even remotely worth the trouble, but I'd get up in the middle of the night to spend another hour with my delightful friend, if I ever had the chance again.

No comments:

Post a Comment