This past Friday I got closer than I’ve ever gotten to doing some “door busting” on Black Friday. Walmart was advertising a sweet laptop at an unheard of price, and so I made plans to hit in there about 4:00 a.m. and take my place in line. I dreaded it, but since I’d never actually had one of those “door busting” experiences, and since I really wanted that laptop, I thought, “This is the year.”
Since the store was open on Thanksgiving day, Tonya and I made a trial run over there that afternoon. Fortunately for us, the lady who was going to be selling those laptops the next morning was also working that afternoon and took the time to answer some questions for me. The question-and-answer session went something like this:
“What time do I need to be here to get one of those laptops?” “By 1:30 or 2:00 a.m.”
“Really? That early?” “Yes, definitely. I wouldn’t advise coming any later.”
“How many of those laptops do you have?” “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. I know, but I can’t tell you.”
“If I do get here at 2:00 a.m. what will I need to do?” “Go back to the appropriate part of the store and get in line.”
“What then?” “I will start handing out tickets. Then, when the sale actually begins at 5:00 a.m., I’ll go right down the line and give the person with the ticket a chance to buy a laptop. I’ll go right down the line until all the laptops have been sold.”
“So, if I get in line at 2:00 a.m. and get my ticket, can I spend the next three hours walking around the store?” “No, the best I can do is give you a five-minute bathroom pass.”
“In other words, I’m going to have to stand in line for a full three hours just to get a chance at buying one of those laptops?” “Yes, that’s right.”
It was somewhere along about then that my “door busting” turned into bronco busting and I was thrown off the horse. NOTHING that woman said sounded good to me. She finished me off when I asked her how much the computer usually cost. She quoted something along the lines of $389. I say “something along the lines” because she was talking pretty fast at that point. The truth is, I could be wrong about the price she quoted. That’s the figure my brain heard, though. And since the sale price was $299, I did some quick math and came to the conclusion that all that just wasn’t worth it to save $90.
Now, I’ll grant you that three hours in line for $90 breaks down to $30 per hour. That’s good money. But it wasn’t enough to get me to bow down before that altar of American consumerism. So, I slept in Friday morning and enjoyed it. I did get out along about 10:30 a.m. with Tonya, the boys, and my mom. We hit the mall and had a good experience checking a few items off our “to buy” list. We didn’t get any 75% off deals, though.
I came away from my whole Black Friday experience with the following observations:
#1. Since that sales lady at Walmart was so adamant that I should be there no later than 2:00 a.m., I figure that meant they only had about ten of those laptops to sell.
#2. I’ve got enough willpower and sheer stubbornness to have gotten in line at 1:00 a.m., stood there all night, and staked my claim to one of those laptops, but I couldn’t do it and keep my self respect. That would have been me letting Walmart play me, and I just couldn’t give them that satisfaction.
#3. If I was someone else, or if the situation had been something else, maybe God would have given me a peace about doing what was necessary to get that computer. As things were, though, the only peace I found was in forgetting the whole deal and sleeping in late.
You know something? Even when I’m half in the mood to play this world’s silly little games, it’s just not something that I can do with ease or pleasure. God has had me too long. But I’m glad I’m that way because, after all, 1 John 2:15-17 is still in the Bible:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (N.K.J.V.)