Since about 2004, I’ve routinely gone out on Black Friday. It started mostly as a goof between myself and a few friends, the novelty of staying up all night, driving around to different businesses and shopping complexes, watching the utter madness unfold as the huddled masses slowly formed one amorphous blob intent on finding the best deal was always intriguing. Sometimes we’d actually get lucky, find a great deal and be able to sneak into one of the shorter lines at the register (I remember one year I got season three of “Arrested Development” on DVD for $4).
But the deals were never the point, at least not to us. No, we were in it for the spectacle. We wanted to be there when somebody, who was borderline psychotic from a combination of lack of sleep and frostbite from the bitter winds, finally snapped and did something that you only read about in the paper or saw on the news. This never happened—until this year.
For some reason, my brother and I thought it’d be fun to try and get him a new digital camera from Best Buy for something like 20 bucks. We entered the store around 8 a.m. and almost immediately lost each other in the sea of smart shoppers. The current swept me up and took me towards the DVD department as my brother was pushed and shoved towards the big screen TVs.
I finally was able to pry myself from the mob somewhere around the children’s section. I decided that while I was there I might as well look for something for my little sister, preferably a DVD whose case was pink. While perusing, I heard an argument growing in volume behind me. I didn’t think anything of it at first as I was still hung over and simply couldn’t be bothered. But once (foul language) started being bandied about, I decided to give the incident my undivided attention.
Apparently what had happened was one woman in a tan coat had sat down an Apple iPad on a counter while she attempted to retie her coat’s belt. Another woman in a crazy hat saw the iPad lying on the countertop with no discernible owner and immediately scooped it up. Both women were in their mid-forties. Now, I’d like to assume that initially Tan Coat calmly pointed out the mistake to Crazy Hat, but from the look in her eye, probably not. The two women were now engaged in a fight to the death over who the true heir to the iPad was. I really wanted to side with Tan Coat, because, after all, it was hers first and she had sat it down for all of what had to be ten seconds, at best. But man, she was unloading on Crazy Hat like she had just stolen her firstborn. It was almost to the point where it seemed like Crazy Hat was more in a state of terror induced paralysis than trying to keep the item for herself.
My brother soon found me and I brought him up to speed. We watched as Crazy Hat finally summoned up the courage to start yelling a few things back at Tan Coat and everything started to spiral out of control. The fact that it was so loud in the store, forcing the women to constantly be raising the volume of their voices, was not helping. Finally, Crazy Hat met her breaking point, stood silent and frozen for five solid seconds and suddenly slapped Tan Coat across the face. Me, my brother and Tan Coat’s respective jaws dropped and the four of us just stood there like the last scene of a spaghetti Western, waiting for what was going to happen next. The gravity of the situation seemed to wash over Crazy Hat and she panicked, shoved the iPad into Tan Coat’s arms and scampered off down the aisle, absorbed into the crowd. Tan Coat stood there for a few more seconds, not seeming to believe what had just happened, accepted it and moved on.
Patrick McFadden is a fourth-year student majoring in literature with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at PM623279@wcupa.edu