@nd.edu: A Black Friday survival guide

Author: Tara Hunt ’12

Tara Hunt

’Tis the season to be competitive.

The season to push and shove.

The season to be greedy.

’Tis the season for Black Friday.

While many a person curls up with their family basking in the joy of a full stomach and blessings aplenty, another group, a group of semi-psychotic shopaholics who refused to eat Thanksgiving dinner, insisting it would slow them down during the real festivities, are out at 4 a.m. to find the perfect Christmas present. These are the true Black Fridayers.

Though training, couponing and bargain hunting begin weeks in advance, the morning of, these gym shoe clad loons rise well before the sun to join in the madness. The weather outside may be frightful, but no amount of hail, snow or sleet will keep these Fridayers from waiting in line for a deal on the latest iPad.

But before you even get to the campsite that has gathered in front of the door, you have to maneuver the parking lot. This is not a time for Kumbaya. As all avid Fridayers know, “All is fair in love and parking spots.” I disagree.

It is not fair to take up more than one spot. If you are anywhere near the line, you give everyone else the right to sideswipe you and leave a red paint skid.

It is not fair to double park because you just need to “run in for something really quickly.” There is no such thing as “really quickly” on Black Friday.

It is not fair to swing around someone and steal their parking spot, even though they’ve been waiting patiently for the old woman with the cane to slowly, slowly, slowly pull out.

Instead of trying one of these bad-mannered tactics, might I suggest parking at the back of the lot and walking? It will often take less time than stalking customers fumbling excesses of Keurig brewers and blenders, and you’ll burn last night’s pecan pie.

You get the car parked. Now you’re wrapped in your fleece blanket jamming to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album on your iPod, waiting for the store to open. Here’s where things really get nasty. The moment you hear the “click” as the lowest-ranking employee courageously unlocks the door, there will inevitably be a mass surge of people. That employee has been trained to make a mad dash away from the doors,which may lurch from their hinges after last year’s . . . accident. You must be prepared to be equally swift to avoid the flood of people ready to trample you for $2 off Play-Doh.

Push your way in and see what unfolds. Black Friday is neither a marathon nor a sprint, so walking and running are equally bad options. A brisk jog should keep you at pace with the other competitors until you hit the biggest roadblock known to man: the toy aisle. Here, the gates of Hell have mysteriously opened and shot out flattened Candyland boxes and trampled Barbie dolls, which ensure your cart wheels get stuck. I shudder at the thought.

If you survive the parking lot, the tsunami of people and the flames and demons from the toy aisle, you will find yourself standing for eternity at the check-out counter. There, you will find an exhausted and irritable employee wearing something nauseatingly festive like a reindeer antler headband or elves’ ears. They will greet you with a forced grimace and bid you adieu with a nonsectarian, monotone “Happy Holidays,” and in between make certain that you know that working there is the best form of punishment man could devise. Smile and leave quickly.

Bags in hand, you have somehow successfully survived Black Friday. Congrats and applause might be in order, but you could have just shopped online.

Tara Hunt is a senior at Notre Dame and was the Notre Dame Magazine summer 2011 intern. Email her at thunt5@nd.edu.