Reader Friday – Black Friday

Black Friday

You’ve survived Thanksgiving by kicking back in your recliner to watch the football game while you enjoyed the tryptophan-induced coma, but today it’s Friday and you have to face the mob. It’s time to battle the traffic, find a parking spot at Wally World, and push your way through the masses to get that gizmo for your child or grandchild, the one that is discounted 30%, the one everyone is fighting for, and the one you won’t be able to find for this price after today.

So…you flip on your flashing light-siren (the one Cousin Larry built for you) and race down the street as everyone pulls to the curb to get out of your way.

In the parking lot, you turn on the loud speaker in your Larry device and announce a bomb threat. “Everyone, please leave the parking lot, and remain calm.”

Inside the store, you pull out your phone and hack into the Wally World PA system to announce a special offer on aisle 13.

When you reach the gizmo, there are still three determined mamas fighting over the last one. You wouldn’t dare take them on, so you don your gas mask and deodorize the area with tear gas.

As you head for the checkout with the precious gizmo, you keep your bear spray unholstered for anyone who is foolish enough to try to jump you.

And as you drive out of Wally World’s parking lot, merrily whistling, you dream of new ideas for your next book.

So, TKZers, how do you fight the Black Friday battle? Or give us some creative ideas for surviving the war for the gizmo. After all, you write fiction.

This entry was posted in creative inspiration, Writing by Steve Hooley. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Hooley

Steve Hooley is the author of seven short stories published in four anthologies, a Vella serial fiction, and is currently working on the Mad River Magic series – a fantasy adventure series for advanced middle-grade to adults. More details available at:

31 thoughts on “Reader Friday – Black Friday

  1. Good morning, Steve. I am Switzerland in the Black Friday battle. Well-armed, but not participating. I don’t leave the house unless I have to and do not cross the threshold of any establishment with a scanner. That includes Sheetz. I might order something online, but that is the extent of my participation.

    Thanks, Steve. Have a great weekend!

    • Good morning, Joe. Your Black Friday strategy sounds like a safe one. I’m with you on avoiding the frenzy of shopping. I rarely leave the house, and definitely don’t shop on this dangerous day. But maybe someone, this morning, will have some strategies for success and safety in the battle for the gizmos.

      I hope your weekend is a good one!

  2. Steve, going shopping is way too dangerous. I’d rather spend the day held at gunpoint by a crazed fugitive suspected of two murders.

    Gotta go now, the gun barrel is poking my back.

    • Thanks for stopping in, Debbie. Your message sounds like a cryptic call for help, like you are being held hostage. Shall we send in the cavalry? In which mega store are you being held hostage?

      Maybe one of our readers will have some ideas for gizmos on the shelves you can use to fight back. Hmm. I’ve heard that eggs in a microwave can make quite an explosion.

  3. I haven’t been to a mall in at least 5 years, and would NEVER leave the house on Black Friday. Today I will be having the last two window companies on my list come to the house to give me estimates on replacements. FWIW, November is a good time to buy windows. That’s my Black Friday deal.
    As for writing fodder, the Hubster and I have been getting schooled on rules and regulations of replacing windows when you live at 9100 feet not to mention dealing with every company’s product touting.

    • Thanks, Terry, for the window info.

      It’s beginning to sound like we writers don’t venture out on Black Friday.

      On the windows: My wife and I replaced windows at a rental we are putting up for sale. Lowes encouraged us to join their Pro Plan, and then gave us a hefty discount. They are hungry (right now) for customers. Even though we have rentals, we’re not listed as an established business, but they took our word for it on our rental business. We saved over a thousand on windows, subflooring, and laminate flooring.

      Sorry for the sales pitch. Good luck with your windows.

    • Terry, excuse my dumb question, but now you’ve got me curious–what are the considerations for installing windows when you’re at 9100′ elevation as opposed to lower? I’d guess you’d want thicker windows since higher elevation means more deep freeze. But other factors?

  4. I don’t like to shop even on “normal” days. Black Friday is my idea of being hurled into an abyss of shrieking mutants. I’ll ditch the gizmo in favor of books. 🙂

    Stay safe out there.

    • I can see now that I chose the wrong topic for Black Friday. We writers seem to like the safety and sanctity of our homes and our writing space – vs “being hurled into an abyss of shrieking mutants.”

      I’m still hoping that someone will come up with some creative defense tactics for those who “need” to face the shrieking mutants.

      Thanks, Kay, and have a weekend free of shriekers.

  5. Your scenario made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

    But I’m a bore in real life. Holiday or no holiday, I’m a hermit by nature and definitely not a shopper–not even in my younger days. When it comes to gifts, 99% of the time I do gift cards so that the recipient can choose what they want instead of me taking a guess & being dead wrong about it. Plus a lot of my gift giving is long distance, so cards are far more practical & cheaper (shipping rates are ridiculous!).

    But please, if you go for the scenario above, please don’t get busted by the cops. It’ll ruin your Thanksgiving weekend. On the other hand, it’s fodder for your next police procedural. 😎

    • Thanks for laughing, BK. You made my day. My wife told me this post wasn’t a bit funny. So thanks. And do you have any “disappearing” scenarios for when the police do show up? Any additions to our dark shopping techniques would be appreciated.

      I like your gift cards idea. We’re turning more and more to that as our grandchildren get older.

      May your weekend remain blessedly boring.

  6. Steve, when I used to shop at stores on Black Friday, I would get up at O-Dark Far-Too-Early, have a list, and move fast, like an extraction team. If I wasn’t done by 7AM, it was a failure,.

    This days, the only Black Friday shopping I do is online.

    Very fun post and comment thread today. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thanks, Dale. Good strategy. Get there early, and shop quickly.

      Funny how none of us, so far, are shoppers. When they show those pictures of mobs in the stores on Black Fridays, I guess there aren’t many writers among them.

      Hope your weekend is quiet and peaceful.

  7. I laughed at your post as well, Steve. 😀
    I’m one of the few extroverts you’ll find in writing field. I LOVE being in the stores on Black Friday—the energy singing cash registers make is amazing. Unfortunately with a deadline looming I probably won’t make it to the stores.

    • Thanks, Patricia. It’s good to know we have at least one extrovert in the TKZ family. I like your phrase: “the energy singing cash registers make.”

      I hope your book sales make the cash registers sing, and you beat your deadline so you can get out there and enjoy the energy.

  8. Hi Steve. You have captured the meaning of Black Friday for those who like the challenge. For those whose love of cross-checking is confined to TV-remote access, the key to Black Friday is a clear understanding of human nature. In all but the very young, cold hard cash does the trick. Human nature makes it all but impossible to choose gifts for anyone but oneself and, on a good day, one’s better half. Otherwise, Black Friday is solved by a trip to the local branch bank, and however many envelopes your family requires. Smiles all around!

    • Good one, Barry. And thanks for that good advice. Shop your local branch bank, where the envelopes are free, and the gift is guaranteed to please.

      I have noticed that as the grandkids open gifts, the first thing they check is the card for possible cash.

      And kudos to you for being able to choose gifts for your better half (on good days). I was fortunate for many years to know that my wife always liked a gift of tools. Now, she has more and newer tools than mine. Time to switch to cold hard cash.


  9. I agree with Kay . . . Black Friday is my idea of being hurled into an abyss of shrieking mutants.

    The last time I ventured out on this day was about 1980 with my sis over in the Seattle area. When we returned to our car, I vowed never again.

    Today we’ll visit my dad, pick up mail in town, and take our Hoka for a walk in the park, arriving home in time for a couple hours of reading time.

    Perfect day in my book . . . pun intended. 🙂

    • Good morning, Deb. It would seem that I should have named this post “Into the Abyss of Shrieking Mutants.” That would make a good title for a book. I guess Kay used it first, but then titles can’t be copyrighted.

      Sounds like you have a perfect day planned. Good pun.

      My WIP, hopefully to be published in Jan ’22, will be titled Perfect Strand.

      Have a perfect weekend.

    • Sorry to hear that you are sick, JG. I hope you are recovering quickly. And we will count your vote in the “non-participant in shopping madness” column. The results thus far are a tsunami for reclusive writers. Let the world take note.

      Get well quickly. We look forward to your detailed and extensive comments.

    • You’re a good man, John. If you help put up those decorations, you deserve a vote for man of the year. My late wife could hardly wait for the Thanksgiving company to leave to start decorating. It was my “duty” to climb into a third story balcony and put up the Christmas lights. I’ve never recovered from my distaste for decorating. My wife now has the Thanksgiving decorations down on Thanksgiving evening, and the Christmas decorations up on the following morning, every room and corner organized into its own box, decorating finished in a few hours. I shake my head and give thanks that I don’t have to help.

      Have fun decorating.

  10. Wow, that sounds exhausting! And, sadly, not much exaggeration about how people behave during these sales.

    I just came home from the sibling’s home, and we discussed our own disdain for these sales. My parents owned a retail store so we were all heartily bored with “stuff” before we hit adulthood, and we are perfectly happy to pay extra to avoid a store filled with lunatics.

    • Great advice, Marilynn. I wish there was a way for us to get our children and grandchildren bored with stuff, even if we, as parents don’t own a retail store.

      Personally, my purchases are mostly tools. I research and compare for quality, then watch for a discount. You can never have enough tools.

      Have a wonderful stuff-free weekend.

  11. Well I am not going shopping. In fact I have no real plans. So instead I wrote a quick story –

    The parking lot was a nightmare. Not actually counting, I’m pretty sure it was the third time I’d been down this aisle in search of a spot. Then I saw it, not the place to leave my car while I went inside, something better.

    What I saw was a woman carrying a Playtime Susie. Personally, I think the doll is ugly and the T.V. show ridiculous even for young children, but it is what my niece wanted, so it is what I will get. This was the eighth time I was about to enter into the world of Black Friday mania and there was this woman, walking without a care in the world, taunting me. Then she looked at me and smiled, that ‘haha, I’ve got one’ smile.

    Looking back over the day, I guess that’s when I lost my mind.

    How long can she keep this up? It had been almost three hours since I began stalking the woman and she hadn’t pulled into one place without security cameras all over the parking lot. I was starving and I had to pee, but when one is on a mission there isn’t time.

    Finally. She pulled into the driveway of a cute little attached garden home and went inside. Parking a few doors down, I left the warmth of my car and peaked in her front windows. I couldn’t see much so I walked around to the back window. The box was in sight. So was she. I watched as she wrapped it and several other purchases.

    My bladder felt like it was going to explode, my stomach growled and a chill had settled in my bones. An hour later she put on her coat and walked out her front door.

    It couldn’t be helped, a garden gnome had to be sacrificed to break the glass in the door. I was careful not to cut myself as I reached in to unlock it. I wasn’t three steps into the house when two previously unobserved barking dogs came rushing at me. I had to calculate quick, Were two whatever terries worth taking out for a Playtime Susie? Sure they were.

    Fortunately, unfortunately, they never actually attacked because they were distracted by the sound of the front door opening. I saw her. She saw me and began screaming. I grabbed the package from under the tree and fled out the back.

    When I rounded the corner of the building two men were rushing towards me. She was behind them yelling, pointing and calling me a thief. Before I could react I was down on the ground.

    Sitting in the back of the patrol car I could see the officer and the woman in a struggle over the doll. Arguing, she was saying how she needed the present and he was saying how sorry he was, but it was evidence. She was crying when he put it in the trunk of his car before he drove away.

    Usually I enjoy new experiences, but being fingerprinted and locked in a cell was something I could have happily died without participating in personally. I wasn’t alone either. One of my cellmates asked what I was in for. That’s when I realized I had lost all common sense in my quest for the perfect Christmas gift. I was too embarrassed to say, and this was a stranger. How the hell could I tell my family, I’d properly lose my job. All of that and I still didn’t have the ugly doll.

    Two hours later I was taken from my cell. I was being released. I asked when and where I had to come back.

    “You’re free to go, there are no charges,” the police officer giving me back my property said, “The evidence got lost.”

    Yeah, right!

    • Wow, Michelle, that was what I was hoping for. And you get the blue ribbon. You had me laughing by the second paragraph. My wife told me my story wasn’t funny. I’m going to ask her to read your story.

      And a perfect ending. Thanks for that wonderful short story.

      Have a crime free weekend.

  12. Thank you for the compliment and the distraction. A nice way to spend a while on a rainy day.

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