You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave. -- "Hotel California," The Eagles
In bed: midnight. Out of bed: 3 a.m. Less than 30 minutes later, on the road.
We got to Kohl's and ended up in line about 50 feet from where we started last year. We spent less time waiting for the store to open than we did in line to check out. Enter store: 4:03 a.m. Exit store: 4:58 a.m. (About 35 minutes in line)
Down the road to Wal-Mart. Enter store: 5:08 a.m. A few minutes before that, I let the mother off at the door. I told her to go to the toy section as the bulk of our list was for the cousins' kids and my charity program. Don't leave the toy section until I get there. It was evident from the number of cars on the parking lot that it would be hard to get through it, much less find each other.
Do you think she listened to me?
It took me at least five minutes to get through the crowds to the toy section. No mother. I had even stopped in electronics on the way (trying to get a 4G memory card for $10) but those were long gone. I quickly scanned the toy aisles for the dolls and Hot Wheels we were after. Empty shelves.
"Can I help you find something?" a voice behind me asked. It was a sales associate. Say what? She directed me to the toy dept manager just a few feet away. Boo-yah! He couldn't help me -- but a shopper standing next to me, who would later end up in line directly behind me, did. Not only did he send me right to the Hot Wheels (well outside the toy section) when I got there to grab some, there just 10 feet away was the mother!
She had the dolls, the Hot Wheels, and a shop vac, all of which were on the list. I was floored. The moral of this story: Never underestimate the mother. Unless she's asking about checking out. People were lined up in jewelry as we passed through so she (supposedly) asked if we could check out there. Why yes. So we stood in line.
Twenty minutes later, a checker asked if we were waiting for a Wii. "This is a Wii line. You can't check out here." Ten minutes later, we finally made our way into a checkout line. It was unreal. In all the years we've done this, I've never seen anything like it.
Unbeknownst to us, Wal-Mart opened at midnight -- without announcing it. So, all these people were there. They had sucked up most if not all of the sales merchandise, and they were already lined up to check out by 5 a.m. WHAT flippin' genius thought THIS sh*T up?!
Not only could you barely get through the store, finding a line, much less getting in one, was ridiculous. Then, of course, there was the wait. Exit store: 7:10 a.m. (About 90 minutes in line, including the Wii line.)
But I left the store -- without the mother. About 30 minutes into the line from hell, I told her to go sit on a bench toward the lawn center. I thought she'd try to find me before I had to go look for her. Guess again.
As I finally neared a checkout, still no mother. Once I checked out, I thought: Load the car. Then, find the mother. Before I could reach the car, my cell rang. It was the mother. A lady she was sitting with loaned her the phone. She told me where she was. I told her where I was: Go out to the front of the store. I'll come and pick you up.
I loaded the car and pulled out front. And waited. And waited. And waited. Then a cop showed up so I had to move. Now where the hell is she?
As it turned out, all she heard was "I'll come and pick you up." Not sure why that meant going back inside the store, but it did.
So, home at last, packages unloaded, mostly put away and with breakfast downed, it's off to nap. And later, maybe more shopping.