For the first, and probably last, time in my life, I want Black Friday shopping. I got up at 2:50 a.m., and was outside Old Navy by 3:20. The store had opened twenty minutes earlier, but already I had to wait in line for twenty minutes just to get in. The store was packed to the limit the fire marshal would allow, and it was hard to maneuver among the aisles, racks, and tables, and a lot of merchandise had been dropped carelessly onto the floor. By 4 a.m. I was done shopping there, not really finding what I wanted, but I picked up two pairs of sweat pants at half price and started to look for the end of what looked like a long line from the checkout counters. The queue stretched all the way from the front of the store to the back, curved around, and returned to the front along a different aisle. I waited in line ninety minutes before reaching the checkout counter. By then it was after 5 a.m., and most of the stores at the mall were open with no shortage of shoppers. The large fireplace in the middle of the food court was an unexpected pleasure on this cold, rainy and still dark morning, so I sat down and ate breakfast. Then off to Macy's, passing Santa's village, unoccupied by Santa or his elves at this early hour. Macy's was surprisingly un-Chrismassy except for the holiday music playing. Didn't see any great bargains in men's clothing that I wanted, and since I was tired, I decided to call it a day — if you can call it that before dawn.
Like streaking or spring break in Florida, Black Friday shopping is something you may want to try once, but not a second time.