For 3 1/2 years, I worked on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Supposedly (according to the Insurance Industry) the most dangerous occupation in the world. Before that job (and after) I rode bulls to put beans on to the table. I have been in bar fights in Fort Worth, Texas and been chased by an angry boyfriend who was wielding a machete.
Without reservation, I can honestly say that neither an angry bull, the exhaust from an F-14 Fighter Jet, nor the angry boyfriend with blood in eyes prepared me for what I witnessed yesterday at Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines, Iowa.
I should have known what this day was going to be like, as I was given a clue when leaving my small hometown early yesterday morning. I was being tailgated by a very large SUV driven by a middle-aged woman who was shaking her hand and motioning for me to pull over as I was only driving at 5-mph over the speed-limit. Yes, I did see her again when arriving at the mall as she too was searching in vain for a parking spot.
As I entered the mall parking lot and scanned the horizon, I could see nothing but parked cars. Trucks were even being parked on the grassy areas by the main road, which I am pretty sure the mall’s landscaping department did not appreciate.
I began by slowly driving up one aisle and down the other. By the 5th or 6th aisle, it appeared. I am confident I held the same feelings as Moses did when the sea parted for him. It was like manna from heaven. A spot near the front of the mall. Amazing! As I was pulling in, the car behind me drove past, and the lady driving did motion that I was number 1 for having been so fortunate.
I entered the mall through Jared’s Jewelry Store, where I was promptly greeted by a younger fellow wearing a bright red suit with a bow tie. This was no ordinary suit, as this thing was flaming red, complete with a white ruffled shirt and he was clean shaven except for the scruffy beard he sported. I say this because I am pretty sure my mouth was agape as I scanned him up and down. Believe me, if I owned Jared’s, I would have sent this guy home to change clothes. If he was attempting to be “Elvish,” he failed miserably. He looked more liked an 80’s disco reject than anything from the North Pole.
I should have kept going on into the mall, but the sign for “Ever Us,” the new diamond collection being marketed through Jared’s, Kay’s and Zales, caught my eye. Of course, our store’s disco Santa was more than willing to “HELP-ME” out. NOTE TO NEW SALESPEOPLE! When a potential customer gives you a budget, “DON’T DOUBLE IT, TRYING TO INCREASE YOUR COMMISSION“! Which is exactly what this clown (err; Disco Santa) did.
I would have been much more amiable if he had said something like; “I’m sorry Mr. Crow, those diamond earbobs start at $999 and go up from there“. Instead, he shows me the ear pieces, then the necklace, then several rings. The darned ring it turns out was $2,400.00 alone. After choking, I inform him once again that my budget was around $500 give or take. No problem he say’s, and he whips out a beautiful necklace for only $1,800.00…Now I am getting really angry.
Still, no problem he informs me as they have a great layaway plan. O.K., maybe we have a way to go here. He tells me about the Black Friday sale, and now my wheels are turning. He tells me about the discount; I am doing the math mentally and thinking, “Mrs. Crow would love these earrings”. As we are sent over to the business section to do the paperwork, the business manager (or whoever he was) explains that for the Black Friday discount, I have to pay for all of it today and the worst part was, he was smiling at me.
This is when I got up, turned, smiled back and stated that I do not do business with people who lie, cheat and steal. I did make sure to say loud it enough where the entire store heard me.
Off to fight the wolves in the mall!
Lest you think I am joking, please refer to visual proof to the right. The problem I now had was, I was at one end of the mall, the object of my desire was at the opposite end of the mall. Men were roaming with confused looks on their faces (the ones who apparently showed a look of desperation and fear), while children were running wildly because they had no school today. Older women had glazed over eyes that were bloodshot with expressions of (if you get in my way, I do know how to shoot) menacing hatred painted on their faces. Meanwhile, store employees were huddled in the backs of stores attempting to barricade themselves from the apocalypse happening mere feet away in the mall.
My question now becomes; are the 30-40-50% discounts worth it? As I was reaching for one gift at Dillard’s, I did have one lady grab the same item, glare at me, snarl and run away. After only 45 minutes in a checkout line (which had nine people ahead of me), I did manage to ask a manager at Younkers what the problem was. She informed me that nobody wanted to work. I can now see why!
My adventure of checking another item off my bucket list has been fulfilled. I can tell you with lots of authority, “if you have never joined in the malaise” of a Black Friday sale, DON’T! And if you have, my sincerest condolences are in order. Next year?
I think I will join the “Running of the Bulls,” I will be better off.
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