Victory in the HD pursuit
Armed with only a map of the Walmart in Halfmoon and functioning at about 10 percent capacity, I entered shopping Mecca at 4 a.m. with the goal of either buying a 42-inch high-definition television for $398 or at the very least avoiding getting stampeded by eager shoppers abandoning their humanity for cheap stuff.
Even though the sale of the big ticket electronic items didn't begin until 5 a.m., the 24-hour nature of Walmart provided cover from the rain as shoppers were allowed in the store whenever they wanted.
This eliminated the mad rush toward the coveted merchandise, which meant I had wasted time strengthening my forearms for months, in anticipation of the necessary shoving that would be required to steer through the herd.
Instead I calmly made my way into the area formerly designated for footwear, and was now serving as the staging area for me and my like-minded compatriots. En route to massive savings I passed numerous shoppers who struggled with the store’s temporary layout, which turned the food aisles and vision center into more territory to sell electronic merchandise.
After finding the right area, I was greeted by a cadre of sales associates boasting the classic blue vests, who handed me a ticket that would ensure me my television. Unfortunately, having the ticket didn't mean I would be allowed to circumvent the line process, but there was only 35 minutes before the store would sell me my television.
The associate who handed me my ticket said that people had started this line right around midnight when the earliest sales began. Lucky for me, though, the first ticket in line was no more valuable than the 33rd ticket, which I had.
The people directly in front of me began sharing their war stories from earlier in the morning when they had been at Target. At one point I expected them to lament the loss of loved ones who were casualties of their previous conflict, but they assured me that no men had been left behind.
There was quite a buzz about a teenager who had been choked at Target, yet there was some debate about whether he had had it coming since he had pushed his cart in front of an elderly lady. The only thing that people could agree on was that the rules of engagement in shopping centers on Black Friday are more ambiguous than in Iraq.
As people filled in the line behind me it became clear that my timing was fortunate, as there were only 40 of my televisions available.
Shortly after 5 a.m., the word made it to the back of my line that the televisions were finally available and we began the slow march to cash in our tickets for the bliss of 1080P quality viewing.
Opting to pick up my television with my car from the loading dock, I headed toward the registers and stood through a 20-minute line that was akin to the long, drawn-out process of falling asleep on Christmas Eve, when little kids know that presents are so close.
With receipt in hand I drove my car to the back of the store and in the drizzling rain two Walmart employees tried twice, first unsuccessfully, to get my huge purchase into my car. After removing my purchase from the confines of its cumbersome cardboard box it rested gently in the backseat of my car.
Driving out of the parking lot I felt content. Some of that stemmed from the pride of completing my first big expenditure as an adult, but most of it was derived from the hallucinogenic visions of nirvana that were dancing through my brain because of sleep deprivation.
Reach Gazette reporter David Lombardo at 395-3134 or firstname.lastname@example.org, but not until Monday, as he is sleeping now.