Sunday, November 30, 2008

That Old Black Magic

Here in the good old United States of America, they follow grand traditions set forth by their fore fathers.  Eating turkey in November because the pilgrims did it (even though I think the Canadians have it right in October - I mean doesn't the last week of November run too close to Christmas?  Spread the turkey love people!), watching a parade of giant balloons because a very old department store wants you to go shopping, and finally, the crazy sales associated with Black Friday.

Fact:  Black Friday is called Black Friday because it is when the stores go from being in the red to being in the black

Fact:  People wake up and go to sales starting at  - are you ready for this? - FOUR IN THE MORNING!  FOUR!!!!!!!!!!  That was JC Penny.  Macy's and Target were five, much more humane.

Fact:  People who get up early and wait for the sales at already cheap stores like Wal Mart should gain some perspective.  Especially when you break a glass window and storm into the store, stampeding over an employee and killing them.  This actually happened in Long Island.  It's horrific and tragic.  My thoughts are with the family and definitely taught me the lesson to stay away from people at Wal Mart - they are clearly crazy.

I wasn't really wanting to be a part of these crowds on Friday, as last year's accidental experience with the Engineer at an outlet mall north of Seattle taught me to fear people and sales, but I was sort of curious what the crowds in New York would be like.  And seeing as a friend was in town, I just couldn't resist.  This is my story of Black Friday.

Century 21:

Century 21 is an upscale department store that is like liquidation world for Prada.  The crowds at this store are crazy on a normal day, Black Friday was clearly catastrophic.  But I needed a wallet so I pushed my way through, picked the cheapest one I could find (a whopping $8.97!  Woohoo!) and pushed my way to the cashier.  Here is when trouble started.

#1.  The price tag was actually not attached to the wallet, but inside the wallet.  The girl rudely told me that she 'don't know if thats true girl' and said to get another one.  My friend graciously offered to push his way to find a replacement.  In the meantime she yelled at me to STEP ASIDE STEP ASIDE

#2.  On having the attached proof of the price of the wallet (take that bitch) she scanned it in, and I handed over my credit card.  Chewing her gum she informed me that my card was not working and I was 'gotta pay with somethin else'.  

#3.  About to take out the cash I had, the cashier next to her told her to type in my numbers.  This is the following conversation:

My cashier:  I don't wanna punch in the numbers.  She can pay with somin else.

The other cashier:  You just bein lazy girl, punch in the numbers

My cashier:  Then i have to get authorization. I don wanna.  She can pay wit somin else

Me:  Actually, I want to pay by credit card.  I'm not from here and it costs me a lot to take out cash (lie)

The other cashier:  yeah girl, it's the holidays you can't be lazy now

My cashier:  (huffs and punches in my numbers)

The other cashier:  Girl, it's just the beginning of the holidays.  You gotta change your attitude.

My cashier:  Don't be talking to me about attitude.  I'm tired and if I don wanna do somin I ain't goin to (roughly throws my card back, I sign the computer thing)
Sign there now

Me:  I did already

My cashier:  GLARE

Me:  Oh I don't need a bag

My cashier:  GLARE

Other cashier:  It's store policy, you have to leave with a bag

Me:  That's bad for the environment

My cashier:  (shoves bag at me)

Other cashier:  Have a nice day

Me: (smile at other cashier) to my cashier You have a fabulous day now, you have been so wonderful to meet!

End Scene


As we walk randomly through the store, suddenly we are yelled at by a store clerk that we are walking the wrong way.  Confused, we look around:  aren't we in a store?  How can you walk the wrong way?  The clerk yells again and asks what part of wrong way don't we understand?  Apparently Macy's during the holidays is like driving a car in Manhattan.  There are one way aisles, stop signs and turning signals if you want to change lanes.  Also, the spots next to things to buy are coveted, sort of like rock star parking.

FAO Schwarz:

I don't know how the service was.  Why?  Because there was a line-up to get it, stretching down from the door to the street, around 59th Avenue ALL the way to Madison where it curled again towards Central Park.  I kid you not.

The Fried Chicken restaurant:

The customer ahead of me ordered a bucket of chicken, a box of mashed potatoes, fries, gravy, four cokes and some biscuits.  When the girl asked her if it was to stay, she replied 'I hardly think I am going to sit down and eat a bucket of chicken by myself' to which the surly worker said 'I don't know your life bitch'

I thought this was the country of customer service?  I mean didn't The Gap invent the greeter and the overly friendly manner?  Isn't TGI Fridays famous for its nauseating happiness and cheer?  Can't the service meet me halfway here?  When I go into a store looking for a specific item, the employee should not shrug and keep folding clothes - shouldn't she go look for it herself?  GAH!

Like Shari said on The View:  what's the point and going out and supporting the economy by spending money,  helping to save jobs in the stores if the sales assistants whose jobs we are spending money to save treat us like crap.  

Black Friday has left a black taste in my mouth.  And the sales weren't even that good.  

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