I had a game plan.Sure it was rural Western Oklahoma on Black Friday, but that’s no reason not to exercise my right as an American. On this day, that meant rushing out to the Elk City Wal-Mart before dawn with a handful of credit cards and no willpower.
So, I drove into Elk from my mother in-law’s farm near Hammon and arrived at the Wal-Mart store at 4:50 a.m. The store opened in 10 minutes, and I discovered about 300 of my closest friends were already waiting in the parking lot.
I took my place at the back of the line and waited. Conversation revolved around the size of the crowd and the surprise that some folks had at seeing that many people standing in 27-degree weather in the parking lot of Wally World.
“I didn’t know there were this many crazy people in Elk City,” a man said to his wife as we waited.
Just as the doors to the store opened, the woman behind me enthusiastically told her two teen-age children, “remember, the only thing illegal today is murder!”
With that we surged through the doors. I wanted desperately to get back to the electronics aisle.
Apparently, so did about 80 percent of the crowd and total gridlock ensued.
I waded into the traffic jam searching for the bargain printer I had seen advertised in a newspaper insert. When I didn’t spot it, I feared the worst: super early bird shoppers had grabbed them up already.
But then I spotted a printer in the shopping cart of a woman who was trying to work her way against the traffic flow.
Where did you get that, I asked.
She pointed to the opposite end of the electronics section. I rushed out of the electronics aisle, detoured through the much-less-crowded men’s clothing department and arrived on the back side of electronics; it’s an old flanking maneuver I learned in previous Black Fridays.
There were the printers! I reached over the shopping cart of a woman stuck in traffic and grabbed one.
With most of the crowd still stalled in gridlock, I sailed through the checkout process and was back in my car in less than five minutes.
I checked “Wal-Mart” off my list and drove directly to the Atwoods store across town where a bargain lounge chair had my name written all over it.