Believe it or not, my life DOES involve more than just shopping.
And just to prove it, today I shall write about er.... um.... travel!
Okay, sure. It's about travelling to a mall, but it does involve drama, horror and overcoming incredible odds. All the ingredients for a stirring tale.
Then again, mebbe not.
It's really about *sigh* shopping.
For the past month, daughter and I have been eaglerly anticipating our first-ever "Black Friday". You see, as mild-mannered Canucks, the closest thing we have to the frenzy known as Black Friday is "Boxing Day" (born from the English tradition of giving to the poor the day after Christmas). We just had to satisfy our morbid curiosity of this strange phenomenon, so I booked our usual hotel room near the Mall of America (natch) for a few days of UCB (Uber-Consumerism-Blissfulness).
Finally the big day came: November 25th. Travel Day. American Thanksgiving. Like a scene straight out of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, we eagerly jumped out of our beds way-too-early on the morning of our eight-hour drive to witness Mother Nature's cruel joke:
I highly doubted we were going anywhere. But I shook my fist at the grey clouds, wiped the huge fluffy snowflakes out of my eyes, dug out the car, checked online to find no highway closures and stubbornly began our trip.
It was a slow start. Did I say slow? More akin to agonizingly, frustratingly snail-like.
The first hour was spent inching our way inside the city limits, at the blazing speed of 2 miles/hour on average, taking nearly an hour to drive the distance it usually takes ten minutes to travel.
Well, daughter, congratulations. We made it to Starbucks.
Down the street.
Crap. That bitch Mother Nature was winning.
More than once I flirted with the crazy idea to turn around, but we perservered. The Mall was calling.
Once we got out onto the highway, it wasn't as bad as expected. There were some tense white-out moments, but the traffic was very light -- a combination of the weather and the fact that most Americans were watching football, the Macy's parade and/or preparing to pass out after gorging on Thanksgiving turkey no doubt.
As we passed the halfway mark just beyond Fargo, the clouds parted and the light dusting of white Minnesota laughingly calls "snow" was a beautiful sight. With Sam's co-piloting expertise, we made the trip in just over our usual summer-travelling time.
Take THAT, Mother Nature! Woot!
After an early bedtime, daughter and I awoke at 3 am, wondering what we would encounter when we got to the MoA. Would we get a parking spot? Would there be lineups out the door? Would we need our extra-thick winter outerwear to keep warm as we huddled at the door, awaiting the Grand Opening? And worst of all, would I ever be able to stop this annoying habit of asking myself questions?
We parked in the nearly deserted parkade. We walked through the heated skywalk and into the Mall like it was any other day. Actually, it was very surreal: the Mall of America at 4 am on Black Friday.... other than a lineup at Best Buy (which we smartly circumvented) there was barely a shopper in sight:
Even at 2 pm when we were ready to return to our hotel to collapse amid our pile of shopping bags, the crowds weren't as bad as I had been lead to believe...
Well, now. I do think we have been taken in.
All the hype. All those dire warnings, news reports and nay-sayers.... pffft! Our Boxing Day crowds are worse. Of course, they're not spread out in the vast wasteland that is known as the MoA.... I am guessing you could have hundreds of thousands of shoppers there without realizing it.
So now at least I can say "been there, done that" when someone speaks of dum, dum, dum.... "Black Friday!"
Yep, I'm glad we went. We got a lot of great deals, had a terrific mother-daughter mini-vacation and Sam even made a new friend too.
And best of all... we didn't let Mother Nature win.
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