Black days, indeed

There’s something wrong with the Puddinette. She’s has…um…a sickness. And I’m not talking about your common strain of strep here; I mean that she’s got a real problem, an addiction even. The target of her affliction starts with a ‘d’ and ends with an ‘s’, and it’s not designer drugs or daisy dukes. My lovely wife’s got a whole different type of problem.

I’m speaking, of course, of deals.

More specifically, I’m referring to the acquisition of them. She loves her some bargains and getting a good one is enough to make her giddy like a teenage boy with a brand new driver’s license, the keys to Dad’s car, and a hot date to the drive-in with Betty Mulcahey.

As you can imagine then, this whole Black Friday thing barks right up her alley. In fact, it makes her do things I would never think possible of my wife unless you told me she’d gone on a PCP bender first.

Thursday night at 9:30 (that’s PM, mind you), after a full day of entertaining all the members of our not-insubstantial families for Thanksgiving, she grabbed her stack of newspaper ads and her Christmas list, kissed me goodbye, and was off on the Hunt for Midnight Holiday Shopping Deals.

After the Thanksgiving festivities, and with a heavy load of L-Tryptophan coursing through my blood stream, I barely had the energy to tell her she was crazy. Instead, I wished her good luck with a vague, noncommittal wave. The glimmer in her eye suggested that luck would have nothing to do with it. The grabbing of phat bargains on Black Friday is apparently about key strategic decisions and clever tactics.

I have to admit that I’m not exactly a huge proponent of this day-after-Thanksgiving shopping craziness. In fact, I’m not a huge fan of shopping at all. One year, long ago, while helping Mother Puddin finish her own Christmas shopping, I found myself squeezed into a matchbox-sized bath-goods emporiums that pimped heavily scented lotions, gels, and sprays for every possible combination of botanical article in existence, plus a few I suspect some marketing guys came up with on a bet (really, who’s ever heard of “verbena” outside a place like that?). At any rate, as Mom perused the Cherry Blossom Morning Fog lotions, I looked around and realized that there were no fewer than 30 middle aged women standing between me and the store entrance no matter which path I might chose to take though the store’s labyrinth of display tables. I got an instant case of panic sweat and calmly informed my mother that if we didn’t exit immediately, I was going to start throwing punches in a crazed dash for the light of day.

I think the maniacal look on my face made it quite plain that I wasn’t kidding around. Luckily she asked no questions and we left before a riot broke out.

Don’t misunderstand, that was just your standard pre-Christmas Wednesday afternoon in December. Nothing as ridiculous as the kind of gang shopping you have on Black Friday. In other words, I simply lack the appropriate coping mechanisms for that sort of pandemonium.

The Puddinette, though, she’s all-in with the crazies. Ironically, I can’t get her to stand in line at an amusement park for more than three minutes. If you tell her there’s a half-priced deal on something we probably don’t even need at the end of a 30 minute wait, though, suddenly she has the patience of Gandhi.

I woke up at 4:15 Friday morning (yes, AM), and found myself alone in bed. My wife was still hot on the trail of sales. At 6, she finally rolled in, a blaze of sleep-deprived delirium and celebratory giddiness. She had sought bargains, and they fell before her; the mighty Bargain Huntress.

Later, after a few hours of sleep shaved the edge off her madness, she recounted the terrifying things she’d witnessed the night before. The worst of those included lines of humanity to get into a toy store that stretched through a parking lot and into the suburban neighborhoods beyond, sidewalk campers (tents included) waiting for a pre-dawn store opening, and even a numbered line that formed at midnight to wait until at least 5 AM in which you were required to personally stand the entire time, save for a handful of 15 minute potty breaks.

The Puddinette managed to avoid most of that lunacy. She did have to wait in a line for just under an hour for something, but that seems rather tame by comparison. She also did tell me that there’s no way she’d wait in line for anything for five hours unless there was a free car at the end of it.

For me, this business smacks of seriously irrationally behavior. Is saving some money really worth all of this? Then again, I really don’t understand it for any purpose. I’m told that people camp out for movies, concert tickets, and video games appliances. No, thank you, I’ve never needed anything right away so badly that it required greeting dawn’s early light from a camping chair on a sidewalk. But then, this is me we’re talking about. As a rule, I’d prefer not see the sun until it’s nearly reached its daily zenith , and I haven’t been a huge fan of camping since the day I realized I have just as much fun in the apparently lesser indoors as people find in the great outdoors.

Regardless, my wife pulled an all-nighter yesterday, driving herself very close to a break with reality in the name of scoring major deals. Is it wacky? Probably. Would I ever do it? I seriously doubt it. Should I talk the Puddinette out of it next year in an effort to save her sanity?

Oh, hell, no! Not only does she apparently have a great time out there, she saves me some mad cash on gift giving.

My wallet and I are happy to enable this sort of behavior.

As long as she doesn’t ever come home drooling.

Next year, I’m hoping she scores me a car. I’ll be sleeping peacefully in the meantime.


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