Today was the biggest shopping day of the season, and what did I do? I stayed in bed. I wasn’t about to get up at three in the morning to stand in line at Wal-Mart, no matter how much money I could save on a 32 inch television. That sort of thing is something you do once in your life, and I already did my time.
It was a lifetime ago. At least it seems that way. It was Christmas 1998 and it was the year the Furby—the furry little talking robot toy that looked like one of the Gremlins, before they ate after midnight—hit the store shelves. It was the most popular toy that year, and nearly impossible to get your hands on one. The only surefire way to get one for Christmas was to stand in line at any toy store at three am when the doors would open on Black Friday.
I wasn’t overly interested in a Furby, myself. My kids hadn’t requested one, so I had no intention to lose any sleep on the day after Thanksgiving just to buy an overpriced toy.
My sister had other ideas. And she was determined to pull me into her plans.
My younger sister has always found inventive ways to earn extra money, and this particular year her idea was to buy as many Furbys as we could get our hands on, and sell them for more than what we paid.
On paper it sounded ingenious. In reality, it was horrible.
We were not the only ones who were planning on turning a profit on Furbys. There were hundreds of people standing outside the local Wal-Mart. I lost count of all the people whispering about where they would sell their treasures. The rest of the crowd was there to fulfill the wishes of their own children. And then the store manager risked life and limb to squeeze out the door to inform the growing line that there were far more people in line than Furbys in the store, and we would be given tickets in order of our place in line. Each ticket could purchase one Furby.
This meant that we would only have two Furbys to sell on the black market. That is, if we survived the running of the bulls once they opened the doors to let everyone in.
Somehow we survived. It was a close call…there was more than one scary woman with a black belt in shopping pushing her way through the jam packed aisles. But we got our Furbys and escaped Wal-Mart, and with several hours left before sunrise, I was more than ready to head back home and crawl into my nice warm bed.
Again, my sister had other ideas.
The toy store at the local mall didn’t open until five, so we had plenty of time to get there for another chance to buy a few Furbys. We piled back into the car and headed to the mall.
The line wasn’t as long at the mall, but the stash of Furbys was even smaller. Somehow we still managed to get our one Furby per person and make it back home just before dawn.
I don’t remember how much the Furby’s sold for, but I do remember that it wasn’t the huge profit my sister was expecting. Certainly not enough to stand in line for hours in the middle of the night. Definitely not enough to withstand the pushing and shoving by women with rollers in their hair at the local Wal-Mart.
But I suppose it was one of those things you just have to do…once. And then never do again.
Sort of like pole dancing…or self bikini waxing.
Until the next time…I’ll still be cleaning up the kitchen from Thanksgiving!