The Square Peg - Black and Blue Friday or Bingo Bob Goes Shopping
© S. Bradley Stoner
I ran into Bingo Bob last Thursday evening. I was walking off that extra helping of stuffing and a piece of pumpkin pie. Hey, pumpkin is a squash so it counts as a vegetable, right? Besides, Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so I’m entitled to a little self-indulgence. I mean, geez, I’m careful about what I eat all the rest of the year, except maybe for Christmas, Easter, and the Fourth of July... oh, and Halloween every other year. Okay, okay... so I get a little carried away periodically, but it’s not like I don’t exercise every day... except, of course, when it’s raining out, below 50° or over 110°. I mean, really, who wants to exercise in those conditions? You could catch cold, or, worse yet, die of heat stroke. Who wants that?
Anyhow, like I said, I ran into Bingo Bob. He was loading his folding camp chair... you know the one made out nylon with cup holders in the arms on a tubular steel frame that folds up so you can put it in a nylon tube with a carrying strap... and a sleeping bag into his truck.
“Whatcha doin’, Bob?” I called.
“Gettin’ ready for Ferguson Friday.”
Bob shrugged. “The wife said ‘Black Friday’ is racist, so I figured Ferguson Friday wouldn’t be so offensive.”
“Geez Bob, I wouldn’t say that in public,” I replied, recalling the coverage of the protests over a police shooting in Missouri. “I’d stick with Black Friday.”
“Whatever,” Bob returned. “I’m gonna hit Walmart at midnight, then rush over and camp out at Best Buy... they’ve got some terrific deals on big screen TVs and video games.”
“Don’t you have a big screen TV?” I asked, recalling the 40 inch LCD in his family room.
Yeah, but I’m gonna get one of those 55 inchers to put in the family room and then I’ll move the 40 incher into the bedroom and get rid of that little one I have in there.”
“You know it’s supposed to rain pretty hard tonight.”
“Yep,” Bob beamed. “It’ll thin the crowd. Besides, I’m ready for it... got my rain gear and a big tarp right here. Hey... I’ll walk with you if you give me a sec... gotta keep in fighting trim. Got a six pack right here,” he added, patting his ample midsection.”
“Maybe, but it looks like you stacked a keg on top of it.”
Bob belched. “Whoa... ‘scuse me. Too much turkey.”
We set out, Bob babbling happily about all the different video games he was going to buy for his kids, his nephews, his nieces, and, of course, himself. He was really excited about some new Call of Duty thing. “Boy, you can really get into that... it’s just like the real thing.”
“Except for the real bullets, bombs and blood,” I mumbled.
“Never mind. You’re not going to get into any fights over stuff, are you?” I asked.
“Naw... that’s just the stuff they show on TV to scare everybody away from packing the stores. Besides, if you ever noticed those fights always happen in New York, LA or some other big city. Won’t happen here.”
“You do realize that we are the seventh largest city in the country, right?”
“Aw go on,” Bob scoffed. “I don’t believe it. Are you serious?”
“Oh well,” Bob smiled, “this is Texas... not Jersey... now back there where I came from, you can bet there’ll be plenty of fights. Especially if they have limited numbers of sale items. I’ve seen some doozies in my life, but let’s face it... if you want the deal, you just can’t back down.”
“I’ll bet you’d save as much or more if you waited for Cyber Monday.”
“Maybe, but then you have to have somebody home all the time until it comes or someone will swipe your stuff off the porch... don’t you watch the news.”
I reminded Bob that I was retired and could pretty well guarantee that I’d be home during the interval I expected a package.
Bob suddenly stopped. “Hey, it’s been nice walkin’ and talkin’ with ya, but I think I’ll head home, visit a bit and take a nap. I wanna be fresh come eleven o’clock so I can get to the Walmart.”
I finished my walk in relative silence. Even the kids in the neighborhood must have been too stuffed to go out and play. So, the birds, the barking dogs, and the city traffic kind of had things to ourselves until I got back home.
I did see Bob the next day. He looked worse for wear... a lot worse. He had two black eyes, a cut on the bridge of his nose, and a big bruise on his chin. “Holy crap, Bob... I thought you were going to steer clear of fights!”
“Wasn’t a fight,” Bob said miserably. “I rushed inside with the rest of the crowd when Best Buy opened at five in the morning and made a bee line for those big screen TVs, and I didn’t see a small display when I maneuvered around a bunch of gawkers. To make a long story short, I tripped over the display, went flying, and smacked into about four of those big TVs on stands. That started sort of a chain reaction and two of the sets landed on my face. The manager also told me before the EMTs left that I owed them for seven big screen TVs.”
“Should have waited for Cyber Monday,” I said. I’m pretty sure that Bob gave me the finger, but who could tell with those hands wrapped up in bandages?