Blissfully drunken with holiday cheer and the much needed four day weekend, Chris and I became horrible parents, of the over-permissive variety.

“Sure honey, you can turn the hardwood stairs into a slip ‘n slide!”

“Why not? Of course you can drive today!”

“Oh, you want to drive like your little brother? Okay, Ali! You can have the next turn!”

We were both so carefree and celebratory that if Ali had asked us for a pink pony with a purple glitter tail and five hooves, we would have probably cheerfully agreed and set out to the nearest Custom Bred Pony Farm to order one.

As proof of our overly-indulgent attitude, here is an outline of Ali’s diet:


Breakfast: per request, Cinnamon Rolls.

Lunch: per request, a “Camping Snack”, which consisted of a mixture of Phineas and Ferb Gummies, M & M’s, peanuts, raisins, and yogurt covered raisins.

Thanksgiving Dinner: I didn’t even try to get Ali to eat a casserole or dressing or any other such goodness that filled our table. I just fixed her a plate full of fruit, turkey and deviled eggs and called it a night.

Black Friday:

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pudding.

Lunch: Frozen Yogurt with all the toppings.

(“Mommy, it’s SO fun to eat Banana Pudding for breakfast and ice cream for lunch!!! Why don’t we do this every day?!?”)

Dinner: Chicken and fries.

Obviously, we are in need of a major intervention.

While the children held their stomachs and moaned, Chris and I spent Friday morning enjoying the delights of Black Friday accounts on Twitter, such as the Great Bedsheet Riot at the Trussville Wal-Mart and the infamous Midnight Tazing at the Florence Wal-Mart:

Black FridayPhoto as retweeted by @Spann – I would give original photo credit to whoever was brave enough to BE at the Florence Wal-Mart in the middle of the night, but despite my research, the original documenter seems to have gotten lost in the confusion.

Though we enjoyed a healthy portion of shaking our heads at the madness and declaring that no deal was worth that, a few hours later, in our state of debonair holiday spiritedness, we….went shopping.

On Black Friday.

With two kids in tow.

With two kids in tow that had eaten nothing but sugary frivolities for two days straight.

We headed out to the Outlet Mall, highly anticipating enjoying the beautiful, sunny day as we meandered down the outdoor aisles. And, much to our delight, there were actually parking spaces available!! And air to breathe!!

It actually wasn’t bad at all, which may be a doomsday sign for Black Friday actually being black, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. The hardcores had obviously already gone home to nap, and the crowds that were left was a fascinating mixture of of Amish people and foreign tourists.

Although I was a bit puzzled at what the Amish people were buying at the outlet mall, the foreign tourists were the most entertaining. I mean – it’s BIRMINGHAM, people – I love it here and all, but… who mixed up your airline tickets??

There was the woman in Gymboree…yelling at her kid in, after I studied intently for a moment, what I convinced myself was Slovak.


Then there was the Chinese Mom tormenting her tween son. She was in full tourist get-up (it makes me happy that us Americans aren’t the only ones who sport such looks), desperately trying to take her son’s photo.

First at the cement benches. He sat with his head buried in his lap, as she waited patiently from ten feet away, camera aimed, knees bent, smiling and coaxing, button on the trigger, ready to snap the world’s most boring photo.

(I awkwardly tried to figure out how I could pass them without potentially making her miss her shot.)

Then we spotted them again, an hour later, this time with him posed in front of the outdoor Christmas tree, looking as mortified as if his underwear was hanging on the massive fake spruce behind him.

Then AGAIN a half an hour later, looking just as thrilled about his latest photo-op in front of the waterfall.

I mean, I love our outlet mall and all, but it’s no Lady Liberty or Mount Rushmore.

But, if Ali had asked us to take her to see Lady Liberty that day, we probably would have cheerfully agreed – after allowing her to stuff her face with more high fructose corn syrup.

So how about you? What’s your Black Friday philosophy? Did you drown in the maddening crowds, or stay at home and scoff in their general direction?

30 thoughts on “The Black Friday Buzz.

  1. Oh, my friend saw some Asian family in awe of a water tower…the were looking up without regard to the crick they were bound to have the next morning…snapping away at the massive light green globe…lol

  2. what is it about black friday and food?! It was me, eden, and baby caleb home alone that convinced me it was ok for eden to have applesauce and ritz crackers for lunch. She said that’s what she wanted, and I’m all about easy, so that was lunch! She wanted it again for dinner but I didn’t give in…we opted for the healthy choice of cereal instead! :)
    oh and just so you know…shopping here is like it’s black friday every day. the crowds. the rudeness. the lines. yikes!

  3. This is so funny. I see a lot of the foreign tourists here in Boston (although usually, I see people yelling at their kids in front of pretty important sites, not outlet malls). I feel bad for that kid!

    It has been too long since I’ve been to your site. Always good to come back! I love your stories – and I also love that picture of your kids in the header. So cool!

  4. I actually did go out this year. First time ever. Went to Walmart at 10, and then Kohl’s at midnight. The only reason I really went was to hang with some girlfriends. I picked up a few things but only got one really good deal (an electric skillet my husband has been wanting for 75% off – after rebate, of course). It was fun, but probably not something I would do again. :)

  5. I stay home on black Friday because A.) I used to be one of those poor retail workers who had to work Black Friday or be fired automatically therefore even though I had the flu and a fever well over 100 I went in at 2am to put up with people and their not very holiday friendly attitudes. I probably infected half the population of Brandon that day . B.) I hate crowds
    So no deal is worth it. I did however take advantage of Cyber Monday for the first time this year and got some really good deals.

  6. The Asian photographer is hilarious – but only because I’ve got ridiculous pictures of Tim and me in foreign countries in front of silly things that we thought were awesome at the time. Someday I hope we can take our kids abroad and that will totally be us. And what’s up with the Amish-looking women at outlet malls? I have twice seen groups of women and teenage girls in long homemade dresses, buns and sneakers shopping at different outlet malls. And then yesterday I saw a similar lady shopping with her kids at Bath and Body works. This just blows my own stereotypes out of the water.

  7. Poor Chinese kid! That’s hilarious! And isn’t eating whatever you want just part of the joy of the holidays – even for the adults? :)
    My mom and I have actually gotten pretty good at the Black Friday shopping. We’re only able to survive because we’ve become rather organized about it. We make a list of the items that we’d like to get and then prioritize them by the order of most importance. We know we’re going to have to get there approx. 3 hrs. early to get in line for the hottest item, so we have one person go stand in line, and the other goes around and scouts all the other deals, bringing them to the person in line to add to the shopping cart. This past BF, we were able to switch out who waited in line as well, which made the time go by faster. Of course, the web and smart phones have made this process easier and more comfortable in recent years! We also have a pretty awesome time just people-watching and talking to other people in line – ALL the interesting people come out of the wood-working for Black Friday! It’s definitely a fun but twisted mother-daughter bonding time!

  8. The only time I’ve truly participated in Black Friday was a few years ago when we were visiting one of my best friends for Thanksgiving. She worked at JBU at the time, so going to a Walmart at 4am in Arkansas on Black Frinday was almost more a ‘cultural experience’ than anything else! And it definitely did not disappoint. Hee-hee. :)

    1. Arkansas Wal-Marts are probably very akin to Alabama ones… a fascinating mixture of culture. That’s why I try my best to stay away from all Wal-Marts.

  9. We don’t have ‘Black Friday’ or anything like it! There are Boxing day sales, but they don’t go on all night and most people stay home or go to the beach or whatever (Christmas in summer – weird!).

      1. Nope.

        Actually, I’m not sure I’ve seen many American Christmas movies. I just saw ‘Arthur Christmas’ but I think that was a UK/ USA collaboration. I certainly haven’t seen Jim Carrey doing anything Christmassy as I find him super-obnoxious. Ditto “Home Alone”. Um… trying to think of more Christmas movies…

        Anyhoo, New Zealand was settled not that long ago by Britain (mid 1800’s) and still to some degree sees England as the ‘home country’. So I grew up with mainly English books (Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’) and carols about snow etc. at Christmas.

        We still do things like spray fake snow on shop fronts even though it’s sunny and hot. Some families (like my British mother-in-law) still have a full roast meal on the day, but many have moved to lighter food, BBQs, picnics etc.

        The worst thing about Christmas in summer is that there’s nothing to break up winter. We have a looooong patch with no public holidays and nothing to celebrate.

  10. While I really love an adventure I won’t even drive past a store on the Friday after Thanksgiving! You are brave!
    I am totally intrigued by the Amish people at the outlet mall in Birmingham. Where did they come from? Is there an Amish population around Birmingham that I’ve never hear of? Does the outlet mall sell prairie dresses and horse feed?

  11. Love Ali’s Thanksgiving diet!
    For Thanksgiving Aubrey ate her weight in Sister Schubert rolls and 2 tangerines.
    I decided to give myself props for the dosage of Vitamin C.
    My motto since November 24th: It’s the Holidays!
    It covers a multitude of sins. ;)

  12. I missed this post somehow. That is quite the menu for Thanksgiving! Haha :) Our girls are getting pretty picky too. I put the stuff on their plates but they don’t get much of it down. Our rule is that you have to try two bites of each food. If they only have to do one bite they declare that they don’t like it whether or not they actually do…they don’t take time to taste it. The second bite helps determine whether they can actually eat it or not. :)

    We went shopping but not till 7. Works SOOO much better than getting up with the crazies! We used to do that but waiting in lines for hours on end is just pointless. Especially when you are not a morning person. :)

  13. What a funny post! I stayed away from the early morning Black Friday hours. My husband and I went to visit my parents for Thanksgiving and had a date night that night. We went to eat and then went to the Gadsden Mall. There was almost no one there, and the mall that I thought was the greatest thing ever when I was a kid, was a disappointment. I guess I’ve been spoiled by Birmingham and Atlanta malls. The most interesting thing we saw that night was a girl who looked to be about 14 carrying around a newborn baby. It looked like she had stopped by the mall on the way home from the hospital. With her were what I think were the father of the baby who was a teenage boy and what I believe was the mother of the 14-year-old. The “mother of the 14-year old” looked like an older version of the girl, and she was playfully slapping and cutting up with the boyfriend. I thought it was so sad that she was more concerned with “fitting in” with her daughter’s boyfriend than being a mother.

  14. Ive never done it but I’m not opposed to the idea. I just have not had an item that I really wanted that had a super sale on black Friday. Now that I have 1 child and eventually more to come I think Ill, venture out sometime probably with friends because my husband would DIE?

  15. That walmart photo is hilarious, people never cease to amaze me!
    I started going Black Friday shopping at a very young age and except for one year have always loved it. That year my cousin had the brilliant idea to go to the Galleria at midnight. We waited in line outside in the freezing cold to be one of the first 100 shoppers to get a swag bag…the swag bag was a bust, and I think I only bought 1 thing that night. I am not a night person and was so tired & vowed to never do that again :)
    Since we are in Indiana every other year, I only go black Friday shopping when we are home. I went to the Galleria last year about 4 or 5 am, got some awesome deal, left by 10ish and missed all the crazy traffic.

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