Ah the holidays. Capitalism at its finest. Supposedly November 26 and onward is the most wonderful time of the year. Personally, I think it’s the most stressful time of the year. At least it is for a college student who has a minimum wage job trying to help pay off mounds and mounds of student debt. As you can imagine, I don’t have much money to spend on Christmas gifts. I always try my best though. A present for my two siblings and something small for my parents.
But the worst part isn’t even the money. It’s not trying to figure out what to buy people. It’s actually being stuck in the mall on Black Friday.
I participate in Black Friday. I have to because of the discounts obviously. 50% off of a Star Wars Lego set for my 10-year-old brother? Yes please.
So if you’re wondering, I’m currently surrounded by hoards of people in line for a Cinnabon. I need to have sustenance for the day ahead of me, alright? The sweet scent of cinnamon and icing is really too hard to resist. Although to be honest, I don’t have a very strong willpower anyway.
I’m clutching my purse really tight right now. I’m a bit nervous about getting robbed. Knowing me, I would just let the thief run off with my bag instead of chasing him and causing a scene. Social anxiety is a bitch.
After 30 minutes of standing in line for a gooey warm cinnamon roll that will likely give me enough calories to last a week, I start on my expedition.
Time to find a Hot Topic store. My 14-year-old sister is madly in love with all seven BTS members and I heard that Hot Topic sold some of their merch, so off I go! I must admit, I listen to the K-pop group at least 5 times a week. Don’t judge me, ok? They have some great songs.
Eventually, I find a mall map that doesn't have 30 people crowded around it. This one has 29 people huddled around the screen. If I position my head correctly and squint just hard enough (thanks for the shitty eye genes mom) I can see the little dot that says where Hot Topic is.
I continue on my trek, jostling more than one person and mumbling ‘sorry’ more times than I do when traversing my college hallways, and I make it to the store.
At that moment, I’m rather grateful that I’m wearing a long overcoat, black jeans and a beanie. I seem to fit in with the crowd.
Then, my worst fear happens. An employee comes up to me.
“Are you finding everything you’re looking for?” She asks.
I’m sure she’s nice, but I really don’t want to talk to anyone right now.
“Yeah I am, thank you,” I say, throwing her a quick smile and moving over to the BTS section.
I soon decided on a shooky keychain and a Namjoon funko pop for my sister.
I left the store $25.49 poorer than before.
Time to focus on my brother's gift. Derek is a little menace, but I’m not gonna skimp out on his gift just because he purposefully put salt in my grape juice during Thanksgiving.
I take a quick peek at the line to get into the Lego store and immediately walk the other direction. I’ll come back later...maybe.
In the meantime, I proudly carry my Hot Topic bag through the mall while searching for a place to buy chocolate. A chocolate shop. My mom has this obsession with chocolate. Especially mochas from Starbucks. I wonder if it’s sort of a 50-year-old mom thing. Who knows.
Eventually my eyes land on the jackpot. Aha! There she is, in all of her glory. (I always have wondered why people often refer to inanimate objects as ‘she’) Anyway, I see the “Irresistible Coco” chocolate shop. My savior. Buying my mom chocolate is sort of a tradition. Well, my family forcibly made it a tradition because it’s basically the only thing anyone gets her.
Of course, there’s probably 20 other people squished together in the shop, but I’m determined. When Maya gets determined, there’s nothing stopping her. (Yes I just referred to myself in 3rd person, get over it.)
I wiggle around to make myself some space in the mob and wait in the line. Well, it’s not really a line. Details. While I’m waiting, I make my selections. 5 of the raspberry truffles, 5 of the coffee truffles, 2 peanut butter cups and 5 of the mint chocolate brownies. As I’m ordering, I notice that the cashier is probably flirting with me, but I decidedly ignore it. I can’t forgo my mission.
I continue through the fellow humans until I reach the hardware store. I selected a red hammer for my dad because honestly, what else do dads want for Christmas? It’s more expensive than I thought, but it looks cool...right? It’s a...nice scarlet color.
I now have 4 bags in my hands including my purse and I think I look like a true black Friday shopper right now. I’m kind of proud of myself.
Now, back to the lego store. The line is a bit shorter but still doable. No line will ever beat the length of the one I had to stand in with my sister at her BTS concert just to get a photocard.
While I wait, I mess around on my phone a bit. Most of the people in the line seem agitated. I don’t blame them. I look up and see a middle-aged woman yelling at a customer service worker. I roll my eyes. They’re not getting paid enough to deal with this shit.
“Where’s your holiday spirit?” I mumble.
Finally I get let into the store. I make a beeline for the Star Wars section, my eyes darting between the Lego sets. A good amount of them are sold out. All except for an x-wing.
“You’re mine now,” I say while snatching the set.
Once it’s all bagged up, I leave the store swinging my purchases. My Black Friday shopping spree has come to an end. Maybe it wasn’t really as bad as I was expecting.
Now comes the best part once I get home. Wrapping the gifts in some sparkling paper and smacking a bow on top! I might end up using a gift back if I become more lazy than normal.
I sit back in my car and let out a sigh. Before I realized it, a smile had crept up on my face. Because yes, shopping may be stressful, I may have spent way too much money, but it’s Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Whether I acknowledge it or not, I have a lot of Christmas spirit buried deep down. It’s a time for giving and a time to spend time with family. Also an opportunity to eat a bunch. So yes, I love Christmas and I can’t wait until I have to go on another Black Friday shopping spree next year.