Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 25--The Experience is What You Make of It.

So, in our house we are big on "experiences". It's why when I took the girls to NYC this year, we had dessert at midnight. It wasn't really about the cheesecake. It was about being able to order dessert in a diner with other patrons at MIDNIGHT, because in rural Alabama everything closes at 9:00, and you certainly won't see anyone else out and about at that time of night (unless they are shooting off fireworks or spotlighting deer). Ahem.

We ordered the cheesecake at midnight after the theatre for the experience of it.

The Wonder Twins excited about their first Black
Friday shopping extravaganza.
Black Friday is sort of like that with me. I like the hustle and the excitement. I have a short list of stuff I hope might happen, but it's really about the cafe latte at midnight, seeing the people huddled up in sleeping bags, sitting in camping chairs, wrapped around the Best Buy four hours before it opens. It's about getting those pajamas you didn't know you wanted for $4.88. It's experience.

Needless to say, the Wonder Twins were on FIRE to go Black Friday Shopping this year (me, not so much), but I let them talk me into it. Literally armed with $20.00 cash each, we headed out at 8:30 p.m. (after a long day of three Thanksgiving Dinners) to our local shopping mall approximately 40 miles one way from our house. The girls were freaking out excited. They laughed so hard at the folks around Best Buy and Target. We drove past the movie theater to see what was playing, but nothing we were interested in was on at 9:30. So, we ate hash brown rounds and flavored water and wandered into Wal-Mart at around 9:45 p.m.

That red thing at the bottom of the photo is one of the
cardboard kiosks I refer to in this blog.
Wal-Mart is the Big Momma of Marketing Strategy. They have one sale of stuff at 10, another at 12, and another at 2:00 a.m., so you just keep standing and standing and standing and buying and buying and buying.

Since we didn't have anything in mind, we just waited for that rush to subside and then picked over the leavings, harvesting quite a few fancy bargains. The girls just liked the excitement factor, but it's also a powerful Real Life Teaching Moment happening all around you.

So, we talked and people watched and wandered around until I saw something really choice on sale with no one standing in front of it. Huh. I looked at the girls, they looked at me, and I asked if we want to go for it. They both eagerly nodded, even though it meant two hours standing in a line that may or may not get a little rowdy.

I'll tell that story in a moment, but here are some Life Lesson Discussions in Wal-Mart standing in line for a popular electronic from 10:15 until midnight:

1) Now, the Wonder Twins are as tall as I am, so this isn't some kind of child endangerment issue, but there were some folks who had baby-babies and toddlers in that store. Like I saw several six-weekers in there. No joke. Are you crazy? DHR ought to set up at the door and if you took your preschool kids into that mess they ought to be taken from you, SHAME ON YOU!

2) You also have the unique opportunity to see what the Real World looks like for a few, brief moments, and it's the best argument ever for private school. Piercings, tattoos, boobs hanging out everywhere...a chance to see live and in person that the whole world is not on your wavelength. (Yes, I am insulating my children, and your point is.....)

3) People have equal parts nutcake and good Samaritan in them--it just depends on which side is being fed more at the time.
All of those VERY large men waiting to mob the
Boost Mobile phone display.
I'm standing on the side of the aisle with MP3 players and cameras. All super low priced. On the other side, only a cardboard kiosk standing chest level across from me is Teresa, a merchandise manager. Teresa is blonde, late 40's/early 50's, and weighs about 100 lbs. To my left is a police officer who is trying to manage about 50 very large males who are waiting to snatch and grab 15 Boost Mobile phones (15 phones/50 large people = this is Trouble Brewing). I am pressed against the cardboard kiosk approximately 18 inches from Teresa who is on the other side in front of some touch screen Smart Talk Mobile phones, and we are surrounded by 150 or so people.

Now, the folks on my side of the cardboard box are moms trying to buy cheap MP3's and point and shoot cameras for kids. There's not much aggression at all, we are laughing, know each other's names by the two hour wait ending, etc. On the other side, waiting on the cheap phones are a large group of young who are pierced, teeth rotting out of their heads, tattoos, pink bras showing through tank tops (It's November), and just a different sort of group.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Because I am Me, I start making jokes, singing carols, and doing a little dance every time we count off five minutes. I also realize that the crowd is large and becoming agitated, so I send the girls and our buggie off to produce to wait on me, just to get some space (okay, a LOT of space) between the Boost Mobile Maniacs/Straight Talk Maniacs and my offspring.

I grasp that perhaps Teresa is on the wrong side of this box, so I jokingly say, "Hey, I've got a GREAT idea! I'm the preacher's wife and this is like a gift from God! I've totally got a captive audience here, so I'm going to share the gospel with all of you." :-) I get a few laughs, and then I do it. I tell about Christ coming as a baby, but not staying that way. I tell that He came to save us from our sins and that if we repent and seek Him, He will be faithful to hear us and forgive us and restore us to the Father. I even pray at the end (at which time exactly eight or nine cell phones fire off, so I know that the Holy Spirit was moving). I'm not particularly good at sharing my testimony like this, so it was a personal spiritual victory. Now, in front of me, everyone has gotten quiet, and even if there were some eye-rolls, everyone was tolerant.
The girls entertaining themselves
while we wait.
About ten minutes later, all heck broke loose. Someone snatched a Boost phone five minutes before midnight and that was the mob cue to attack. Teresa didn't stand a chance. She was not only being crushed half to death, and I could see her face pretty well since she was trying to come over that cardboard on top of me, but she was being pushed down by people taller and bigger trying to reach over her. All thoughts of getting my hands on a stupid music player or camera were lost in that second, and instead of reaching for those things, I reached for Teresa.

I pulled her back up to her feet from the floor (on the other side of the cardboard box, so this was quite a leaning act), and began screaming, "Stop! Stop! You are NOT animals!" at the top of my lungs. (How loud was I? The twins heard me in the produce aisle screaming from the electronics department.)

I guess someone saw my superhero body suit and matching cape under my Alabama sweatshirt, because everyone froze for three full seconds, giving me plenty of time to move the kiosk (and the people pushing behind me) about six inches, enough for Teresa to squeeze through to our side and directly into the arms of the police officer. I'm not going to lie, I thought for a second that crowd was going to crush that woman on the floor. She thought it too based on the crying and ambulance that came afterwards.

The girls entertaining themselves
in the produce aisle with my
phone, far from the action. Evidently,
there isn't a rush on onions.
I made sure she was okay (this took a little time), and me and my empty arms carrying no bargains headed back to the produce aisle to collect my children. When I rounded the corner, there were the twins and three people who had been around me while we waited those two hours. Those three people--two women and a man--collected between them all of the things that I had been waiting on but missed out on when I got Teresa onto my side of the kiosk. They didn't have close to my personal order, they had it exactly:

Four MP3 players--one in each color, matching earbuds--all four colors, two cameras, two cases--one in each colr, two SD cards, etc. I almost cried. Those people took care of me. God took care of me through these people.

We were in line to check out, laughing and talking and full of excitement from how God had blessed us, and a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Ma'am? I heard what you said in the back, and, well, we've put three of these ticketed doorbuster 32" HDTVs in our buggy, but we only need two. Would you like the third one?" I asked what I had to pay her for it, and she laughed, "Nothing! I couldn't figure out how I got three in the first place, and then I heard you share the gospel and saw what you did and we just want to give it to you."

The one thing that The Husband really, really wanted this year that I had no hope at all of ever getting my hands on, a flat screen HDTV at a doorbuster price (because that's the only way in the universe we would ever afford one) fell right into my lap.

Are you kidding me? I'm right you know; sometimes it's just about the experience.

1 comment:

Julia said...

That is so AWESOME & I am so proud of you! What a testimony! God is so good.