writercize #129: "Create a dialogue centered around a question of ownership."
We are a consuming nation. We buy stuff we want, we need, and we get just because someone else has that same thing. Then there’s Black Friday. It's the single biggest day of low price sales. However shoppers swarm to the stores like all the items were free. Normally I just spend the day after Thanksgiving resting and eating leftovers. So how do I find myself sitting in the car in the wee hours of the morning on November 25th, driving loops in a parking lot? Of all the people in the world, my boyfriend caught the Black Friday Fever. We were sitting together on the couch at his house earlier in the week and he said, “Cindy, I’m thinking about buying myself a new television set.” I nodded affirmatively unaware of where the conversation was leading. He carefully mentioned he knew of a great Black Friday sale on HD flat screens and DVD players. I said it wasn’t a good idea, he artfully argued that I should come along with him. I gave in.
We eventually found a parking space at the far edge of the lot. We trekked across the whole parking lot to the department store entrance. Passing the threshold of the automatic doors I was greeted with a roar of concentrated murmuring of the masses of people. Being in the store I was suddenly grasped by a state of urgency by looking into the eyes of other shoppers rushing around with baskets of stuff. My boyfriend seemed completely in his element with a determined look on his face.
We decided to split up. He went to the electronics section while I browsed the women’s clothing. I had to admit, the prices were very appealing. I soon found myself with a handful of blouses. I was searching through a rack of jeans slashed to the tempting price of five dollars and ninety-nine cents. I found an adorable pair that was my size. I lifted the hanger off the bar, but there was a resistance keeping me from pulling them off the rack. I saw a hand grasping it on the other side. I looked over the top of the rack and my eyes met with another woman’s. Neither of us was letting go. I smiled faintly, “excuse me.”
“Excuse yourself,” the other woman scoffed and pulled.
“I realize this is an awkward situation but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude.”
“Whatever, why don’t you go get yourself some other jeans.”
“This is the only pair left on this rack that are my size.”
“This is my size too. However, you might do better by trying a size larger.”
“I beg your pardon!”
“Quick being such a stick in the mud and let go of the jeans.” I looked over at her cart.
“You already have a lot of items, I’m sure you can do without one pair of jeans.”
“Their mine, I found them first.”
“No, I found them first.” She gave the jeans a jerk, which I returned with a pull. Another older shopper had overheard us and commented,
“Ladies, where are you manners?”
“This is none of your business,” the other woman snapped. The other shopper quickly withdrew from us, her sensibilities insulted. I sighed and let go of the jeans.
“You can lose yourself over a pair of jeans.” The other woman gave me a glare. With the jeans she pushed her cart-full of loot away.