Black Friday Blitz: Shopper recounts Mall of America marathon

I sat anxiously all throughout Thanksgiving dinner as the clock seemed to be ticking in slow motion.  My mind was going insane as I had to get out of the four-legged monster that had me glued to the floor.

But there was nothing I could do.  We are all at my aunt’s house, only 25 minutes away from our hotel, which is connected to the Mall of America. Of course, the rest of my family is trying to do the exact opposite of making time go fast. It’s like they enjoy seeing me squirm. I feel like a child again as my mom says to me,“If you ask when we are leaving one more time, there will be consequences.” I can tell she is getting annoyed by my constant questioning of when we are leaving, but the only thing on my mind is Black Friday.

I start to get anxious as time starts to run out. Most stores opened at 6. It’s now 7:14, and we haven’t left. Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Journeys, Pacsun: they have now been open for a whole hour, and I’m worried the other shoppers, who have doubled as clothes-starved animals rummaging through shirts and shoes careless of what stands in their way, will already acquire anything that would catch my eye.

We finally leave around 7:30. I tell my parents to drive as fast as they can so that we can get to the mall by 8. Nike opens at 8. We arrive at our hotel at exactly 7:50. My brother and I instantly get out of the car and rush into the hotel so that we can get to the mall.

We race to Nike on the West side of MOA, and we arrive around 8:10. But we’re good, we get there just in time. The music is booming throughout Nike as we shopped. Directly after Nike I go into Victoria’s Secret. The store is insane, flooding with people everywhere. I’m intimidated as I walk past the four security guards to enter the store overflowing with energetic teenage girls determined to get what they came for. I make it out with new leggings and a sweatshirt, but I know I better hurry, as I have many more stores that I need to hit before everything gets picked over.

I feel bad as my brother does not leave my side the whole night; he said I shouldn’t be walking around the mall alone. After 45 minutes of standing faithfully by my side, my brother, Sam, sighs and sits down by an outlet in the dead middle of Forever 21. I go to him for advice on which jewelry I should buy, and he willingly offers his suggestion.

As we are waiting in the 30-minute-long line to check out of the store, I see it. This beautiful, gold, shiny, gorgeous necklace. What is even more amazing about this necklace, it is $7. I instantly race over to grab it off the rack, forcing Sam to hold my spot in line. I make it back just in time as I am up to pay. Ironically, my brand new, deal-breaking, shiny gold necklace, broke the next day.

At this point in the night, we have been shopping for a solid three hours, and are starting to get extremely hungry. Actually, starting would be an understatement. Sam has been starving the whole time we have been here, but I just have to tell him that at this moment, food is the least of my worries.

Reluctantly, I go with him to the food court. My other brother, Adam, meets us there, and I try to make things go as quickly as possible. This is the point in the night that changes my feelings towards it all.

As I am going up to swipe my debit card at Panda Express, instead of it going through and me getting the sesame chicken that I ordered, I end up receiving the news that no shopper ever wants to hear. “Your card has been declined,” the lady at the cashier says to me.

I am in shock, Adam is laughing and the cashier gives me an apologetic smile. I realize I have used up all of my money, and all I have left is the cash I have with me. I get a quick lecture from my brother about how stupid I am, but honestly, this doesn’t change my feelings towards anything, and I know that I am going to continue shopping the same way I was before. I hurry them along, trying to get to the next store as quickly as possible.

After Forever 21, we continue throughout the mall to many more stores. My brother continues to stay by my side, growing more and more tired with every new store, but never actually admitting it. We push on to more stores, and at one point I receive a text from my brother saying, “I am sleeping in the corner. Come wake me up when you are ready to leave”

By this time I know that I should probably think about heading back. I end my shopping of the night at American Eagle, spending a whole hour debating which color flannel I liked better and which socks were the fuzziest. Sam said blue, but I ended up with red.

I snag a few more good deals, and then, six hours from when I started, I decide to call it a night.

I have learned a few things from this crazy experience. One being never try to go Black Friday shopping alone. You always need a partner, for a couple reasons. One reason, to hold your spot in line, and two so that you don’t impulsively buy something.

Some might also say I learned to always know how much money is in my spending account, but that didn’t change my shopping experience at all.

We end up calling it a night and walking through the long hallway past Caribou Coffee back into the Radisson Blu Hotel where we are staying and go to sleep. Just to wake up the next day and do it all over again.

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