The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Black Friday and the Hippie Friend

Posted by thedarwinexception on December 1, 2008


So, Joanne’s was fun. A lot of Val’s Amish friends were there, so I looked for Val, thinking since she takes them grocery shopping, surely she brought them to Joann’s – and the lines were crazy, but I ended up getting a bunch of stuff with my leftover Joann’s gift cards, and then having the joy of hiding everything in the sewing room and telling Paul “Joann’s sale? What Joann’s sale?” It’s a fact, Jack, if he knows I bought *ANYTHING* the guy will up and leave. I have WAYYYY too much stuff in the sewing room. Way. Too. Much. It’s like Joann’s Black Friday exploded in the sewing room – and that’s BEFORE this year’s Black Friday. I need to check at the hospital and see if they have CA meetings available – you know, Crafter’s Anonymous. Because I need an intervention – badly. I have a yarn and fabric sickness and it’s slowly getting out of control. Or maybe it’s not “slowly”, maybe it’s been happening for a while and I just refuse to acknowledge it.

Because, really, what’s not to love about yarn and fabric?

IN AFCA we were talking about Black Friday, and several people were wondering what all the fuss was about, so I wrote a post explaining the perils of the Joann’s Black Friday sale. I’ll reprint it here for your future reference. It’s a good starting primer for what to do and what not to do to survive this holiest of holy days: 

Well, Black Friday is my Christmas. We don’t celebrate actual Christmas day with presents and trees and crap, but I do get up at 4 AM on Friday and go to Joann’s for “Kim’s Christmas”. I have my gift cards in my hand that I’ve saved from the entire previous year, and I have all my coupons from being a “preferred customer”. I have a list of everything I want from the sale flyer and I have a map of the store that I’ve drawn highlighting where all the things are I want to get.

Then, I go to Joann’s. Now, this is tricky, since you MUST get there BEFORE they open, and you must be one of the first 50 or so in line. Our Joann’s is small, and they actually count people going in and won’t let in more people than the fire marshals allow. And they only have like 10 shopping carts. So, if you aren’t one of the first 10 people, you’re fucked and have to carry around bolts of fabric, or leave them on the cutting table in a pile and hope that no one steals your bolt. (I will steal bolts. And so will everyone else.) I’ve discovered that it’s best at this point to gauge the competition. Try to sidle in line behind the largest women there. Most likely, they are the ones who ate the most the day before, and thus are still feeling the most effects of the tryptophan and have the least shopping stamina. You can slip by them the easiest and they are the easiest to grab shit from. Beware the lean, vegetarian, granola chomping types. Most likely the only thing they ate the day before was green bean casserole and other light fare and they will be the most feisty.

Then comes the real joy of Black Friday’s at Joann’s. The doors open, and the clerk comes out saying “OK, Ladies”. This is where you have to shove, push, grab, bite, scratch and claw to get to the carts and then to the flannel aisle, where flannel is 99 cents a yard (normally 5.99 – 9.99).

Now, don’t think this is some windfall the store is bestowing on you with no expected effort on your part other than to pick it up and put it in your cart. No, that’s not it at all. You have to WORK for this shit. And this is dangerous stuff, not for the weak of heart or weak of body. If you have tremendous upper body strength and can swing a bolt of fabric into someone’s head with accuracy, you are probably going to do well. (Remember that flat fabrics are not a good weapon, but bolted fabrics ARE – the corners are effective when shoved into an eye. So ALWAYS go for the bolted stuff first.) Also be cautious of women with curlers – the curlers are there for a reason, and it has nothing to do with hair. A well placed bobby pin in the back of the hand will force someone to drop whatever they are holding. Beware of ANYONE with knitting needles holding a tight bun on the back of their head. That is NOT for fashion’s sake. And knitting needles hurt. Especially when they are sharpened.

Also, tight clothing is best. Loose clothing can be grabbed and it’s quite easy to swing someone around by a loose fitting sweater. No sense losing your place close to the shelf because of poor clothing choices. And for God’s sake, wear heavy shoes. Preferably steel toed. You can lose a toe with a well placed high heel.

Of course, the tight clothing also works in well with the concept of “armor”. If you DO have a loose fitting sweater, you can wear that as the outer layer, and wear more protective clothing underneath. Layering a sweater over a down jacket, leather vest and kevlar shield will help if you get knocked to the floor and trampled. This will allow you to recover your footing in the fastest amount of time and with the least downtime for injury. It’s heartbreaking to watch the last of the “Licensed Character Print Flannel” ($1.49 a yard!!!) walk by you while you are nursing a broken rib.

Also, It’s best to bring with you a small emergency medical kit. Make sure it includes bandages for slight scratches and gauze and tape for bite wounds. Also, I’ve found a small ziplock baggie helpful. You can use it to put in some of the hair you lose. That way, when you discover you need a wig to cover your baldness, you can match up the color of your “normal” hair.

Another tip is to guard your cart. Beware the “space and swoop” artists. They are the ones who have discovered something desirable in your cart that they want. They will intentionally carve out a niche in the aisle, then slowly move away from that empty space and leave it open, luring and tempting you in, away from your cart. They will then swoop down and steal whatever it is they desired out of your unattended cart. Sometimes these seasoned pros will take the entire cart and all it’s contents.

And if you must steal something out of someone’s cart, do it in the checkout aisle. Hold up something tempting, like paisley prints and “ooooh and ahhhh” that there were so many colors still left over in the clearance section and then offer to stand guard while people go to check out this find. Then rummage through their carts to find what you want. This is especially effective if you are near the front of the line and likely to be gone by the time your new BFF’s get back.

Once you get through checkout, remember that the war is not over. You must safely get your treasures to the car and inside before you can really relax and revel in another successful Joann’s Black Friday. And do not fall prey to the “distract and dash” shoppers. The ones who try to get you to go with them in their car to the next nearest Joann’s in the next town over for more shopping. All you are to them is a warm body in their army. They will have you shop, then steal your loaded cart and leave you stranded in some unfamiliar town with no ride home.

No, finally, after spending all my gift card money, I go straight home. Hopefully only slightly wounded and slightly bedraggled, with about 25 huge bags of fabric, thread, rotary cutter blades, patterns, flat quarters, interfacing, buttons, snaps, bias tape, quilt backings and put it all in the sewing room – to sit there for a whole year without being touched. I still have 3 or 4 bags of stuff I haven’t even looked in and have NO idea what’s in them from LAST year’s Joann’s Black Friday sale.

Man, I love Christmas.

In other news, there’s Paul’s Hippie friend.

Man, this guy bugs the fuck out of me. 

He’s another one in the long procession of the “Characters of Malone”. Fucking idiot. His house burned down about a month ago, and although I felt sorry for him at first, lately I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t such an unwelcome event in his life, if you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, you know what I mean.

At the time his house was burning down (no, I mean AT THE EXACT MOMENT – flames were licking the air and the firemen were trying to douse the blaze), he was over here looking for Paul asking what Paul would charge him to grade this piece of property the garbage man wanted to buy with the insurance proceeds. Does that tell you *anything*? 

He was convinced at that time that he was getting $300K for the burned down house. I told him “Dude, there is NO WAY your insurance company covered you for $300K for a house in Malone” – especially considering that he had a run down little 4 room tar paper shack (literally – the outside was tar paper. And it was 4 rooms if you count the bathroom as a room.) I told him if they gave him $300K for his house after it burned then I wanted the name of his insurance agent and a match.

But he’s one of those people who will argue with you to the death – he just thinks he’s right about everything. So, finally, after telling him “you aren’t getting $300K, Dude” and him saying “Oh yes I am, oh yes I am…I know what my insurance policy says”,  I just kind of shrugged and said “Well, good luck with that.” Because, you know, sometimes it’s just not worth arguing. I know I’m right. And sooner or later, everyone will know that “KIM IS ALWAYS RIGHT.” It took Paul 5 years to figure it out. How can I expect the people around here to grasp this basic concept in just a few brief visits with me?

But, two weeks later he comes over and tells us that he FINALLY settled with his insurance company – for the house and the contents he got $30K. I asked him what happened to that $300K windfall he was so sure he was going to get, and he said “No, that wasn’t what the house was insured for, that was for liability insurance, you know, in case anyone got hurt on my property – they were insured for up to $300K”, Which, you know, you and *I* could have figured out, but apparently, he couldn’t.  Oh, but wait a minute, he said he always knew that, didn’t ever think he was getting $300K, never thought the house was insured against fire damage for $300K, never thought that at all. (He’s one of those people, too. When he’s finally proven wrong he just “forgets” he ever thought otherwise.) And how maddening is that????

So, anyway, the other night he was over here and he was telling Paul that he wants to buy a mobile home to put on the lot where his house used to be. Paul knows of a guy who has one for sale for $12K. But Paul told the HIppie friend that if he went to the seller with 8 or 9 thousand in cash, the guy
would probably take it. The Hippie friend said “Well, I would do that, but the bank would never give me that kind of money.” Paul said “What do you mean, are you getting a loan or spending cash?” And the Hippie friend said “No, I mean they won’t let me take out that much in cash – I went over to the bank and tried to take out $3,000 in cash to pay the contractor who hauled the burnt house off and they wouldn’t give it to me in cash – they said if they did they would have to close for the rest of the day. They don’t keep cash in banks anymore, you know.”

Now, this isn’t Guido’s back door bank – this is a BANK bank. A real freestanding building bank. In fact, it’s Key Bank. That’s like in a lot of places, right? You mean to tell me they don’t keep $3,000 on the premises in any branches? I told the Hippie friend “That’s ridiculous. There’s no way they don’t have $3,000 at that bank. What? Is Malone so fucking backwards that even the bank robbers can’t get a job and make money?” But, he argued with me that they don’t keep cash at the bank. That NO banks keep cash, because then they can charge you for money orders and cashier’s checks – see it’s all this big plot to make the bank money. They would give him a cashier’s check for the $3,000 that he wanted and they were going to charge him $5.00 for that. That’s why banks don’t keep cash hanging around. It’s an evil money making plot.

I ended up leaving the room and just ignoring him – but not because of the bank thing, and not even when he argued with me about “Black Friday” and the sale at Wal Mart. He’s convinced (“I read it in the PAPER!! That’s what they SAID!! It’s TRUE, TRUE I tell ya!”) that on Friday EVERYTHING in Wal Mart is 50% off. So he’s going there to buy a 50 inch flat panel TV that, since it’s advertised on sale for Friday at $798, will actually be $400, what with everything (EVERYTHING) being half off.

I told him to pick me up seven 2 liter diet cokes, and I gave him $5.00 to do it.

No, I finally left when he told me about the OTHER thing he’s going to get at Wal Mart on Friday (HALF OFF). He’s getting a super special awesome most wonderful ever made computer. Well, this piqued my interest and I said “Really? What computer is that?” And he said “It’s the best one ever made – because it can hold 10,000 pictures.” And you know, I had to laugh. Had to. I said “Dude, my fucking camera can hold 10,000 pictures. If you have a hard drive, pretty much ANY computer can hold 10,000 pictures. What the fuck kind of pictures are you taking that you need a super duper computer to hold them?” He argued up and down, “No, no computer BESIDES THIS ONE can hold 10,000 pictures. If you don’t have THIS computer, you can’t do it. This is an AWESOME computer – best ever.”

So finally, I said “Good luck with that.” and left.

The guy is fucking whacked.

And he burned his own house down. Because he THOUGHT he’d get $300K. There, I said it.



9 Responses to “Black Friday and the Hippie Friend”

  1. Gail in NC said

    Kim, I got tired just reading about your shopping expedition! I am not a shopper.

    Are you quite sure that Paul’s “hippie” friend is a Hippie? He sounds a little too materialistic to be a true Hippie! This is coming from a former “Flower Child” of the sixties.


  2. Val Dalton said

    haha That joann’s thing is so true! It’s the same if your a tech geek at radio shack. This one lady was pushing everyone around in line saying “i better get that f*ing camera, i’ll step on people if i have to.. ect” There’s nothing i want bad enough to cause bodily injury to someone.

    The guy that burned his house is an idiot! Although you’d be surprised at how many people do it. Chances are the bank froze his account cause he owes back taxes and the government got a red flag when the insurance company issued him a check! haha dumbass should have cashed it.

  3. IndyGena said

    LMAO! That is too damn funny! I can so relate… I am a freak with cross stitch (as you alredy know) and I have to hide things from the hubby, too. I also have to do this with plants. I have so many plants in my house that my husband threatened me that if I got any more, it wouldn’t be pretty. So now I sneak them in and work them in with the other plants so he doesn’t notice. Then one day I was talking to a lady at church, and she said, “Oh, you live in the house with all the beautiful plants in the windows.” My husband has never said a bad word about them since. And believe me, I have plants in EVERY window of my house. I purposely look for special tables, etc. just to put them on. I just can’t help myself. So, when you find a place to go for your addiction, see if they help people with plant addictions.

  4. AtwoodLady said

    I also need a CA group. I have scrapbooking, paints, stencils, wooden shapes, beads, yarn, crossstich, crafting foam etc…etc

    Hmmm, wonder if we could find a 30-day CA program that would let us bring all our projects so we could craft 24/7. We could tell our families thatthey need not come for visiting day as that would distract us from “healing” our addiction.

    Too bad we all don’t live closer to each other… we could open our own craft store!!!


  5. Caroline said

    Too bad your hippie friend couldn’t make it down to the Long Island WalMart and gotten trampled to death along with that other poor soul. Ah the Christmas season..greed and stupidity in the air!

    I bet you he has an outstanding mortgage on his tarpaper shack..that is probably why Key Bank won’t give him all of the money..he has to pay off the existing mortgage on the burned down house. Unless he owned the house and land outright….he ain’t gonna see that money.

  6. tracey said

    The hippie friend almost sounds related to my father-in-law. Did the man have about 20 cats and 8 dogs? The good thing is my father-in-law does not have insurance on his house because I am sure he would burn his down for “monies” (at the suggestion of the girlfriend).

  7. kathy said

    OH BOY!!! I could not be in Plano, TX for the Black Friday sale at Joann’s, as I was in the freezing cold of Marshalltown, IA. Anyway, I headed to Ames, IA at 1pm because I had no car and my sister who does drove. The Wal Mart sale was more important to her. I bought a 150 yards of flannel to make blankets for the Parkland babies. I only had one large suitcase so I borrowed on from my mom and borrowed another one as a carry one. I stuffed my purse in the original carry on and counted that as my personal bag. I had also purchased yarn at 75% off that had to be added to the suitcase. Thank heavens for the space bags. I did have to pay $40 extra to bring all this home but I could not let my husband know that I wanted more flannel since I have not used the flannel from last year yet. So I came to Iowa with one suitcase and 1+1. and came home with two and one big 1+1. Of note: the plane was delayed and my carryon suitcase weighed a %%%% 300lbs. So here I am trying to carry this with my bad back, stopping every ten feet to change arms and no one will help. When I finally reach my gate there is no water fountain to be found so I ask this lady if she would watch my bags so I could get a Coke to take my Xanax because you do not want me on the plane without this medication. She said you can leave them there but I’m not responsible for them.Meaning she will not be responsible if someone stole them. You guessed it. My named is called out and my assed is chewed out because she said she was not responsible for my bags and the police office gives me greive about almost having to call out the bomb squad. This is Des Moines, Iowa for god sake. A bomber would have to be on crack to even try to plant a bomb in that airport. So thank you Des Moines, Iowa and the bitch for a lovely send off. Next year, I will spend my money in Texas.

  8. Cathy said

    Kim, you need to write a book. Not necessarily one long story, but a collection of vignettes, sort of like what Annie Proulx does.
    One simply cannot make up the shit you talk about.
    “Hippie Friend” is a cautionary tale of what happens with too many chemicals and a partial break with reality. Or an inability to read or understand shit requiring a 4th grade reading comprehension level.
    I’m kind of surprised he didn’t try to add a zero to his $30,000 check, because no doubt someone just forgot to add an innocent zero.
    Where the heck is he going to put his 50% off Walmart flat-screen TV or that best computer ever? Is he living in a tree on his lot?
    What a friggin’ tool!

  9. Becky Ayers said

    Happy Holidays Kim,
    You are the only person who can make my hubby howl with laughter about shopping! We love hearing your updates and meeting new challenged Malonians.
    I am looking forward to the many beautiful projects you will make with your savvy shopping purchases.

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