Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Misled" to the Right Item—Day 23 of a Town Girl Touched by the Farming Life

            Black Friday.  This day touches every family, even those on remote farms, whether you venture out to do your Christmas shopping or not.  Ads are everywhere.  Questions fly, "Are you shopping on Friday? What are you getting?  How early are you getting up?  Why would you ever want to shop—or drive—in the craziness of Black Friday?  Are you going to stores or are you shopping online?"

            Yes, I did some shopping on Black Friday, but it was not necessarily for traditional reasons.  One of my daughters earned the privilege of attending 4-H National Congress in Atlanta, Georgia, and we left our home at 12:30 a.m. on Friday to head for the airport in Bloomington.  I will talk more about seeing her off on Day 24, but since we had to be out anyway and our routes took us past stores with sales, we, of course, had to shop a little—and discovered an unexpected, perfect item.

            Originally, our plans were to leave at 1:00 a.m., which would have given us ample time to get to the airport by the assigned time, allow for traffic, and maybe even allow for an unexpected minor delay.  However, we decided to go a half an hour earlier so I could stop at one store on the way to Bloomington to hopefully pick up a desired item on another daughter's Christmas list.  Since one of my adult daughters was home with the rest of the children who decided to sleep until a decent hour, my husband and I could easily shop without trying to hide what we were getting.  Yet, leaving at 12:30 a.m. could prove to be too late.

            Why?  The item I was seeking went on sale at 10:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving.  I refused to shop on Thanksgiving, and if that meant that item would be gone, so be it.  At the same time, I was not too worried because I doubted it was a highly sought after item.  When we arrived at the store, several employees were visible but customers were nearly non-existent.  We were in that lovely lull between door buster sale times.  Even so, my husband asked a clerk if they were busy earlier.  We learned that they had been packed.  Lines had been from the check-out counters to the back of the large store.  She remarked, "We haven't seen that kind of madness in years."  Yes, we arrived at the perfect time.  However, was our item there?

            We easily found the rack for it.  (I cannot be more specific because she might read this, and no one wants to ruin the surprise.)  Two that would work for her were left.  Yes!  We just had to pick which color.  Wait a minute.  Something was not quite right.  Of course, I knew one small part would be different because her request had been based on a more expensive model from another store last year.  I knew they would not be exactly the same.  Even so, it was more than that.  This look-alike was just that.  It looked like what she wanted, but closer examination revealed the quality was substandard.  I especially found this troubling when I noticed that the non-sale price for it was nearly the same as the better version.  Thus, when it was not on sale, many people would assume it was the same quality and just a little cheaper than the other store's version.  Without an examination of both, a customer would not know that this look-alike was not really a good deal.  Slightly deflated with enthusiasm, we left it on the rack.

            All was not lost.  Daughter S, who we were taking to the airport, found an item she wanted.  I guess I could list it here since she helped pick it out and tried it on; but I know she usually reads my blog, and it would just not feel like a "surprise" for Christmas if I named it in print before the big day.  Anyway, she was happy, and I was thrilled!  Maybe relieved would be a better description.  Despite my efforts before Black Friday, I had not been able to find what she wanted and was afraid that, even if I did, I would not be able to pick out one that would fit her just right.  We had lost out on our original purpose, but won the prize when it came to something else.

            Isn't it like that with many aspects of life whether you live on a farm or in a town?  We guide our hopes and expectations in one direction, but we find that path either overgrown with obstacles or a dead end.  Sometimes we are just plain misled, like I was about the first item I wanted.  Both the ad and the initial appearance of the original item* suggested it was something it was not.  Sometimes people (or even our own ideas) make us to believe something to be true when it is not.  Fortunately, we also get those surprises or unexpected rewards.  Often, the very thing, that led us astray, ends up leading us to an opportunity that was almost missed.  If the ad for one item had not guided me to that store that day, I would have missed the exact gift (at the right price) for Daughter S.  Yes, I could have checked that store another time, but I would not have known if it would fit correctly or was the right color.  I may have found it somewhere else later, but I doubt it would have had a Black Friday price tag. 

            The next time an unplanned (and probably undesired) event touches your family remember my Black Friday experience and make a game out of finding something good in the disappointment.  In many situations, you might have to use a little imagination to discover something positive, but give it a try.

*If you are wondering about first daughter and what she wants for Christmas, I believe someone with an extra is going to sell it to me.  I just have to verify that on Saturday.  It will all work out.


  1. Is it me? If it is, you can just say what it is. I won't read it.....

  2. To think it is you, you would first have to assume you are getting a gift. That is where you may have gone wrong. :-)