Black Friday & Little Faith
The following is a true story . . .
At 4:15 AM I hauled myself and my still-sleeping rear end out of bed all for the love of family. It was Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when stores have their sales to beat all sales! This was the first time I was going to join the infamous shopping-crazed mobs to save some money.
One daughter wanted a GPS for Christmas, and she and another daughter badly needed external hard drives to back up their dying laptops they’d been using for college. With no shave, no shower, not even a dab of deodorant, out the door I went. (I thought maybe the lack of deodorant would give me an edge getting through the crowds!) Driving down the road I said, “Lord, could you save me a couple of hard drives for my daughters? They are such a good deal, and I know they’re gonna sell fast . . . in Jesus name, Amen.”
I arrive at Wal-Mart at 4:45 AM and see people already going into the store! I was told it didn’t open till 5 AM. The parking lot was packed, and I had to park way out on the edge. As I walked toward the store, I saw a number of other folks running towards the entrance as if they were clearly on a mission—I resisted the urge to run!
Once inside, it was like the parking lot outside! I headed for a cart, but they were all gone! The aisles were nearly gridlocked with people and carts; some carts were piled nearly five-feet high with bargains. Numerous police with darting eyes and wearing frowns were positioned around the store for mob control since someone died in a Wal-Mart stampede last year. I politely pushed . . . apologized, bumped . . . apologized, slid carts sideways . . . apologized, and physically worked my way to the electronics department at the back of the store.
Reaching the counter, I started waving to get the frenzied clerk’s attention. I asked her where the cheap GPSes were located. As the clerk opened her mouth to answer me, a really tall lady moved in right beside me and asked her the same question. Answering her instead, the clerk pointed her to way over to somewhere I couldn’t see. The tall lady turned and made a beeline in that direction, so I jumped in formation right behind her. She was not so polite! She pushed her way through the crowd, and after a few minutes of following in her wake, she stopped, leaned forward, moved to my right, and there they were! A pile of bright green GPS boxes. In my heart I said, “Wow, thanks Lord for the tall lady!” I grabbed a box, and made my way to a check out at the front of the store.
Happy to be out of there with life and limb still intact, my next stop was Radio Shack, which was located next to the Wal-Mart. Again, I saw folks rushing into the store, and again I resisted the urge to run! Radio Shack is a small store but was still stuffed with customers who were huddled around sale items like vultures around road kill. The hard drive they had on sale was nearly half its normal price and was made by one of the top three hard drive makers. I asked the attendant if he still had two hard drives left. He looked a me like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He said they were some of the first items that sold out when their doors opened hours ago.
I asked if he could check and see if another Radio Shack near where I lived had any left. This time he gave me a, “you’re-wasting-my-time look,” but obviously out of duty, checked any way. Nope, they were gone, too, from that store, and again, were with the first things to sell out. That was a bummer because of all the store ads I checked, Radio Shack had by far the best price on the hard drive. I thought to myself, “Well, the Micro Center computer store was only a few miles down the road, and they had the next best price.” I got there at 6:20 AM and a line was forming at the door. Thinking they were going to open at 6:30, I get in line only to find out they wouldn’t open their doors till 8 AM!
Hungry and not feeling like standing that long in line, I headed for the McDonald’s across the street where I ate breakfast and watched the news on a large screen TV. At 7:40, on the way back across the street to the Micro Center, I suddenly remembered there was another Radio Shack half way up the strip mall from the Micro Center. Deciding to kill some more time, I thought I would go in and see what other things Radio Shack had on sale.
Not surprisingly, the store was crowded, and I milled around for awhile looking at sale stuff. Eventually, an attendant asked me if I needed any help? I started to shake my head “No” but ended up saying, “Do you by any chance have two of the hard drives that are on sale left.” He said, “Yes! We only have two left; would you like them?!” My mouth dropped open and almost hit the floor, and it was as if the Lord said to me, “See, I saved you two hard drives, just like you asked.” Then down in my heart, I felt something like a wink and a smile from the Lord saying, “Oh ye of little faith!!”
Copyright © 2009 by William D. (Nick) Nichols