Black Friday Memories: The Cabbage Patch Incident
Editor's note: It is during the most unassuming at times that someone will divulge a poop story to me. During a visit to our kids' orthodontist this year I let it slip that I help out with the site to another parent during a conversation over grammar, of all things. He immediately begged anonymity, which I agreed to, and then he told me that the most disturbing thing that he had ever seen an adult do involved poop, Cabbage Patch Dolls, and Black Friday.
This year Black Friday kicked off yesterday evening, with Wal-Mart leading the way. My son works in the stocking department of our local Wal-Mart. He worked yesterday until nine. When he came home, he said that the last three hours of his shift involved "watching the laptops."
"What do you mean?" I asked him. "Why would you have to watch laptops?"
"There were twenty-two laptops at a discount price to be sold at nine, and we had to put them out on the floor in wrapped pallets to save time. People kept on trying to open the pallets. Mom, I've never seen Wal-Mart so crazy. It was more crowded than the mall on Christmas Eve."
Thing One, as we affectionately call him, was not lying. Here is a video taken in a Georgia Wal-Mart last night during Black Friday madness. As you partake in the good will and exemplary expressed by these pleasant and patient consumers, take notice at the 45-second mark. A woman in a white shirt in the lower right-hand portion of the screen is accosted by a man behind her, who is trying to take the item she is holding from her grasp. She bites him. The zombie apocalypse indeed.
Without further ado, I give you "Roger's" Cabbage Patch Incident. Be safe this holiday season, and don't forget to go to the bathroom before you go shopping.
"I think I was about ten at the time. You remember how everyone wanted a Cabbage Patch doll? Yeah, my sister wanted one real bad. She was only five, but she already knew what a knock-off looked like. All the stores in our area were out of Cabbage Patch dolls, but my mom said that K-Mart was getting a shipment in for the Midnight Madness or Blue Light Special deals, whichever it was ... so me, my dad, and my mom were going to go to K-Mart at eleven-thirty on Thanksgiving night to go get one for her.
"I don't know why I got to go with my parents. My sister stayed home with our grandparents and my uncle's family, and I was kind of young to be out at midnight with a bunch of crazy adults getting ready to fight over dolls. There had been special reports or whatever on the evening news all month about Cabbage Patch doll riots. People -- grown people -- just beating the shit out of each other over these stupid things. Moms! That's what I remember the most. Grown women, moms, acting like savages. I knew that moms will do anything for their kids, but I was still too young to understand that women turned into snarling beasts when other women were about to take stuff away from them.
"So, there we were, outside K-Mart, stuffed in the parking lot like sardines in a can, and I was all excited, because it was exciting. The air was electric. But my excitement didn't last so long, because the situation got kind of scary really fast. People started pushing when midnight hit and the outer doors opened. My dad stood behind me, pushing people off of me, and he told my mom that I should have been out in the car. Her response was "He's big enough to help me if the dolls fall off the shelves."
"Wow. My mom had gone crazy, just like the rest of them.
"Well, the K-Mart manager or someone in charge probably realized that the situation was worse than he thought it was going to be, so the doors that led into the store -- you know, the inner doors of the foyer -- never opened. Instead someone came out and asked how many people were there for Cabbage Patch dolls. Half of the shopper raised their hands. He had those of us who had raised our hands go over to the left-hand side, and he started handing out the little numbers like you see at a deli. Remember how the Blue Light Specials involved taking a ticket sometimes? Yeah, he started handing them out. I think the person in charge that night picked the biggest person in the store to work this shift, because the man in charge of the tickets was huge. He was not going to be knocked over, unless the women realized how terrifying they were when they joined their forces. That might have been a fight, there.
"The manager told us that we were going to be led to one aisle that had been roped off, it was the regular clearance aisle, and if we left the line we were out. Someone could hold the line for us for a few minutes if we had to 'use the facilities' and someone would vouch for us, but other than that if we left the line we were out of luck. This point turned everyone to looking at each other. I think what happened was that all of these crazy people were telling everyone else with their eyes that there were going to be no acts of kindness and no one was going to hold the line for anyone else.
"'Well, I'm glad I brought you.' my mom said to me. She smiled and told me to stick close. We took our number, my dad ran off to the hardware department or somewhere manly, and we were led like lambs to the slaughter to a special clearance aisle stocked with the dolls.
"So there we were, standing in line. I took my hat off because I was so hot. As I turned around I began to notice the people around us. Two older ladies behind us were definitely grandmothers. A guy behind them was a dad. There were even a few pretty teenager girls.
"The guy four people in front of us caught my eye because he was silently shifting his feet back and forth. I knew exactly what he was doing because I owned the same equipment as he did, and I had also had to pee at times when I was not near a bathroom. This fully grown man was doing the Pee-Pee Dance. He asked someone behind him a question, and she shook her head. He turned around with a grim look on his face and tried to stand still.
"Then it happened. I could not believe my eyes. A wet spot began to appear on lower inside of his legs, and then a puddle appeared on the floor. He continued to stare straight ahead for a second, and then he kind of -- I don't know -- slumped? Yeah, he slumped forward, like he had lost.
"Then he shit himself.
"I knew he had shit himself because of the smell, obviously, but I also knew that he shit himself because he stopped clenching back side. I didn't know he was clenching his back side until he unclenched it. Maybe peeing triggered him to shit? I don't know. I think when the woman behind him refused to help him hold his place that he decided not to ask anyone else. The sad thing is that he if had asked my mother she would have gladly held his place ... although she would have made him trade us tickets, most likely.
"People started to say things like 'Ew,' and 'Oh my god.' One woman started to retch. I have to admit, the stink was bad.
"My mother leaned over when I pulled her arm down and told her what happened, and she said, 'Do you think they'll kick him out of the store?' I couldn't believe her! This poor guy shit himself in public, and she was wondering about moving up in line.
"As we began to move forward, everyone took a wide berth around the puddle of pee, and regardless of how crowded in we were, the women behind him would not get closer than about two or three feet to the back of the guy.
"He got his doll in about five minutes, and then he made a bee-line for the Men's Room. Then we got my sister's doll and went to the register to pay for it. I didn't see him again that night. What I did see was someone heading toward the clearance aisle with a mop and bucket after someone made an intercom announcement for a "Cleanup in the clearance aisle, please, wet cleanup in the clearance aisle.'
"When we met back up with my father, my mother told him everything. He looked at me, and he said, 'This will be the last time we ever go shopping at midnight on Thanksgiving.' He turned to my mom and said, 'You're on your own from now on, lady.'
"I almost forgot. Someone offered us two hundred dollars for our doll in the parking lot. My sister never found out how close she came to losing her doll!"