On Thursday, when I called my parents to wish them a happy Thanksgiving, my father told me two things: 1. My position at the consulting firm where I work is probably unnecessary; and 2. I should really buy Richard a new jacket.
“About 281,000 employees, if I’m not mistaken,” he said. “They can’t need all those people. That’s a lot of paychecks. A lot of inefficiency. I’d watch it if I were you.” I could practically see my mother in the background, waving frantically for him to stop.
But I’m with him on the jacket because that’s pretty basic advice: you set something on fire, you replace it. Very simple.
So on Black Friday, I did the unthinkable and went to Macy’s. I made it as far as a handbag display before nearly stepping on a child who was lying in the middle of the floor. I should have taken that as a sign and walked right out because in the next ten minutes, I got hit in the kneecap with a piece of hand luggage, was spritzed against my will with half a dozen perfumes and made an announcement to no one in particular that the store directories posted by the escalators do not sync up with the building layout. Needless to say, when I finally made it to Men’s Outerwear, I didn’t have much patience left to shop.
“Do you have any windbreakers?” I asked the first sales associate I saw.
“Those would be for Spring,” he replied.
I took that as a no and went back downstairs to meet two of my friends who were spending 35 minutes waiting to try on boots that they weren’t even sure they liked.
“I’m ready to go,” I said.
“That’s crazy!” my friend yelled. “We didn’t even look at coats yet!”
And who can argue with logic like that? So off to Coats we went where, unbelievably, I found something that I wanted to buy. Of course, this particular parka that I selected – one in a sea of thousands of other parkas – turned out to be the only thing in the store that was not on sale.
“Whatever,” I said. “Maybe I’ll get it anyway.”
My friend swatted it right out of my hands and called me crazy for the second time that day. Then she feverishly explained that the same coat was at Bloomingdale’s (true) and everything was on sale there (true), and I could get an extra 10% off if I signed up for their mailing list (untrue).
“And you think I’m the crazy one?” I asked. “How do you even know all that?”
She shrugged. “That’s why you need the emails.”
So I bought the coat from Bloomingdale’s on my phone while I stood outside the fitting room at Macy’s. Then we went to look at waffle makers, which – goes without saying – was not my idea. When we were satisfied that we got as much out of Macy’s as we could, we went for wine. And then because I didn’t have anywhere to be for a few more hours, I found myself walking the 90 blocks home, thinking that even though that wasn’t what I had in mind for my day, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Except that kid on the floor. I really could have done without him.