I will confess I’ve gotten hopelessly behind on Nanowrimo this year. I have not been doing my 1,200 words a day or whatever it is, and I probably won’t finish this year. I like to keep telling myself I’m going to get inspired and bang out another 40,000 words in the last week, but that’s probably not going to happen.
I can’t give up yet though. Today, while I waited in a horribly long line at JCPenney, I ended up writing almost a thousand words on my phone. And that’s hard, because typing without a keyboard is so much slower, even though I’m pretty fast at it.
In retrospect, I should have skipped Penney’s and gone to Walmart. But in the past, I’ve noticed most of Walmart’s deals aren’t really worth anything to a reseller. And this year, as I found out today, most didn’t even scan on the Amazon Seller app. Plus you have to fight the #PeopleofWalmart for cheap crap.
So I went to Penney’s in the hopes of winning $500 worth of stuff (that would probably net me fifty bucks in resale, if I’m lucky, but free is free, right?). No, all I got were those ten dollars off ten dollars coupons. Sounds like a good deal, until you read the teeny tiny fine print and see it excludes all the semi-good brands they carry, toys, electronics, and basically anything anyone would actually want. So basically they’re inviting you to take ten dollars off all the crap no one wants, the stuff that congeals on the clearance racks and gets reduced a hundred times and still gathers dust because it’s just so fucking worthless.
Well, I decided I was going to get SOMETHING out of the this year. I went through the clearance racks, trying to find an ugly Alfred Dunner shirt to sell on Ebay. (I know they’re hideous, but some of those go for twenty bucks on Ebay. I guess old people have finally learned to shop online.) There were some on clearance, but none for less than twenty bucks, and I really wanted something where the ten dollar off coupon would make it only a buck or two.
Finally, I decided to buy myself a pair of pants that was $16.99. Not a great brand either, but at least it didn’t look like something my grandmother would wear, and I have worn out most of my pairs of pants. I haven’t bought clothes in months. I walked the store five times looking for a register with a line shorter that wasn’t longer than the one at the DMV. I finally settled on shoes, which looked the shortest but still had about 15 people. It barely moved, and I wished Penney’s had an express line so I wouldn’t have to wait behind fifteen people buying twenty items each just to buy one fucking pair of pants.
After that I went downstairs and found a set of VR goggles that was actually worth about thirty bucks after fees on Amazon. It was $9.99 and with a .49 hand towel pushing it over the edge to ten dollars, I could use the coupon and just pay a dollar in tax. So I stood in the world’s longest line, because all the lines were a million miles long, and the registers all ran at the speed of a turtle on valium, or the customers all bought a hundred things even though, like I said, Penney’s doesn’t have much that’s worth much, and I was so fucking bored. After twenty minutes, I’d run out of interesting things to read on Facebook, and Gardens of Time isn’t available for Android (bastards). My Kindle battery was dead. Why didn’t I remember to charge it last night? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why. Granted I’m out of books to read anyway, but if the battery was charged I would have broken down and spent four bucks on a book just to have something to read.
But the battery was dead, so as I stood there in the stagnant line, pondering whether I would be a skeleton by the time I reached the front of the line (and even posted, “I think I am going to die in this line” on Facebook), it occurred to me I could work on my Nano novel and catch up on that 43,000 words I still have to write. So I got out my phone and painstakingly typed on the screen, and I ended up writing almost 1,000 words.
When I finally got out of Penney’s (fortunately not a skeleton yet), I went to Wallyworld, where I reevaluated my opinion that it’s not worth shopping on Black Friday/Thanksgiving Day. On the one hand, yes, I was right, 90% of the stuff in the ad was junk I couldn’t resell at a profit. Almost all the cheap electronics I scanned, despite being recognizable name brands like Crock Pot and Farberware and Black & Decker, were not on Amazon, or at least their UPC’s did not scan as recognizable in Amazon’s system. I looked up some of the non-scannable toys on Ebay, but they weren’t worth much there, either. I started thinking this miniature #peopleofWalmart had the right idea:
Just when I was starting to think I was right and I should just go, I spotted a box of Legos sitting on the floor in an aisle. Something told me that might be a good item, so I scanned it and saw it was going for a good price, about double what it cost (which I determined after finally finding a pole with a scanner). I carried it to the front and begrudgingly got a cart, then fought my way back through the throngs of customers to try to find more.
After making a side trip through electronics, where I found nothing worth reselling, I ducked back up front in the congested toy/home/lawn crap section. Still no display of Legos. However, I wound my way through the aisle just in case another one appeared, and there I saw a cart with one box of Legos in it, plus another toy that wasn’t worth anything.
I looked up and down the aisle. Nothing. Several customers walked by, but none gave a second glance at the cart. I decided it had been abandoned, grabbed the Legos, and put them in my cart. (If you let your cart out of your sight on Black Friday, it’s fair game, am I right? International law of salvage applies here, I’m pretty sure.)
By that time I was starving, and I hadn’t packed any food like I usually do because I thought I’d be home before I was hungry again. I was wrong. While I was walking to the grocery section to see if they had any hummus that hadn’t been recalled, my dad texted that he’d found me a TV for $298 that was bigger than the one he’d planned to get me to replace the 40-inch one he gave me last year after upgrading to a 60-inch. (It worked great for about seven months, then got struck by lightning, and I’ve been using my old 32-inch ever since.) I looked at it, and it was way better than what I’d expected to get—55-inch 4K Ultra with built-in wifi. I told him I was fine with that one, and he went to pay for it.
I started making my way toward the front to check out, then made a detour to the food because I knew it was going to be a long time before I got home and I really get hangry. I walked up and down, looking for the hummus. An employee who spoke with a thick accent told me it was up near the deli, but I didn’t find it there and I’m not sure if he understood I meant hummus in the first place. I never found it, possibly because the only brand Wallyworld carries any more is that stupid Sabra, which was AGAIN recalled for listeria. (I never buy the stuff because it’s full of preservatives, which ironically does no good whatsoever for listeria.)
Finally I settled on a package of apples and peanut butter, which I really felt badly about because A) they weren’t organic apples and PESTICIDES and B) most importantly, it cost two dollars and I already have peanut butter and ORGANIC apples at home at a much lower price per unit. I also bought a $2 organic almond milk and coffee drink, which would also have been cheaper if I’d made it at home, so the moral of the story is pack food when #BlackFriday shopping on Thanksgiving.
But I’m going to make sixty bucks profit on the Legos, and did I mention I wrote ONE THOUSAND WORDS today?
W. T. Fallon is the author of Fail to the Chief, a political satire in which the presidential election is carried out via reality show, which is almost as bizarre and far-fetched as our current reality.