Daughter #1 persuaded me to hit Wal-Mart just after midnight, when the sales kicked in.
I have rarely been so frightened.
In a crowd, I am constantly fighting the fear that I will be trampled. I can control it, but when pregnant with the girlies, it was almost impossible to go anywhere, without the feeling that any minute, people were going to begin stampeding all over. Where did I get this urge? No idea -- but it's been something I've fought all my life.
We started by not being able to find a cart. Daughter said, "C'mon Mom, we'll just look for one on the way." I was grateful we were cart-less by the time we hit the $2 videos -- people with carts were regularly being trapped in the back aisles. Daughter shoved ahead...I wiggled around people...and twenty minutes later, we were juggling a big stack of goodies. The only way to make progress was curving around a lot, saying "excuse me" until people moved, and grabbing the minute I saw anything good. (Tip: check nearby displays, as well as the top of the video display -- people will discard good stuff there, after they've edited through their stack. They clear away extras. You get the good stuff!)
For the rest of the time, we literally had to fight our way through the aisles, especially after we found a cart. One chunky girl in a light blue jacket could have been a linebacker; she repeatedly blocked the entire aisle with both her backside, and her cart. Jammed around people, trying to move through without mashing someone else. To add to the strangeness, the employees at Wally (who were largely standing around, or even stranger, standing 'guard') had cordoned off several aisles to keep the midnight specials saved. That was ok -- but after midnight, the ropes STILL stayed up! (We just went underneath.)
Tip: Go with someone else. You can take turns holding places in line, going to get extra items, and double-checking the list. Daughter finally found a shorter line, while I was trying to get the cart to her. While we caught our breath, I expressed how I felt about being pushed, stepped on and shoved aside. Daughter said, "There are two kinds of people: pushers and pushees. And you have to decide which one you're going to be."
Me (still breathless): "I just wanted to bite somebody! So wouldn't that make me a third kind of person?
"Naw," said Daughter. "It would just put you in jail. Now in jail, there are two kinds of people..."
Husband, who is more a hermit than anything, decided he wanted to get a camera for next week's trip to Panama. If he was headed out, well then, I could make a quick stop at Cost Plus and Michael's...before you knew it, we'd spent the afternoon out. But part of that time was checking out titles at Barnes & Noble. (They have some terrific bargain books and kits this year). We had a great time, didn't spend that much, and actually got a number of bargains. Now, if I can soak my mashed toes...