Well, Black Friday shopping heroes, you bested me this year.
With my decade-plus of Black Friday experience, I thought I had it all figured out, even when national retailers surprised us by opening hours earlier than the traditional 4 to 5 a.m. time frame.
While my family organized the smörgåsbord on Turkey Day, I calculated a plan so brilliant that it rivaled the Grinch's wickedly devious attempts to rob Whoville of its Christmas celebration.
I would bridge the gap between us heroes. With stores like Target and Best Buy opening at midnight, I would venture out about 3 a.m. to pick up armloads of DVDs for my family. That way, the door-busting heroes would be long gone, and traffic would be light before the heroic onslaught came for the 5 a.m. openings.
The plan worked at Wal-Mart, which started its best deals at 10 p.m. Thursday. By the time I arrived with a caffeinated beverage in hand at 3 a.m., the place was a ghost town. In fact, I got odd looks from the clerks, though I think that probably was because long-haired me sported a bandanna. (As an aside, I'm always impressed by the heroes who dress up for Black Friday shopping.)
It was there that I witnessed the first fallen hero, or heroine in this case, outside the store's garden center. There sat a running vehicle parked with a woman sleeping inside. I wanted to tap on her window and interview her but feared she would have a penchant for pepper spray like some other Wal-Mart clientele nationally.
Success in hand, I headed for Best Buy and Target. That's where the plan fell apart. Target's line looked small, but that was deceptive. Heroes snaked through the health and beauty aisles with a smiling red-shirted employee directing traffic.
Best Buy made no such attempt at disguising the truth. Heroes at the Hamburg location lined the entire store as they waited to check out.
So what's a veteran hero like me to do? I promptly took all the DVDs I'd snagged and hid them behind professional wrestling ones, so I could pick them up Friday night. Unless you're a fan of Bret "Hit Man" Hart (and you should be), you're not going to deny me the second season of Modern Family for $8.99.
So, kudos, heroes, on outclassing me by buying so much that the lines wouldn't thin out. Next year, I'll be out there among you at the opening hour.