Black Friday

November 30, 2011
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It was Wednesday evening and Holly was closing up shop. The melted snow lay in puddles on the floor, trampled by the many visitors who had shopped that day. It was cold and the customers didn’t stay long. They grabbed what they needed and rushed home. Even though Thanksgiving was a day away, it didn’t seem like people were thankful. If they were, they didn’t express it. Normally, Holly would engage the customers in friendly conversation as she tallied up the items, but today the only words from the shoppers were “debit” or “plastic is fine.” Holiday greetings were absent that day.
As Molly turned off the lights and locked the door, she sighed. She felt with the holidays coming soon, there should be more joy and happiness. “Maybe those things are only for picture books and movies,” she thought. “Maybe this only happens in a perfect world.”
She opened the door of her rusted pickup truck and sat down in the once upholstered seat. She had even forgotten the true color of her truck long ago because it had been changed by the rust. But this didn’t seem to bother her.
As she headed down the road, she switched on the radio. “Christmas music already?” she thought. But even Christmas music didn’t seem to bring any cheer to her dreary day.
Holly’s family didn’t live close by and she needed to work on Black Friday. So on Thanksgiving, she made herself a ham sandwich and heated some soup. She went to bed early, knowing tomorrow would be busy. The anxious customers would quickly say goodbye to their family tonight so they could be first in line to take advantage of the sales. “What a waste,” Holly thought. “I would rather spend my Thanksgiving weekend with family than buying things that only last a moment.”

It was dark outside the following morning, and Holly had been awake for an hour. She drank a warm cup of coffee, climbed into her pickup truck, and headed to work. As she came down the road, she could already see the line of waiting people. As she entered the building she had to hurry behind the cash register. The store would be opening in ten minutes and everyone needed to be ready.
Many signs were advertising the best deals. “Black Friday is like a race,” Holly thought. “Everyone is trying to be the first to get the ‘perfect’ deal and they end up buying things they won’t use anyway.”
The employees anxiously looked at the clocks. “Five more minutes until complete chaos,” one employee said. Finally it was time and the security guards unlocked the doors. The guards barely had time to get out of the way before the mob flooded the store.
Everyone was snatching things off the shelves, trying to get what they wanted. Others were pushing their way through crowds so they could find the best deal. One woman had almost three carts full of merchandise. Two other people were arguing who could have the last TV.
Rapidly now the customers were heading towards the checkout. Holly tried to be cheerful asking customers, “How has your day been?” “Found any good sales?” or “How was your Thanksgiving?” But all she received was a grunt, nod, or a simple “fine.” After more busy customers filed through the check-out lines, Holly suddenly saw an elderly lady wearing a baseball hat. She was struggling to hold all of her purchases. No one had paid attention to her, some even pushed right in front of her. Holly called an unoccupied employee to take over her spot, and went to help the lady. As Holly reached her, someone bumped into the lady making her packages fly across the floor. Holly rushed to pick them up. “Thank you,” said the lady with a smile. Holly returned the smile and asked, “How has your Thanksgiving weekend been so far?”
“I couldn’t go visit my family this year because I have been having many doctor appointments and I’m really too unstable to travel far.” As she said this, she gestured to her head. What Holly didn’t realize before was that she was wearing a hat because she didn’t have any hair. “She must be battling cancer,” Holly thought as she looked at the clock and realized her shift was almost over.
“Why don’t you come with me and we can have Thanksgiving together? I couldn’t visit my family either and it seems like you’re missing some holiday cheer.”
“I would be delighted to come if it wouldn’t be too much trouble,” the elderly lady said through tears of happiness.

This Thanksgiving was one to remember. The elderly lady taught Holly to make the best pie and together they found what they had both been missing, Holiday Cheer!





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