So you hung with the fam, got hammered and did the zombie thing…
More power to ya, but now you’re feeling a bit blue cause you missed out on those 46-inch Westinghouse LCD TVs at Target and didn’t even make it to Oak Park Mall for Midnight Madness, The Thanksgiving Edition.
Dude, that’s tough. But fortunately I did your dirty work for you and am here to tell the tale.
Wine, women, song – debauchery beyond belief – none were in evidence when I embarked with 14 year-old daughters Liza and Savannah for the Target store on Metcalf near Johnson Drive. We arrived at 11:54 p.m. Thanksgiving night to see a sea of people – hundreds – flooding and snaking around Target’s massive parking lot.
Make no mistake; what was about to go down was huge but – fortunately for all concerned – civilized.
Target security and a pair of Mission cop cars and cops stood at the ready. A single entrance to the far south of the building front was the sole entry point.
Have fun guys," said the door dude on allowing the first batch of 30 Black Friday losers into the store. "Don’t run, you’ll be alright."
Then a rather large black woman tried to schmooze her way in sans the six hour line wait.
"I just need to go to the service desk," she told security.
"You’re going to need to go to the end of the line, ma’am," he shot back.
Next thing I knew, said security dude was on my ass for standing nearby and taking notes. No nasty media stories wanted, I guess. In case something ugly went down.
"We’re not allowing anybody to wait up here," he said sternly. So I crossed the street and stood on a parking island.
The first wave of shoppers cheered as they were let in and out of the cold. Allowing batches of 30 in at roughly one minute intervals, the line was over in 30 minutes flat. It also helped insure that there were no hand-to-hand combat or pepper spraying incidents.
Meanwhile the first batch of shoppers began to trickle out of the store with their Westinghouse big screens and gaming chairs overflowing their carts. Some loaded with as many as three to four LCD telelvisions.
That’s when I learned that the Occupy Wall Street crowd had inflitrated a nearby Wal Mart near 75th and I-35.
"They started their sale at 10 p.m.," Shawnee resident John Smalley told me. "And everybody got their stuff and was in line when a group of about 20 of the Occupy Kansas City people formed in the clothing section and started chanting."
No harm, no foul, Smalley said.
About that time – around 12:15 a.m. a big ass black dude and his posse lumbered out of Target announcing, "All the good shit’s gone, y’all. All the good shit’s gone."
That’s when I noticed that the obnoxious Target security dude playing big shot out front was decked out in a regular Target clothes uniform along with a lime green nylon vest that read, "Assets Protection."
No kidding. Assets Protection is what they call the department store dicks at Target.
After finally entering and getting ready to leave, I noticed that the cart my daughters were stuck with would have to go through a checkout line far more daunting than the line to get inside earlier.
Because, going in was a breeze – just wave and walk. Getting out, on the other hand, entailed the full blown checkout experience, multiplied by the hundreds of people ahead of us.
To my surprise, Target kicked ass and it went super fast. Kinda like the lines at Forever 21 at Oak Park.
In fact, we got in and out so fast, I let my daughters con me into driving to Oak Park Mall.
That’s right, it was 1:30 a.m. when we turned into Oak Park’s jam packed parking lot. Uh, oh. This could get ugly.
Little did I realize, I would soon learn that Oak Park Mall’s Midnight Madness Sale was bogus.
No Dillard’s. No J.C. Penny. No Nordstrom. No Barnes & Nobel. No Victoria’s Secret. No Pink. No Hallmark. No Limited. No Food Court. No Forever 21. And-on-and-on-and-on. No most of the stores that usually are open. Roaming the mall, darkened by mostly closed stores was a ghostly experience.
The bottom line being Oak Park lured shoppers like my daughters to a (more than half empty mall.
"We got a call from corporate a couple days before Thanksgiving telling us we had to work because most of the stores here would be open," says a Delia’s staffer. "Maybe if they’d advertised it better more stores would have stayed open and more people would have come."
We’ll see how well Oak Park does next year after crying wolf this year…