Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanks!

A day prior to Thanksgiving, I was confused on the whole Thanksgiving stuff. "Man, when in Rome, you must be like the Romans," my friend declared, "You have been in the US for more than 3 months now and you don't know anything about their festivals? What kind of visitor are you? Ever paid attention to the cultural exchanges that cross-cultural program you took back in the office at Bangalore, spoke about? Would you like someone coming to your home and telling you that they are confused about Christmas? Leave everything aside, yes even keeping up with match scores, google it now and find it out. And once you do it, let me know as well."

The point is misunderstood. Let me rephrase. A day prior to Thanksgiving, I was confused on the whole Thanksgiving shopping stuff. Should I buy anything or not? Let me find out what I need now and what I'd like to have.

I definitely need a camera. I have been drooling over the Canon Digital Rebel XT ever since I received my first salary here. But it is quite expensive and I need some time and some more guts to go for it, especially when "I have arrived in the US just at the right age to save for my home, my marriage, my wife, my car, my kid, my kid's education, my parents' retirement, my own retirement and all seasons of Duck Tales on a DVD collection."

So the camera is out, for now. Next I'd like to have a laptop. But what the hell I'm going to use my laptop for? Blogging, playing music, playing games, reading newsgator, contributing on my employer's intranet forums, free porn, cricket, chatting, tagging music, Yahoo finance and moneycontrol, Outlook web access, downloading music, Imagestation. Is it worth spending my time? Not completely. In case you have not observed in the right hand section on "What I am reading", I have not completed a book that I started reading in September till today. (And because it was due, I had to return it too) I need to devote some more time for reading. And no, by reading, I don't mean just erotic stories. And with a laptop around, it is simply not possible.

So laptop is out, for now, too. Then I definitely need some stuff which I can give as gift to my friends, relatives, if I can get it cheaper in bulk. But what kind of useful stuff I can get at CompUSA or BestBuy or Circuit City where my friends are planning to go to? Would someone like a wireless earphone? What about 1 GB flashdrive? Or a camera maybe? Yeah let's see.

So I was thinking about this stuff on Thursday evening. I had prepared dal rice for me (in case you don't know, my roommate - A - is on three weeks' vacation to India and I am all alone to experiment in my kitchen!) and was just finishing my starters (chips and ketchup), when I received a call from S announcing that they have invited me for the dinner. I hate this. I struggle for an hour for this dal (again the time taken was because it was not my recipe I was trying, but A's) and this idiot calls me after all the hard work is over? I am very much tempted to swear at him and kick his you_know_what. But I am equally tempted by his offer to order Palak Paneer Pizza from Pan-Am and finally accept his suggestion to finish the rice on Friday. And while we are ordering pizza over the phone, we decide to leave for the Tacoma mall very early at 4:30 AM to get in the queue not to miss any good deal. So I am dressed very casually in a capri and sandals. Some last minute wisdom and I wear socks because it is quite cold outside. Then we go out and get the pizzas, go to S's (not the one who called me, the other one) place and devour it. Then, with contented stomach and mind, we start thinking about the next day's shopping list. My wristwatch shows 10:30 PM PST.

We search the sites like bf2005.com and blackfriday.gotadeal.com and come up with our wish list. We divide ourselves in three groups and assign each aforementioned shop to each group. Then our self-proclaimed leader S (the one who called me) addresses us with all the vehemence he can muster after a sumptuous meal about the meaning of being a thanksgiving shopper. The point of picking-anything-we-see-as-a-good-deal-and-dropping-it-in-the-shopping-cart is repeatedly stressed upon us. It is more important, according to S, to do this, as we just have a single cellphone between us. That cellphone at that hour reads 11:15 PM.

Now as we are ready to head for home for a short nap till 4:30 AM when we are decided to leave, I notice that CompUSA opens at 12:00 AM and not at 5:00 AM according to a popular belief that holds in the bedroom. In a sudden found passion, S calls to leave for Tacoma mall whatever state we are currently in. A little bit of arguments over how reliable my information is and a couple of unanswered phone calls to CompUSA later, we are all set to leave. And S assures us that we should be back by around 1, so no need to go to everyone's house to get ready. I wear R's 30" jeans and S wears M's 34". I have a jacket and am wearing socks, so am good for any reasonably cold night out, but S is in his bedroom sleepers. Despite of that, he refuses to wear any shoes. With a bottle of water and few monkey caps, we are all set to go. The car radio shines with bright green letter of 11:45.

We hit I-5 and within 20-25 minutes are in a reach of Tacoma mall exit with emotions ranging from total skepticism to complete optimism. When we enter into the CompUSA premise, we see a not-so-long line outside the store and we are quite happy at our intelligent decision making. Sharp at 12, we are let inside the store and we start raiding whichever rack we see fit attacking. Soon our shopping carts are full to their brims. But while we are enjoying our loot, we don't pay attention to a queue being formed for billing around the store. This is longer than the one outside and we curse ourselves for not getting into it, when we had a chance. But there is no point in cribbing now, so one of us gets in the queue and others continue shopping. After we have picked some more missed items, two of us get in the line and other three go in the car for rest. We keep shuffling the resting population and finally when we are done with the shopping and are out in the car, it is around 2:45 AM.

As per the original plan, we are thinking now to go home, get refreshed a bit, and get the map and driving directions to the South Center mall where Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears and JCPenny are located in one campus. But some of the sane one's argue that they can see Circuit City, Sears and JCPenny at Tacoma mall, sitting right in the car and start debate over whether we should travel 40 mi more to go to South Center mall just for an additional Best Buy. But the tiredness (and lust for few things in Best Buy) is taking over the majority and we decide to listen to it. So we get out of the mall area, start towards I-5. But suddenly S remembers that there is another entry for I-5, which is less congested (For those who are wondering about why we are worried about congestion at 3:00 AM, let me see you in your elements at that hour). So we take a U-turn and head towards the other one. And next thing we see is Best Buy. Now the sane ones take over the tired ones and we confirm on staying the Tacoma mall till 5:00 AM.

Now there are two shops opening at the same time. So we split ourselves in two groups, me, S and S for BestBuy and M and R for Circuit City. We have a single most important advantage over the other group. The car. So we get in the long queue in the freezing night one by one, while other two relax. To add to the shivering temperature, just when S is thanking someone for a clear weather, it starts raining. But luckily, S (the other one) has bought an umbrella (!) at CompUSA (!!) and we make a full use of it. God bless his instincts. We are also served with the Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Starbucks coffee by the BestBuy employees. God bless them too. A few hours roll by and at last all the cheap stuff is unleashed before us. At least I feel like a kid in the free candy stores, looking at the sheer volume. We quickly set for the stuff we need and within 10 minutes we have finished filling up the shopping cart. Now as we are wiser with our experience in CompUSA, one of us quickly gets in the line and other continue wandering about in the wonderland. It does not take much and at 5:45 AM, we are out of it.

The other commando unit of R and M has attacked Circuit City well, with a caveat. When we reach, they are awaiting us with a bad news. The thing is that we have purchased 8 Panasonic cordless phones from BestBuy and it was available in Circuit City for $10 less! And before anyone can ask, M worsens the scene with the information that they are sold out and are not taking special orders. But still we venture into Circuit City and leech out whatever we deem fit for ourselves. The Circuit City billing counter is the worst we have seen in last 6 hrs, and it is almost 7 AM when we are finished with everything and head back to the car.

We are really hungry, tired and smelling bad (what would you expect if you don't sleep whole night and don't brush?) by now. So while some of us are thinking of going home and hitting their respective beds, S (the leader) and R think it'd be the best to stay here for 2 more hours, and finish Sears and JCPenny once for all and then go home with the satisfaction of I_got_everything_and_all_you_got_is_sleep. To fuel our further excavation, we purchase 2 dozen of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and after finishing 15 of them, enter Sears while it showers heavily outside.

The shopping at Sears is quite unhappening, at least for me, as I don't usually find the right sized clothes in Men's section and I am ashamed to check out the Boy's section. So I just purchase a Tee and refill my inventory of socks and undergarments. After that me and S are no longer interested in further shopping and we back out to catch up with remaining sleep in the car. R and M join us soon (at about 9:00 AM). After an hour of sleep or so, first R and then I start wondering why the hell hasn't S come back to drive us home. I take up the job to conduct a search for him at Sears and JCPenny. I don't have to trot too much, and find him at Anna's shopping for things like pillows and towels. I too join him for it and after 10 minutes we are back to the car.

Everybody is too eager, at this point to reach home and sleep. But as we reach home, S (the leader) thinks it would be in everybody's best interest to finish off the accounts till it is fresh. The interests are his too many, I guess, since he has paid for the most of the things! But still it is a valid point when we have spent around $1,500 and we crawl our way out of the unromantic numbers by 1:00 PM. After a quick meal of rice-dal, we are all set to part and put an end to the wonderful experience at the Thanksgiving shopping.

signing off,

Update I: After coming home at 3:00 PM on Friday afternoon, I got in the bed and woke up at 11:00 AM next morning. That's 20 hrs straight, barring an hour when I woke up at 1:00 AM to answer a phone from S, drink water and start writing this blog. Should I call guys at Guinness Book of World Records, do you reckon?

Update II: I have not brushed my teeth yet after I brushed on the Thursday morning at the moment of starting this blog. Yuck!

Update III: I have brushed my teeth thrice on Saturday.

1 comment:

Golbguru said...

Thanks for the link nku, this was entertaining to read :)

Btw, "I have arrived in the US just at the right age to save for my home, my marriage, my wife, my car, my kid, my kid's education, my parents' retirement, my own retirement and all seasons of Duck Tales on a DVD collection." ....I know the car is done deal, question is when are the other things happening :)

I am eagerly waiting for your post-thanksgiving post for this year :)