I’m not a skilled shopper and I don’t like crowds. The closest I’ve come to a Black Friday experience occurred in the early 1980s.
Carol, my neighbor and friend, had a preschool daughter Erin about the same age as my son Kyle. Carol told me about a fundraising event in Northumberland, sponsored by an organization, maybe Kiwanis. They somehow had a large quantity of damaged toys or sets with missing pieces, enough to reconfigure them into complete, new toys.
So early one Saturday morning, we traveled from Montandon to Northumberland and stood outside in the chilly air for not too long. I seem to remember Carol was somewhat pregnant, while I had a baby in a carrier, and hopefully the older kids were with their fathers. Who remembers? When the doors opened, we rushed in, and I was immediately dazzled by all the wonderful, cheap toys.
More toys were geared to girls than boys, but I nabbed a little wooden two step slide by Creative Playthings. DON’T Google this product; it was recalled as a death hazard! Nevertheless, Kyle loved it, and all my boys enjoyed it for years.
I also bought a large doll house, in spite of it being a girly object. It came disassembled in a box as a stack of walls that fit together with slots. That item also lived a long, happy life with the Brosius boys. Dozens of Ninja Turtles and Marvel Superheroes scaled its walls and used it as a secret hideout. Best of all, it took very little effort to destabilize the structure, and the boys loved watching it collapse on its inhabitants.
Years before my sons were young men with expensive tastes, before they were teenagers with little taste, before they discovered pricey video game systems and Lego sets more costly than a week’s groceries, they had no Christmas wish lists and reveled in refurbished toys from a fundraising sale.
It was a merry Christmas.