Saturday, December 1, 2007

I See... Black Friday Bonding with Children

This year, I decided to raise Black Friday bonding to a whole new level; I did it with six children!

Yes, that’s right. Six kids between the ages of 10 and 15.

Sensing the buzz among my nieces and nephews, you would have thought it was the Christmas Eve. We were at my sister’s house in Nashville, and on the floor in the family room were the young children of four different grown Tait children, bedding down for a slumber party. My brother Bill and I promised that we would wake them up at 4:00 am the next morning to descend on Circuit City.

We decided to make this memorable experience for them, and a manageable one for us, by turning it into a military operation emphasizing the thrill of the hunt over a rational search for a deal. When 4:00 am came, we roused them up ruthlessly with drill sergeant barks of “Lets go! Lets go! Time to mobilize! Go! Go! Go!” Once they were tucked away in the van, we sped away and I instructed them on their mission.

The first thing I did was give them one-word codenames that reflected some aspect of their known character. They were all fairly manly, tough labels, which heightened the aura of excitement and suspense that is supposed to accompany all military maneuvers, but I won’t repeat them here because some of them could be considered too embarrassing later. I did, however, call them by their code names for the rest of the operation.

“Men! (including my Leslie and another niece) It is time to launch the mission! Your mission is to acquire the target at all costs. The target is an HP All-in-one printer for 149.99 at Circuit City. Is that clear?” I commanded in a loud voice.

“Yes Sir!” was their feeble, early morning reply.

In a classic show of pseudo-military authority, I shouted the command again, the traditional strategy designed for a more enthusiastic response. “I can’t hear you! IS THAT CLEAR!”

“YES SIR!” They yelled back.

I then made them repeat the target identity over and over. “what is the assigned target?” I would command.

“HP All-in-one printer for 149.99!” they replied confidently and repeatedly.

Once we arrived at Circuit City and found our places in line, I divided them up into teams of two and assigned them sectors of the store. “Your team has the left sector! You two take the middle sector! And this team, you take the right sector! Your mission is to acquire the target at all costs!”

It was truly an entertaining experience to watch my nieces and nephews embrace the military operation concept and assume their roles in our carefully coordinated mission. They babbled incessantly about all the clever strategies they would employ to get around or through other customers on their quest to “acquire the target.” I would occasionally call them to formation and command them to recite a description of the target to keep control over them. After listening to several of their brags and boasts about the sacrifices they were willing to make to acquire the target, I was a little worried, and was forced to modify the “at all costs” instruction to “all legal means at your disposal.” Who needs cable? I mused. Watching them get pumped up to bust through the front doors and scour the store for a printer was much more entertaining.

The actual pursuit and acquisition of the printer was fairly anti-climactic. They were only letting 10 customers in at a time to cut down on the trampling and shoving, and one of store clerks had already let it slip that the sale printers could be found under the big blue balloon in the left sector. Still, once the kids got inside, they raced through the store, quickly found the printer, and performed a celebratory dance to advertise their victory. They seemed happy and fulfilled, and a memory was made.

Mission Accomplished.


  1. Just did Robert spend his Black Friday?

  2. I love the blog. Your first post made me a little teary. We are grateful to be close to MD again so we can visit often. We will actually be there in a few weeks.

  3. Robert did not have the hunger - however, he did donate two of his children to the cause!

  4. I LOVE the blog, Ashley just told me about it! I "blogstalk" my friends both far and NEAR! I am looking forward to more interesting posts! We love and appreciate your family so much!