Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Week Was For The Birds

Dottie & I managed to get out with Scott and his dog Penny to do some chicken wackin' on Wednesday.

The day was unseasonably warm and foggy. But we managed to get off some points, down the limit of birds and end the morning on a high note.

Scott's dog Penny was outstanding. It was Dot's first time out this year so her nose was a bit off but we did manage to get a few double points.

It's quite a sight to see two English Setters both locked onto a bird.

We didn't miss any and were out of the field in little more than an hour.

Not a bad hunt at all.

It was expected. My hunting time this year would be brief. Not much time to get out in the field. Maybe I'll get to southwestern Illinois in a week or so to visit Nestor and wack some waterfowl. The present cold snap should push the big fat northern mallards down soon. He tells me that lack of high water may cause an early freeze and the ducks may just keep going to Arkansas to stop, rest and feed. It happens. We'll see.

Nestor sent me the results of their weekend deer hunt on his property. Between three guys they bagged four really nice bucks in two days. That's gonna' fill the freezers.

Thanksgiving day was a rerun. We have it down like clockwork. Between me and her we hosted and cooked for about two dozen family members. Not long ago we had as many as forty but as time goes on some passed away or moved away. Two dozen hungry ones deserve the best so we brined and roasted one 18 lb'r. in the oven.

We also fried this 11 lb. bird.

But wait, there's more! We also smoked this 12 lb. bird on the Weber.

That was a lot of bird and the only leftover is one half of the roasted bird. She likes it that way because she isn't crazy about the flavor of leftover fried or smoked turkey on sandwiches or in turkey & noodles. The carcass makes outstanding soup too. By Monday I won't be able to even think about eating any poultry.

Then came Friday.

This time I was a part of it. Black Friday they call it. Sounds too creepy and evil to me. This is shopping greed at it's worst, warts and all.

No way would I go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. No. Fvcking. Way…and never have. I hate shopping on a normal quiet day. Years ago I recall watching the video on television news  of people fighting over tickle me dildo dolls and getting trampled by the unwashed masses running into store to save a hundred bucks on a television. How is that worth it? Waking up in the wee wee hours, standing in line with similar idiots and clawing your way into a store to spend money. Fools. My shopping is now done  online from the warmth of the home because the online deals are great and so many offer free shipping.

This year was different for me. Working at the big retail outdoor outfitter store causes me to work odd hours but I was one of the lucky ones to be on the other side of the Black Friday retail glut of greed. Yep. Woke up at 3:30 am to be on the floor by the 5am opening. I must admit, this was an adventure that I found to be another event in life I should experience at least once. All the past week those who had been a part of it in the past told me horror stories. Pishposh and flapdoodle I thought. No way could it be that awful. Hell, I would be on the other side of the mess. I asked for it (the big retail outfitter job) and dammit I was going to go through with it. 

On Tuesday I packed fifty 500 round plastic dry boxes of .223 Rem. Ammo would be one of the doorbusters in the newspaper ad. To be precise, the deal was for Federal American Eagle brass case 50 grain ammo that was being offered packed in a metal military reusable dry can from the factory, my custom-packed contribution was to serve as a backup for when we ran out of the factory packed stuff. The metal cans were priced at $159.99, a savings of a whole, what,  $30? The other offers were a $100+ Simmons Spotting scope with tripod and camera mount for $39.99, a Ruger (stainless steel and composite stock) 10/22 rifle, a takedown model that was $70 off retail, some binocs along with good deals on other ammo, guns and outdoor goods that were figured to be sold rather briskly.

At the 5am opening I stood drinking my last coffee with the manager on the balcony overlooking the front entrance. He turned to me and said, "I hate this day, I really, really hate this day more than any other". I responded with a "how bad could it really be" and he just sneered.

The opening was orderly. I thought logically, these weren't women storming a department store or time poor young moderns looking to buy discounted electronics. Why, these were going to be mostly men, bitter clingers like me to be more exact. They seemed to be. As I drove up most waiting in line were dressed in camo or blaze orange some had been in line since the previous evening. Oh, I forgot to mention this - the first 600 to enter were going to receive an envelope. In it each would win one of many gift cards worth $100 to $25 so everyone was a winner. A reward if you will for standing out in the cold for hours. Some would win Nikon binoculars, a pro smoker or the ultimate prize of one Browning A-Bolt rifle in 300 WSM, a very nice prize indeed!

So I am thinking this was a brilliant strategy. Get the crowd to enter orderly, two-by-two reaching for what could be a lucky envelope. This was no fool's rush of women seeking a cheap, trendy tickle me dildo toy like they show in TV news I reasoned. Hey, these were men. Mature and respectful, or so I thought. How wrong I was.

I took my position near the computer workstation, centrally located within the hunting department. Right next to where a pallet loaded with that sale priced .223 was stacked. Then they came. Saving $30 on some bulk ammo was the first thing most customers came after. I looked at the clock. At 5:15 am all the metal cans had vanished. I called the manager on the 2-way. Get out the plastic ammo dry box backup from the warehouse he said. I went back and using a pallet jack grabbed the 50 cans and hauled it all out to the floor. Here is where it broke bad for me.

As I neared the area where customers were waiting for this delivery I had my back turned. Someone yelled, "here it comes"!! The next thing I knew was a guy jumped on my back, crawled over me to grab a box of ammo and knocked me aside and then all the plastic containers of ammo went flying off of the pallet. A couple of guys yelled at the jerk. One asked if I was OK. I was. Another asked why I didn't punch the butthole out. Not worth my knuckles I told him. Needless to say, the 50 boxes were gone in about a minute, it was a mad grab.

The manager heard about this and called me on the 2-way. He told me to get back to the warehouse. When I arrived he and another worker were packing more plastic dry boxes of PMC .223 55 grain, a slightly higher priced round. Once they had a pallet loaded he asked me if I wanted to haul it out to the floor. I told him no problem, but told him I would not be taking it back to the area where the insane mad ammo clowns were. He said, "can't blame you, put it wherever you wish".

So. I hauled the pallet out and dropped it off one aisle over. Then I approached a few dozen guys waiting and said' "I have an announcement, if you proceed in an orderly fashion to the next aisle there's more boxes of .223". They were more orderly but then came the complaints. "This isn't American Eagle, this is PMC, and the boxes are plastic". Take it or leave it was my response with a shrug. They took it but more customers were replacing the ones that left. Both Don (a co-worker) and I were being badgered constantly by impatient customers waiting for their $30 wonder-ammo-deal-of-a-lifetime.

This went on for an hour or so. Some were pleased, others angry. Tuff shit you jerks. By lunchtime the story spread throughout the store. Some approached me to ask if it were true. One customer came up to me an hour or so later to ask if I was ok.

This was definitely men behaving badly. I'd seen it in bars and at tailgates before but not in a retail store at 5am. As far as I could tell none of them were drunk, For once in my life I was ashamed at my gender. This was no different than crazed women rushing into a department store for a 50% off shoe sale. Who knew.

1 comment:

Carl from Chicago said...

Sorry about that guy jumping on your back. At least you got to experience the dark side of black Friday.

Great hunting photos and I love your dog running with her tongue out that is a favorite.