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In light of the big news items about Black Friday, I wanted to share this.

I did my only Black Friday shopping at my favorite local store.

While there, I witnessed one of the workers and another customer assuring an immigrant woman - via her grade school aged son who acted as translator - that, yes, she could leave her shopping cart and items she intended to purchase near the counter while she took her son to try on clothes, and they would watch that no one took them.

I got to help a man pick out a shirt that would match the garish snowman tie he wanted to wear to a Christmas party - his first date since he got divorced 6 months ago. He was genuinely thankful for my assistance.

I watched another woman help the same man, teaching him how to tie the tie.

I watched the woman at the register patiently remove all the items of a large order she just rang up, and then re-ring some items because the woman buying the items discovered she didn't have enough money to purchase all of them.

I got smiles and hello's. People held the door for other people. Folks complimented strangers on the items they picked to buy.

And while I only walked out of the store with an old blanket I intend to use as a fireplace cover and some second hand sweaters, I came home with a great treasure to start my holiday season off on the right foot.

The people shopping there truly practiced the message in the store's name - Goodwill.

I think about that poor man that lost his life yesterday in the mad rush of consumerism and it breaks my heart. I don't want to be the one who tramples someone else on a headlong rush into the holidays. It doesn't have be a physical trampling either. You never know when you might be the last person someone tries reaching out to. A smile or a kind word may be all they need to pull them back from the brink.

I don't know how much time I will have for reading and posting in the next few weeks as I try to get ready for the holidays, but I just wanted to extend a belated Thanksgiving thank you to all you fine folks here for the great advice, amusing anecdotes, thoughtful debates and general wonderfulness you all add to this site. And to also give you my warmest wishes for a happy holiday season since it is now upon us. I hope you all enjoy the days of preparation leading up to the holidays as much as big day itself, whatever your particular holiday may be. But remember, as you revel in the hustle and bustle, keep an eye out for the folks who might need you to reach down and give them a hand up. It very well may be the most important gift we can ever give.
 

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Your message touched my heart. I hate watching the news anymore because it's so depressing. It's uplifting to hear there are still people who are willing to help a perfect stranger.
 

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I am so, so glad to read this. With all the bad news, I was thinking I was the only one who had a good experience shopping yesterday. The sale started at 5 am at our local WalMart. We got there around 6:30. It wasn't much different than a normal day there. We walked past a lady who had some hot wheels in her cart that were in the ad, and asked where she found them. She took them out of her cart and handed them to us. Said her son saw them and wanted them, but she wasn't buying them. Lots of very helpful people were in there shopping. And with all the checkout lanes open, it took me less time to check out than it does on a normal day after work. Hubby reminded me this WalMart is in the country, while the WalMart we went to before we moved is in a much larger city. Maybe that made the difference, but whatever it was, it made my day.
 

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News media was saying that stores have told personnel to be very very friendly and helpful because they desperately need sales this season.

Our local Goodwill is anything but helpful. Very overpriced in general. I went in Friday and bought 2 sweaters and a jumper for $11. They did not have the tins or canning jars they said they'd keep back for me...but no one bothered to check. I found one quart jar priced at $1 -- it was a fairly new Golden Harvest only worth 25¢ at most.

We've decided everyone is getting cash for Christmas this year so we won't be doing any shopping. I may buy something for mom and m-i-l, but everyone else gets an envelope. I hate to shop. I hate buying made in China crap. I most especially hate to shop in crowded stores at Christmas time. My dh says I'm a bit bah humbug but he doesn't want to shop either!!
 

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I live in a great place. People help each other in the store all the time. I see people letting mom's with small children go ahead of them. I see people picking up clothing that has fallen off the racks from off the floor.

Thanks for this post about others that are finding the same thing out there!
 

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Anne, you are truly a gem. Bless you for your kindness to others, and may you also have a wonderful holiday season! Jan in Co
 

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I am so, so glad to read this. With all the bad news, I was thinking I was the only one who had a good experience shopping yesterday. The sale started at 5 am at our local WalMart. We got there around 6:30. It wasn't much different than a normal day there. We walked past a lady who had some hot wheels in her cart that were in the ad, and asked where she found them. She took them out of her cart and handed them to us. Said her son saw them and wanted them, but she wasn't buying them. Lots of very helpful people were in there shopping. And with all the checkout lanes open, it took me less time to check out than it does on a normal day after work. Hubby reminded me this WalMart is in the country, while the WalMart we went to before we moved is in a much larger city. Maybe that made the difference, but whatever it was, it made my day.
That's exactly my experience in our WM, Target and Kohl's on Friday. But...that doesn't make news :rolleyes:
 

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We had a wonderful Black Friday shopping experience too, including our big city Walmart. It was very crowded but people were just as calm as they usually are on non-sale days. Walmart had more traffic than they had last Black Friday and people were buying. They had a six hour sale on jeans, so DH picked up a pair. We were wondering how long it would take to check out with just the one item, but they had all the cashier lanes open and it took less than ten minutes.

We stopped by another department store to pick up a jar opener for my mother. The young man in the checkout lane in front of us had purchased a television. The cashier was explaining their warranty policy (it was a floor model) and he was a little confused. But no one in the line complained about the delay. While we were waiting, a woman asked DH where he found the can opener, as she had gone there to buy just that item but was unable to locate them. DH told her where they were and offered to get one for her, but she declined as a store clerk was fetching her one from the warehouse.

The same thing happened at another stop we made. Only two cashiers were on the floor, and there was one long checkout line feeding both registers. As luck would have it, several items at the checkout didn't have price tags and so the lines were delayed for price checks. Everyone maintained order in the line and I didn't hear any grousing about the wait. The store had run out of an item that one lady wanted to buy, so one of the clerks called around until she found store that still had the item, then had it put on hold so the lady could pick it up.

We have gone out on Black Friday almost every year, mostly just to people watch. We've gone to crowded malls (my favorite) and crowded department stores. Over the years I can honestly say I've not seen anything like what happened to the poor fellow in NY. I haven't even seen shoppers arguing over items. Not to say bad things don't happen, but like ZMTmom said, calm and orderly Black Friday shopping isn't newsworthy. I daresay the majority of shoppers behave themselves. It's a shame that people who enjoy the post-Thanksgiving Day shopping experience might be judged by the actions of the few who can't control themselves.
 

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Great day for me. Didn't shop - instead I visited with a friend.
Anne, your post reminds me to take time to observe the good surrounding me. Thanks.
 

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You never know when you might be the last person someone tries reaching out to. A smile or a kind word may be all they need to pull them back from the brink.
Thank you for being the messenger on a day when I very, very much needed to hear this message.

Be assured that I will be more aware of TRYING to share the true spirit of the season with others now -- December can be rather stressful for me, and I admit that I had been focussing on the negative news about the holiday rush the last few days, feeling negative about the entire thing. Knowing that others are seeing the true light and joy of this season has made me realize that I have to actually LOOK for it to find it.

So, again, thank you. I wish you and yours a very merry and joyful Christmas.
 

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I shop at Wal-Mart sometimes and Mayfinn farm...when I read your post, I thought it might have been an angel (honestly) that handed you the hot wheels.
 

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I too was a little embarrassed to admit that I went shopping on BF.

While I don't have any heart warming stories to tell, I did not see anything that was rude or scarey.

As it seemed to me, people generally fall into 2 seperate categories:

1. The group of people that are eager to find something at a deep discount.
2. The group of folks that want a good deal, but are unsure that getting up at 3:00 am was really worth it.

Clove
 
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