The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 28, 2013

A battle for bargains

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Editor’s note: This column was first published Nov. 28, 2003.

All right troops. Now that you’ve gorged yourself on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and polished off a big piece of pumpkin pie, it’s time to talk strategy.

No. We’ll take a nap later. Now, we’re talking war.

Yes, war, and somebody wake Aunt Edna up, she’s sliding into the giblet soufflé.

We are going to war, and some of us might not come back. I know, it’s a grim thought, but war, as someone once said, is hell, er, heck. Sorry, I forgot about the kids.

Anyway, we need to form a battle plan. At 0400 on T-Day Plus One, that’s the day after turkey day, for those of you not paying close attention, we will go into battle.

What do you mean you thought we were going Christmas shopping? That’s what I’m talking about, you meathead. Oh, sorry dear, I didn’t mean meathead, I meant sweethead, er, sweetheart.

You think Christmas shopping is fun? You think Christmas shopping will be some sort of walk in the park? Think again, pilgrim.

Christmas shopping is hard, it’s bloody, it’s brutal, it’s dangerous, and that’s just getting in the door. It’s kind of like the first 10 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan,” only with shopping carts

When you go Christmas shopping on T-Day Plus 1, you will be pushed, elbowed, jostled, stepped on and shoved, and that’s just in the rest room.

We will gather at 0400 in front of headquarters. That’s our house, Billy. Then we board the assault vehicles that will transport us on our mission. Our cars, dear, our cars.

Once we reach our first destination, the humongously huge national chain discount center, we will send some advance scouts in to reconnoiter and report back on battlefield conditions. That means we’ll send a couple of people inside the store to see how crowded it is, Grandpa.

Once our advance scouts return, if they return, we will each synchronize our watches and be issued our orders and our weapons. Shopping lists and charge cards, George, and will you lay off the sweet potatoes, you’re going to eat your way right out of this outfit and any outfit that doesn’t have an elastic waistband.

When we have our orders and have been issued our weapons, we will proceed thusly. Hit the lights, will you Susie? Thanks. Now, this first slide shows the floor plan of our objective. Mom, I want you and Cousin Hortense to hit housewares. Bob, you and George will tackle sporting goods. Grandpa, you and Susie will head for electronics. I will take Aunt Edna and storm the toy department.

Watch your buddy’s back, and your buddy will watch yours. United we stand, divided we settle for fruitcake.

But if your buddy can no longer complete the mission, leave him or her behind. This means you, kids. Just report to customer service if you get lost, where, with any luck, they’ll give you an ice cream cone. And Grandpa, don’t pull that “I’m lost, I need a hug,” stunt again this year. The female cashiers are wise to you.

Our mission is to fill our Christmas lists and withdraw with as few casualties, and with as much money left in our accounts, as possible. Just remember our motto, bargains, bargains, bargains. That is why little Billy got an electric razor last year instead of the “Tickle Me and I’ll Sue You Elmo” he asked for. Hey, he’ll thank me some day, when he learns to talk.

Remember, this is war, and in the heat of battle sometimes mistakes are made. Grandma didn’t particularly appreciate the Eminem CD she received last Christmas, until she found out it helped drive mice from the house. Way to go, Grandma. Hey, you watch your mouth.

If you get the wrong item, the wrong size, the wrong color, don’t turn back. We must move forward at all times. Which is why I have been limping for the last year, trying to stuff my size 14 feet into those size 10 shoes I was given last Christmas.

Now we get to the gruesome part, the actual fighting. Say, for instance, there is just one bottle of Harley Davidson Perfume, which makes you smell like a garage, left on the shelf, and, just as you grab for it, someone else gets it first. Here are a couple of tactics to try. First, distract your opponent. Say something like, “Hey, look, they’re selling camouflage nighties for half price” or, “Hey, they just got in a truckload of Drunk and Disorderly Barbie” dolls. If that doesn’t work, simply try to out-wrestle them for the bottle. Yes, Grandpa, we’re talking real wrestling, with eye gouging, flying drop-kicks and attractive female managers.

All right troops, that is all. Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em. Lights out at 2100.

We need to be rested and ready for tomorrow’s combat.

And never forget the true meaning of Christmas — love your neighbor, unless he gets between you and a bargain.

Mullin is News & Eagle senior writer. Email him at