Retail Workers: You’re Not Alone If You Work Thanksgiving- November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2014 collage

I keep seeing all these posts on my Facebook and Twitter news feeds saying things like, “Boycott Thanksgiving Shopping!” or “Big Retailer X is opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Show them that is not okay!”

Um. Alright. To me, if you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, don’t. Why the fuss? Why do you care if others do? What, you’re concerned for the religious sanctity of a secular national holiday like Thanksgiving?

I come from a family that shops on Black Friday. We are not the extreme crazies who crawl over children and old ladies in wheelchairs at 4:00 am to save $50 on a Playstation. We’re not those assholes. But, I join my extended family at the mall for some shopping and lunch after we draw our cousin’s name. You know, the cousin we shop for that year.

One year my dad gave each group of shoppers one of his high tech Walkie-Talkies. This was before smart phones and group texts. They were color-coded and we had code names. If you had the yellow Walkie-Talkie you were “Yellow Bird.” There was “Green Hornet,” “Blue Bird” and “Black Bear.” This was how we stayed in touch through the crowded mall. We could find the lunch spot with the shortest line, or notify everyone if they found the sweater for Grandma at the best price. My dad required us to use the code names, say “over” and “over and out.” Yes, that story about my family is absolutely true.

I understand why everyone is not all about Black Friday. When people misbehave, it’s a ridiculous display of everything that is wrong with capitalism. I get it.

I heard about the petition calling for Kmart workers to get time off at Thanksgiving. I understand they’re opening at 6am on Thanksgiving Day and remaining open for 42 hours. That’s a lot, but come on! Hospitals are open all the time. Those people want to take off, but may not be able to.

While I’m not working this year, in my adult life I have worked more Thanksgiving weekends than I have had them off. I worked at two different retail stores in college. Immediately after college I was in TV news and I knew that was part of the job. I can’t tell you how many Thanksgiving mornings I covered the local rescue mission’s turkey dinner or the Turkey 5K. If you get a job as a Sales Associate at Best Buy, chances are, your Thanksgiving is cut short because you gotta be in the store by midnight. That’s part of the job. I was always told, “If you want holidays off, get a job and the bank or the Post Office.” You know who else works Thanksgiving? LOTS OF PEOPLE! Including:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Law enforcement
  • EMT
  • Firefighters (You know some idiot will catch their house on fire because of a turkey fryer.)
  • News people (Someone has to cover the house fires.)
  • The Detroit Lions
  • Whatever NFL team is beating the Lions.
  • Al Roker with his giant scissors.
  • The other hosts and crew of the Today Show. (Somebody has to put on the Macy’s parade.)
  • The up-and-coming pop star on the Carvel float singing “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” in the parade.

I could go on and on. Kmart employees, you are not alone. Lots of people work on Thanksgiving. This petition and all this drama is making news because stores announced they are opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day. People having to work on Thanksgiving is not new. Get your holiday hours, bitch to your coworkers and survive. Yay capitalism! Happy Holidays!

 

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12 Months- November 20, 2014

Henry 12 months

 

Dear Henry,

You’re two weeks into your second year. Happy  (belated) Birthday! Don’t worry, we celebrated right on time. I’m just late writing your letter. I’m not sure why I put it off. At first I was a little sad your first year was over, but in these two weeks I’m remembering how much I love age 1 and I’m excited for all that is to come. I also wanted to take you to the doctor to get a good update on all your stats. Plus, how can I be sad? This first year with you has been so wonderful and full of memories. Daddy and I can’t believe we’ve been the parents of two for a year.

Little man, you are 20 lbs. 12 oz., in the 17% percentile. You’re 29 1/2 inches long, in the 38th percentile. That noggin reigns supreme at 19 1/4 inches, in the 97th percentile. You’re smaller than I would have guessed you’d be at your first birthday because of your rapid growth as a young infant, but you are right on track and the doctors say you are doing great.

You know how to walk. You either take two steps and then plop back down on your tush and crawl, or you unsteadily walk across the room, then plop on your tush and crawl some more. I think you know how fast you can crawl, so you just do that because you get where you are going faster. There is an exception to that. When you get behind your new Thomas The Train you are off! It doesn’t stop at Thomas. You push your sister’s old Wheely Bug around the house, her doll strollers and your new Mega Blocks truck. You run into our legs, get stuck in the door and scream for help. You are a determined little guy. We love it.

Henry with his Thomas the Train

What we don’t love is all the bumps, bruises and scrapes you are suddenly acquiring with all your unsteady movement. You have a cut by your right eye from falling into the kitchen cabinets while pulling yourself up. This is just before family pictures this weekend, naturally. Of course, right before your Baby Dedication at church you banged your head in the bathtub and got a bruise on your left eye. Sweet baby! Please be careful! You have your mama on edge. I’m constantly chasing you and scooping you up to save you from yourself! Don’t hurt that handsome little face!

You are eating everything now. We try to give you as many of the same foods we eat everyday.  You are SO MESSY! If we’re at home, I don’t bother with a bib. You rip it off. We just strip you down. Henry, it is not unusual to give you multiple baths in a day after eating or pooping. The broom and the vacuum are always nearby when you eat, son. We have also taken a scrub brush to your high chair in recent weeks to clean caked-on food.

Henry eating on his 1st birthday

You love your Daddy and get so excited when he comes home. You watch your big sister and love to play with whatever she’s playing with. You two are learning to share. You still love to snuggle with me while nursing, just a few times a day. You love when I sing little songs for you and play peek-a-boo.

Henry, we play this little game, where I open the door and “surprise” you when you lay down for a nap or for bed. You giggle heartily and sleepily before falling asleep. The sound of your laughter is one of the best sounds in our house. You make our family whole. Your giggles make our hearts whole. Thank you for the privilege of being your mother. Thank you for a great first year. I love you, my sweet, sweet boy.

Love,

Mama

Our family at Henry's Baby Dedication

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Christmas Saved! November 18, 2014

Wanted-poster found

When I wrote my Christmas plea on Thursday I didn’t anticipate we would have fulfilled this holiday wish in a weekend. Ya’ll are amazing! Seriously, thank you for the Tweets, emails, comments and Facebook messages. We were overwhelmed. The Internet can be an awesome place some times.

We couldn’t have done it without your tips. Some of you had friends who worked at Target and had insider information about shipments. Others found out the dolls would be featured in the Sunday newspaper circular and dolls were likely being stored in warehouses before restocking on Sunday. Friends from other states sent me Facebook messages after discovering dolls were near them. Others were coming to the Raleigh area soon and promised to look at their Target before traveling. One reader just moved to town and happened to find my post as she was searching for dolls for her niece. She offered to help us find dolls for Charlotte. It was all amazing. THANK YOU!

Jenni fb

Anna and Elsa selfies

Creepy. We know. I told you they were huge dolls. Ugh. They’re gonna haunt my dreams.

I’ve had people ask me, how did we get from Target app searches to Mommy/Elsa Daddy/Anna selfies? How did we NOT have to resort to price gougers charging 3 TIMES the price of the dolls on eBay and Amazon? Some legwork and then some luck made it happen. To get hard-to-find toys for the 2014 holiday, I have these tips:

  1. Put out the word! Tell Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your blog (if you have one) that you need help. You’d be surprised. I heard, “Hey, just saw one returned at XYZ store yesterday.”
  2. Keep checking online. Everyday. I got the tip to check early in the morning. Someone told me about sites like this one that keep track of merchandise at certain stores.
  3. Be an early bird! Call stores first thing in the morning. That is when they are unloading shipments. On Saturday I snagged Elsa when I called and they randomly happened to get two Elsas off the truck that morning. I had them put one on hold for me. The other was gone when I got there. I’m glad they held it because I had to answer the door for some Jehovah’s Witnesses before I could get to Target. True story. It was crazy cold and they wanted to share a passage from Jeremiah. They were very nice. I listened, but I was thinking of Elsa. Greyson got Anna at 7:00am on a Sunday. I heard others say they tried the early morning thing and struck out.
  4. Luck. We got lucky.

Another thing to consider is shipping cost.  Someone in another state found a toy my friend’s son wanted a few years ago and was able to ship it. Well, it was smaller. Shipping was likely less. These dolls are ginormous. Lord knows how much it would have cost to mail them. Yeesh! I likely could’ve bought them on eBay for that price. My sister-in-law in Denver tried to find out if she could get free shipping with her Target card or Red Card or whatever they call it. I had my feelers out everywhere, but I focused my search in-state for that reason.

Again, thank you! We were so touched that friends, family and total strangers were willing to help our daughter’s Christmas wishes come true. Anna and Elsa are tucked away in a storage closet, creepily staring into the dark until Christmas morning. Happy Holidays everyone!

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WANTED: My Size Elsa & Anna- November 13, 2014

Wanted Poster "Frozen" My Size Anna My Size Elsa dolls Christmas 2014

It was late September or early October when she first saw them. It was during a weekly pilgrimage to our suburban Mecca. You know, Target. My babes were tucked into the cart as I turned down the toy aisle so my daughter could pick out a present for the multiple 4th birthday parties we’ve been to this fall. We were shopping for boys so she bargained with me to go to her favorite place on earth, the princess aisle in the toy department.

It was maybe 10 seconds after I turned the corner that I heard her gasp. “Anna and Elsa! They’re giant!” I turned to see two dolls as big as my 4-year-old staring out of boxes marked “Only at Target.” Here they are, My Size Elsa and My Size Anna:

My Size Elsa My Size Anna dolls in the box

Picture from eBay.com

Have you seen them? Trust me, you’d know if you saw them, they are freakishly child-sized.  Well, I haven’t seen them since that day. Believe me, I’ve been to Target since then. Now I’m kicking myself for the discussion that ensued.

Her: “Mama! Can we get those dolls?!”

Me: “No, we’re not buying toys for you today. We’re getting presents for your friends.”

Her: “Mom, I just want to get out of the cart to look at them! Can I look at them?”

Me: “Charlotte, you have a hard time when we come to the princess aisle. If I let you out of the cart, you can look at the dolls, but when I say it’s time to go, it’s time to go. No fussing about it.”

Her: “Okay!”

This is when I tried to take her picture with the boxes to send my husband so he could share in this insanity. He had to witness the continued brilliance of Disney marketing that we’ve marveled at since “Frozen” was released last year. My phone died right then, so I’ll just tell you that her eyes were glazed over as she peered through the clear plastic at her heroines who were suddenly her size.

Her: “Mama can we get them?! Please!!??”

Me: “No, I told you we’re not buying toys for you today.”

Here’s where I went wrong but didn’t know it.

Me: “Maybe this is something you can put on your Christmas list. You could ask Santa for one of the dolls.”

Her: “I want Anna AND Elsa!”

Naturally. What was I thinking? There is no Anna without Elsa. Oh, and of course they are $59.99 each. Great, $120 for a pair of Arendelle royalty that are so big, it’s like adding two more 4-year-olds to our household.

I managed to peel her away with threats and promises, but not without tears. She negotiated one more look at the dolls if she was really good for the rest of our shopping trip.

Her: “Can we please get giant Anna and Elsa today?!”

Me: “No.”

Her: “But they’re so pretty!!!”

Me: “You can ask Santa Claus for them!”

Stupid. Stupid. STUPID! Yes! Encourage the child to ask the magic man I’m responsible for keeping magical for a toy associated with the hottest kids’ movie that is exclusive to one retailer. I’m an idiot.

These dolls are gone online. They’re gone at the area Targets I have called or visited. There are 16 Target stores in the greater Raleigh, NC area. In case you were wondering, the automated message at any store you call is the same. I will say, Target customer service at each store has been kind and helpful. I appreciate them not laughing at me or throttling me when they hear my request. Apparently they get LOTS of calls about My Size Anna and Elsa. They told me to keep checking for shipments. I asked if they’d have more on Black Friday. They don’t know. They may have more shipments by then, but I highly doubt they’ll discount them on Black Friday. They’d be fools to do that. They know suckers like me will pay $60 for each.

empty Target shelf

The empty shelf at one local Target Monday, November 10, 2014

She still discusses giant Anna and Elsa and says this is what she’s asking Santa for. I really hoped she would forget. I have BOLO’s out after calling relatives in other cities. (BOLO= Be On The Lookout) Yes, I’ve seen the bids on eBay upwards of $300 for the two dolls. I’m not interested in doing that. I have not seen them on Craigslist.

The hunt is on, Target! I’m gonna make this happen. People of the Internet, if you see one, please tweet me @SomebodysParent or email me at somebodysparent@gmail.com. 

If I don’t get one or both dolls, this may be a life lesson she learns this holiday season. The lesson is “You don’t always get everything you ask for at Christmas.” Honestly, the kid is gonna get great “Frozen” stuff, regardless. But, on Christmas morning I want to be able to say I did everything I could to get her the dolls. (Within reason.) Thanks in advance for helping my Ho Ho Heart.

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First Taste- November 10, 2014

 

Henry cake

 

I wonder if anyone has loved cake quite like this. Yeah, It was buttercream.

 

Fall 2014 214

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