When I arrived at Toys R Us in Bangor at 12:15 AM, the parking lot was completely full as were all the neighboring parking lots. There were police cruisers blocking the entry way of those parking lots that were full ... and cops directing traffic from several angles. The line to get into the store was SO long ... like nothing I have ever seen before. I called my Mom from my cell and told her I thought maybe Elvis died ... as it looked like his funeral procession was taking place (this was funny to both of us - but maybe you have to understand our mutual love for Elvis in order to find this funny). Anyway, the scene was wild. And just as I went to photograph it, I realized I forgot my camera (real smooth Jodi).
So, I drove back home to get my camera and returned at about 12:35 AM. The line outside the store was gone ... but that was because everybody had sardined themselves into the building. I walked in to find that people could barely move. And the isles were filled with people and shopping carts from one end of the store to another. Again, I had never seen anything like it. I was shocked. I wondered what on earth would happen if a fire broke out or some crazy person took out a gun. We would all be trampling all over one another ... and there would no doubt be causalities. I also wondered if having this many people in a building was illegal ... and decided that it would have to be.
I worried that people would be unkind to one another (the whole 'rats in a cage' scenario) ... but was pleasantly surprised to find that just about everyone I chatted with or stood near was just as shocked as I was by the magnitude of people there .... that they were all laughing at themselves and one another for participating in this shopping madness. The mood was fairly cheerful. I also found that a great number of folks were from Canada and had come down for the holiday sales (many of whom said they would never do this again --- and their shopping day had only just begun). French Canadian accents could be heard in every aisle ... as could cell phones ... and people yelling across to family members in other aisles ... ("Martha, grab me a Three Musketeers Barbie and a I'll grab you one of these Lego Sets!"). Some folks had this shopping thing down to a science and used cell phones with 3-way calling to spread out and grab everything one another wanted.
As for me --- well, the mayhem was fun to watch. I LOVE watching people. I have always been intrigued by how people behave in groups ... react to stressful situations ... how they engage with one another ... etc. And watching all these folks did not disappoint. First, as always, I left proud of my fellow Mainers for keeping cool with one another ... for laughing ... for being polite, etc. There were some jerks ... as always. And a couple of women fought over a toy helicopter (I only heard but did not see the fight). But for the most part, people were well behaved.
I pray that you all begin to fully enjoy this magical, spiritual, heart-warming season of love, light and fellowship.
Please share with us your special holiday traditions ... and how you are working to make the holidays more about love and fellowship and less about material goods.