Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Black Friday Unlike Any Other

My family is NOT a shopping family.

Plain and simple. We're a family of get-in-get-out shoppers. We don't linger (except over shoes) and we don't really go for fun.

So perhaps you can see why Black Friday really isn't our thing.

This doesn't mean we don't dive in on a fairly regular basis. Black Friday does, after all, follow a holy-cow-I-ate-too-much holiday that begs for exercise, and sometimes we just need to get out of the house after too much together time.

And sometimes ... there's a purpose.

Mom and I headed into the Hills this year, first to the Jon Crane Gallery in Hill City and then into Rapid. (Jon Crane -- who looks a bit like Santa -- is an artist who largely does old sites in midwest/western states, including some locations particularly familiar to my parents.) The gallery was giving away small prints to the first 100 visitors, so we figured we'd give it a shot.

This was, of course, where we saw our longest line of the day. (We were roughly the 110th and 111th visitors. Dang it.)
Besides the gallery (which, hey, at least had free food and cider), we found a book-and-souvenir store featuring a dog that really wanted some attention and a friendly local writer, a print shop that also sells journals, wax seals and quill pens, and a realty office with a public restroom (and another wandering dog ... and candy canes).

After wandering Hill City -- which was fairly free of people, outside the gallery -- we ventured back to Rapid City.

To Walmart.

Now, I know what you're thinking. But ...

I don't know if I've seen an Evil Empire this empty, even at 2AM.
Maybe it was because it was noon. But as you may notice, there were virtually no people.
It was eerie.
In fact, Mom made her lone purchase in record time. Didn't even have to wait in line.
I honestly didn't know how to react.
[For those who are curious. this is the new south side Walmart in Rapid City. We drove past the other one on our way out of town and it was as zoo-y as I had expected. As was Target, Scheels, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond and every other major retailer I saw. I truly don't know what made this one so special.]

From there, we had to check out Rapid City's new Main Street Square.

And let me say ... I loved it.

We watched ice skaters, wandered, shopped, and I spent a lot of time trying not to squeal out loud. Seriously, why couldn't this stuff have been around when I was in college?
Well ... Maybe it's a good thing it wasn't. I would have been entirely broke. At least without the Square I had money for food most days.

Our Small Business Saturday preview was awesome, and I'm hoping they saw plenty of traffic today. The outdoor stores, the toy stores, the bookstore -- they all just made me so darn happy. (My yearly peppermint mocha probably helped.)

Oh, and there was lunch at the Firehouse. Because we could.

After all of that, exhausted from trying to restrain myself from spending every cent I had, it was time to head back to the ranch.

Good day.

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