“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to accumulate all the promotional giveaways you can on the ‘biggest shopping day of the year‘. Do not focus on quality, value, or practicality of the giveaway. If it’s free, you want it. As always, should any of your team be caught, your husbands will disavow all knowledge of your actions.”
“Ladies, we leave at 0400 hours Friday morning.”
Unconcealed groans confirmed that Cindy’s WSF (We’re So Funny) team was listening.
“Shelley and I will devise the plan. You be awake, alert, and well rested -- this could get ugly.”
Less than 48 hours later, the Green Monster (official WSF van) was transporting the team to their first stop. Every minute was planned out in detail, so travel time was used to synchronize watches and study the itinerary.
“I don’t see any shopping time here.”
Instantaneously, Yolanda’s teammates feigned great interest in the passing scenery -- never mind that it was pitch black outside. Everyone knew it was taboo to question the plan, but Yolanda had perused the ads and found some incredible early bird specials.
“We‘re on a mission. Freebies first, shopping second.”
Shelley, second-in-command, gave the rest of the team ‘the look’, just in case anyone else had the ill-advised notion to question the plan.
Half asleep, and therefore delusional, Yolanda dared to voice a second concern.
“Why are we going to Target? They’re giving away dorky little finger puppets.”
The exaggerated roll of the eyes, combined with the clipped tone, made it clear that Cindy’s patience was already in sub-freezing range … and dropping.
“Do not focus on quality, value, or practicality of the giveaway. If it’s free, you want it.”
Sarcastic attitudes notwithstanding, the rest of the team assured their leader that they had fully grasped the most essential aspect of the mission.
“Any more questions?”
The don’t-you-dare-ask-another-question looks from her teammates deterred Yolanda from a third inquiry.
At 04:30, WSF arrived at their first destination -- Kmart. The giveaway? Dalmatian Christmas bags. Before the Green Monster came to a full and complete stop, team members piled out to secure their position in line. Each member donned their official WSF identification -- Santa hat or reindeer antlers. This attire was crucial in helping to locate team members quickly. But more importantly, it was funny.
The store opening was scheduled for 0500 hours. By 04:50, nervous apprehension was slithering through the queue like a crafty snake. In an attempt to ease the tension with a little humor, WSF began chanting.
“Open, open, open.” It was funny.
The doors were unlocked at 05:00, and the masses began filing in. Immediately, a major problem erupted like a fiercely spewing volcano. Vehicles carrying non-compliant shoppers started depositing their passengers at the front door, thereby circumventing the line entirely. Reacting quickly, Cindy and her team yelled “Run!!!!” and rushed the door.
Having effectively initiated a stampede, WSF slipped into the store quickly. Amid the confusion of crashing bodies, Cindy spotted a Santa hat sinking fast.
“Keri, grab my hand. Somebody find Shelley.”
The store entrance was beginning to resemble a mosh pit, and Cindy was worried about her two height-challenged friends. Grasping Keri’s hand firmly, Cindy ducked to avoid a fake Christmas tree being passed overhead. This was definitely not in the plan, but it was funny.
Zeroing in on her target, Cindy made a beeline for the freebies. She knew there were only 250 bags, and time was running out. Attempts by store managers to corral the mob into a line were futile. Employees thrust Dalmatian bags into outstretched hands as fast as they could.
By 05:13, all six WSF members were safely in the Green Monster -- bags in hand. One store conquered, five to go.
Compared to their tumultuous first experience, the rest of the day was uneventful. At 10:08, team WSF exited the final store and collapsed in a heap. Their results? The Dalmatian bag, Sesame Street tin of cookies (breakfast), bobble-head snowman, finger puppets, glowing Rudolph nose, and three Disney snow globes.
The comatose friends, still wearing their ridiculous hats and antlers -- albeit with hair sticking out every which way -- sat silently staring at each other; reflecting on the day’s events. A few quiet chuckles rapidly crescendoed to a full chorus of raucous laughter.
“Did a bunch of middle-aged church ladies actually start a shopper stampede? We’re so funny!”
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