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Cabbage Patch Riot: The Original Black Friday

By M Davies   /     Nov 26, 2012  /     Family, NEPA  /     3 Comments

**EDIT** Due to what has happened since I have published this post, I reneg my original stance. Looking back, a cabbage patch kid made me happy as a child, and if anything Elf on the Shelf has taught me that.  I appreciate all that the Mericle family has done to bring happiness to children in NEPA despite/inspite of what happened during KFC. I just want world peace.  Make love not war, children.  My family lived close to Main Hardware in my youth and it was always like visiting Disneyland.  Thank you for making my childhood slightly brighter.

 

Normally, I post an extended Black Friday recap to talk about the shopping experience with my family, but there isn’t much to tell that hasn’t already been said on Twitter.  I figured I’d try something different this year and flashback to a time in the Wyoming Valley’s history when there was a run on a must-have toy….the cabbage patch doll.

 

In 1983, I was a bald-headed 2 year old living in Hanover Township with just my Mom and Dad.  My brother wasn’t born until 1986.  For whatever reason, my Mom decided that a cabbage patch doll was the perfect gift for me to open on Christmas morning.  My mother had mentioned this to my Grandparents and my Grandfather (bless his soul) decided he would be the one to pick up the goods.

 

November 27 of that same year was actually the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  My Grandfather jumped in his car and headed over to the local Zayre’s department store.  If you are not from the area or not familiar, Zayre’s was along the same line as a K-Mart department store.  In the late 1980s, Zayre’s was sold off to the Ames Department store chain which eventually met it’s demise in 2002.

 

 

I would make an educated guess and say that the store most likely opened up at 10 or 11 am in the morning, as that is the normal hours of retail operation around here on Sundays.  When my grandfather arrived the parking lot of Zayre’s (which is now where current day Raymour and Flannigan is in Wilkes-Barre Township) he could not find a parking spot anywhere.  After driving around for several minutes, he eventually found somewhere to pull over.  He walked up to the store and there was a long line of people waiting to get in.  My Grandfather struck up a conversation with the people in front of him.  He didn’t understand what the line was for.  They told him it was for a cabbage patch doll.  My Grandfather then exclaimed that was what he was there for too!

 

After standing in line for a couple of minutes, my Grandfather ventured up to the front of the store to see what was going on.  Someone (an employee?) told him that they were giving out tickets for the dolls and there were only so many that they had – 200 I believe.  With that information in the back of his mind, my Grandfather knew he was not getting a doll.  He went back to the end of the line and decided to tell the people what was going on before he left.  Needless to say, they were EXTREMELY upset.  I don’t know whether or not this caused the riot, but I’m sure it did not help matters.

 

Last week, I started talking to a few co-workers that remembered the riot well.  I told them my story and they started teasing me that my Grandfather started the riot.  Rest assured, that didn’t happen.  My Grandfather is the most laid back, mild mannered person you’d ever meet.  He was only sharing information with people so that they wouldn’t stand in the freezing cold line only to leave empty handed.

 

Here is a video that I found on Ebaumsworld that includes some WNEP footage:

 

 

To sum up what is happening here…A Store Employee stood on a counter swinging a baseball bat to try to regain order of the crowd which included roughly 1000 people.  Eventually, as you can see from the video, he started tossing the dolls into the crowd.  This made national newspapers, magazines, and TV news shows.  If you are wondering, my Grandparents ended up finding me a Cabbage Patch doll elsewhere a few weeks later and no one was hurt in the purchase of the doll.

 

Even though this box says 1985 – I swear this is the doll I received (as disturbing as it looks):

 

 

Did I mention that my head was as bald as this doll’s was until I was about 3 years old?  I’ll have to dig up a picture of that somewhere.

 

Anyway, holding this discussion with my fellow co-workers caused me to be late to class last Monday night.  My teacher/former manager was not pleased with me as we had a test that night.  I started to explain to him why and he recalled what he remembered about the riot, mainly, how the Cabbage Patch dolls supply stayed stocked in the valley.  The Mericles!

 

From the CV:  Robert Mericle capitalized on 1983’s Cabbage Patch Kid craze while studying economics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After witnessing a customer free-for-all at a city department store that received a shipment of the sought-after but understocked dolls in November 1983, Mericle ordered 10,000 on credit and sold certificates promising post-Christmas delivery. After the Cabbage Patch coup, he formed a toy-distribution company that he operated through his college years.

Mericle then went into real estate, transforming a crumbling, abandoned shoe factory in Wilkes-Barre into the first local headquarters for student-loan processor Sallie Mae. He found a niche buying lots in the local industrial parks owned by chambers of commerce, building on them and wooing local and national firms to purchase or lease, often using government tax incentives as bait.

 

You may remember Robert Mericle in recent years for his participation in sweetheart deals in the courthouse/kids for cash corruption scandals.  You may also know his parents.  They own Main Hardware on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, home of Christmasland.

 

After all of the trouble my family went to for this oh-so-perfect Christmas gift for me, would you believe that I never played with it?  Growing up, I was more of a Tomboy and I didn’t play with dolls.  At all.  No barbies, no cabbage patch, no babies.  The closest I came to playing with dolls was She-Ra, and those were more of action figures than anything else.  My mother at one point questioned if I would ever have kids.  I guess we all know how that turned out.

 

After learning about these riots years later, I couldn’t help but feel guilty that I didn’t play with the doll more knowing how much trouble everyone went though to get it.  Oh well.  I guess it would have been sold at an flea market or the Salvation Army at some point as I grew up.  I hope someone gave the little tyke a good home.

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Blogiversary

By M Davies   /     Jun 26, 2012  /     Family, Into the Void  /     3 Comments

Today is my 7th Blogiversary, controversy not withstanding.  I was nearly dooced halfway through this journey, by my employer at the time (Big Red Telephone Company).  My first post can be found here.  I’ve blogged for much longer than 7 years, but I deleted the content from my first Diaryland journal.  However, I never deleted the journal itself.  I keep it active to redirect previous readers to my new URL.  I’ve owned my own domain for even longer than that.  My first few posts talk about my journey with pregnancy and being a first time mother.  My daughter is now 7 bratty years of age and I have a son who will be 6 next month.

 

I have had 9 different jobs since I started this blog, not including the labor of love I perform on NEPA Blogs as one of the contributors.

 

I’ve had 3 different vehicles since I started this blog.

 

I moved to another house while authoring this blog.

 

This blog and I have been through some serious shit together, and with any luck, we’ll be through more.  I have no intention of stopping any time soon, despite my recent silences.

 

 

You only get one ride on this Merry Go Round of life, make the most of it.

 

Just blog.

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Black Friday 2011 Recap

By M Davies   /     Nov 29, 2011  /     Events, Family, Medical Issues  /     2 Comments

I know everyone hates me and will throw things at me for posting that I went Black Friday shopping this year, but oh well.  I've been going Black Friday shopping every year for as long as I can remember with my Grandmother, Aunt and Mother.  It's kind of a sick and twisted Thanksgiving family ritual.  We put the fun in dysfunctional.

This year, our Black Friday actually started on Thursday evening…at 7pm to be precise.  The players:  My Mom, My Aunt and me.

Stop 1:  Toys R Us in Wilkes-Barre

They opened at 9pm on Thursday evening.  We got there early and found parking without a problem.  We then stood in line for approximately 90 minutes.  Toys R Us would only let in so many people at once due to the fire code occupancy regulations.  We got into Toys R Us easily enough, it was getting out that was the problem.  They had the store blocked off with various shelves, so you could only go into certain sections if you wanted to checkout.  The checkout line wrapped around the store.  Thank god I didn't have to buy anything!  Here's a picture of the line wrapped behind Toys R Us:

Stop 2:  Wal-Mart in Wilkes-Barre Township

I specifically recall a TV commercial from Wal-Mart that said "Don't stand outside in line, come inside where it's warm."  Yeah, not so much.  By the time we got to Wal-Mart (around 10:00pm), every parking spot in the parking lot was taken and two lines formed outside at each of the entrances to the store.  My Mom dropped of my Aunt and I to get in line while she tried to find a parking spot.  And, when I said every parking spot was taken…I literally mean, every parking spot was taken.  People even resorted to parking in nearby restaurants, hotels and quadruple parking (forget double parking)!  My Mom eventually found a spot, where no one else parked….BECAUSE A GLASS BOTTLE WAS SMASHED ALL OVER THE PARKING SPACE.  So what does she do?  Pulls in, and parks it.  I'm like "Well, at least we are at Wal-Mart if we need to buy a can of fix-a-flat."  I received a text message from a friend that told me that Wal-Mart was "at capacity" and the police made them lock the doors because of fire code regulations.  There was security standing at the door letting in people only as others were exiting the store.  After waiting around for about 20-25 minutes, we all finally got in the door.  The Wal-Mart commercial was chalk full of lies.  Here's a picture taken from the line at Wally World:

Wal-Mart has THE WORST setup for Black Friday that I've ever seen.  They have doorbusters, some started at 10pm, some started at 11pm and some started at midnight.  However, all of the electronics were at midnight.  If you wanted any of the electronic items, you needed to get a ticket and stand in a line which is nice because it makes it fair for everyone.  I'll give them that.  But here's what I really want to know:  How do they expect people to leave the building to make room for the others coming in if all of the specials start in 2 hours.  You have to stand in line for 2 hours to get something…therefore no one is leaving the store.  If no one leaves the store, no one else can get in.  I guess I'm the only person that is missing the logic in this setup.  Why not start the deals ALL AT THE SAME TIME?  Does an hour really make that big of a difference between the specials?

My aunt wanted a 13" TV that cost 98 dollars.  Both her and I got a ticket and stood in the line.  We had the third ticket issued for this item.  Once we got to the area of the store where the line was, we decided to sit on the floor and wait for midnight.  OH MY GOD.  You'd think we had just committed a mortal sin.  The Wal-Mart lady who was assigned to watch our line yelled at us and told us we were not permitted to sit on the floor because we could be trampled.  I looked around at the other people in line with us.  Two old ladies were in line with us.  Yeah, I'm sure Grandma will take us out with her Hoverround if we're not careful.  Are ya kidding me?  Meanwhile, we watched people walk past us with printers, computers, DVD players, freezers, and other "big ticket items" in their carts, but yet we have to wait until midnight to get a fucking 99 dollar no-name brand TV.  Makes perfect sense to me! 

Anyway, we people-watched for the next hour while waiting for the stupid TV.  Can I just ask….what the hell is wrong with people?  Do they not think about what they are wearing before leaving the house?  If your shirt doesn't cover your beer gut, don't wear it.  I think your jammies are adorable and all, but I don't think they are appropriate to wear in public.  Finally midnight arrived and we got the TV with no issues.  There was no trampling.  The line moved in an efficient and orderly manner.  By the way, I was up to Wal-Mart earlier today, and check this out: 

Look at how many fucking TVs are there now and at the same price!  Why does God mock me?  I'm debating on whether or not to sue Wal-Mart to get the 2 hours I wasted of my life in line back as well as other punitive damages.

Stop 3:  Target in Wilkes-Barre Township

All told, I'd say we got to Target around 1am.  Parking was no issue, because at that point they were already open for an hour.  Once again, here's another place that was easy to get into, but IMPOSSIBLE to get out of.  I forget who was going for what at this store, but I ended up walking out with a cheap DVD, a bottle of lemonade, earbuds and a tube of facial cleanser.  4 items, 30 dollars and 90 minutes of following the leader in the line maze that started way over in the frozen food section and we were finally on our way to our next destination.

Stop 4:  Kohl's in Wilkes-Barre Township

We got here about 3am.  We parked right up front and got right in.  There was hardly anyone shopping in the store…know why?  BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL STANDING IN LINE.  Don't get me wrong, every register had a person working at it, but it was the person at the beginning of the line directing people that was clueless.  They would make it so that only one person would go to one line at a time.  Wow.  Why not stack each line with 3 or 4 people to get things moving?  Why does it have to be so nitpicky?  I got all the way up to the check out and realized I didn't have my wallet.  Thus, my first panic attack of the evening began.  I figured I had left it at Target, or it was stolen or I dropped it somewhere.  Then I started thinking about all of the credit cards and ID that was in there and started hyperventilating.  My Mom tried to steer me in the direction of her car to check the back seat.  Yeahhhhh, it was back there.  Apparently, it fell out of my purse and I hadn't noticed.  Who can keep track of these complicated details when you've been up for close to 24 hours?  I took my wallet back inside and paid and left feeling like a big embarrassed dumbass.  Oh by the way, I seriously considered buying these shoes:

I get distracted by shiny things.

Stop 5:  The Mall / JC Penney's

At this point, I could not be more thrilled to see the sight of the Wyoming Valley Mall.  We rolled in here at 4:30, and my iPhone's battery was completely dead.  Twitter was keeping me entertained, so I had to figure out a way to charge the battery.  I took a walk down to FYE which did not have any iPhone battery chargers that would work for my purpose.  I needed an emergency charger.  The AT&T store did not open until 5am, so I had to kill some time.  I decided to walk around in Spencer's because I noticed that they had some funny hats.  I ended up buying one.

Also, did you know that they make Pacman Snuggies?  I had to take a picture to show to my friend Brian, because he'd never believe me.

Finally, the AT&T store opened and I was able to purchase the most awesome charging device known to man.  It's called the Mophie Juice Pack.  It's a charging phone cover.  Instead of charging your iPhone, you charge the cover essentially giving you double battery life.  You can check out more about it here if you are so inclined.

Stop 6:  Toys R Us in Wilkes-Barre

Yep.  At around 7:30am we went back to Toys R Us, because going once wasn't enough abuse.  This is the part where I began to get irritated with my Mom.  She wanted to buy Gabby and Owen something each for Christmas and Gabby's birthday.  Fine.  But, I don't know what to tell her to get because Gabby lost her wish lists.  She kept asking if she should get this, or get that.  I DON'T KNOW.  JUST PICK SOMETHING AND GET IT.  I was less than amused.  We were in Toys R Us for what seemed like an eternity.  I was seriously considering committing suicide with a nerf gun. 

Stop 7:  K-Mart

After the hell that was Toys R Us part deux, we made a pitstop at Dunkin Donuts to have a quick breakfast.  We couldn't go to the one near the mall because there was no where to park, so we stopped at the on on 309 by K-Mart (after the big cow).  The girl behind the counter screwed up my order three times over.  I mean really, how hard is it to get a sausage sandwich and a coffee wrong, but I digress.  According to my Foursquare, we got to K-Mart at 952:am.  K-Mart was pretty busy, but nothing like Wal-Mart or Toys R Us.  We had no trouble finding parking or getting checked out here.  I didn't buy anything, but my Mom did.  I forget what.  She was also picking up stuff for people she worked with so it may have been for one of them.  She's nuts.  I found these rejected gifts for your the special people on your Christmas list this year:

A Santa Thong, with free included Santa Sack.  I laughed so hard when I seen this (probably because I was punch-drunk due to lack of sleep).  How can you go wrong when you are getting Santa's sack free with this purchase?  You know what I say, if its free its for me!!!!  Anyone who's on my "naughty" list this year will be getting one of these.

Come on, is this for real?  It can't possibly be real.  A THREE WOLVES SHIRT IN MY LOCAL K-MART.  This is almost too much for my giddy geek heart to handle.  By the way, if you aren't getting the geek reference on this, then you need to check out this:  http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Three-Wolf-Short-Sleeve/dp/B002HJ377A – Read all of the comments, from top to bottom.  You will piss your pants with laughter.  I think I originally learned about this from Slashdot.

Stop 8:  Boscov's in Downtown Wilkes-Barre

You know, I love me some Boscov's.  If I ever met Al Boscov in person, I'd probably pinch his cheeks.  At around 11:15am we rolled into the parkade at Bosco's.  We headed for the curtain section first which is on the 4th floor.  I sat down on the floor, indian style and waited while my Aunt and Mother perused the selection.  I was just there last month, and didn't feel like looking through everything again.  Yeah, sitting in the curtain section.  I am a rebel. 

Something you should know about Wilkes-Barre Boscov's….in case you have never been there before, know that it is hotter than the surface of the sun inside of that building.  Do not bring a coat.  I don't care if it's 35 degrees below zero outside.  Do not bring in a coat, trust me.  You will melt.  On Black Friday, the temperature of Boscov's seemed ok.  However, I found out something new.  The lower the floor, the hotter the temperature.  It's like taking the escalator to hell if you go down to the basement.  We spent most of our time in the basement, because that's where all of the kitchen crap, toys and savings auditorium are located.  I just about damn near had a heat stroke.  I didn't bring my coat, but I was wearing a light sweater layered under a tank top.  MISTAKE.  I found a new toe ring!

My Mom was feeling ill after that, so this was our last stop, we drove back to my Grandmothers, and I drove home after that.  This was around noon.

The damage:  I figure I spent about 150 on stuff I probably didn't need.  I got a few Christmas gifts.  We shopped for close to 18 hours.  I was awake for roughly 32 hours. 

Also, I think that all of the walking and activity injured my foot.  I woke up writhing in pain and couldn't feel the toe and outer step of my left foot.  I thought for sure I was having a stroke or the diabetes grim reaper was coming to pay me a visit. 

Cue late night, Black Friday-related panic attack #2 (this happened on Sunday evening).  As soon as I was able to, I called the doctor in the morning.  After looking over my foot and poking and prodding around, he determined that I have pinched nerve somewhere in the left part of my left foot.  There apparently is no magic cure for this.  Basically, you just have to wait it out.  Let me just tell you….I'm not happy about this.  I'm ready to call for a second opinion.  Like, I know my pinky toe is physically there, but I can't feel it.  All I feel is numbness and tingling.  It's not a fun time.  At all.

Still in all, I look forward to the Black Friday adventures again next year. 

I must be crazy.  But between me and you, all of the good people are.

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Thanksgiving vault

By M Davies   /     Nov 23, 2011  /     Family, Uncategorized  /     0 Comment

This video was probably taken in 2005 based on Gabrielle's age.  What's especially great about this video is my Grandmother pulling rank on my Mother by telling her to make the bed.  This is the type of dysfunctional family interaction I'll be up against tomorrow. 

Also: 

In 2004, I missed my first Black Friday in a long while because of having to work and being 9 months pregnant.  I was just preparing for Gabby's arrival.

In 2007, I was just trying to get my Blog re-established after being laid off from Big Red Telco provider.

In 2008, I was thankful for just about everything that you can imagine.

I seemed to have skipped posting on Thanksgiving in 2005, 2006 (due to nearly being dooced), 2009 and 2010. 

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The Adopted FIL

By M Davies   /     Oct 12, 2011  /     Family  /     0 Comment

Did you ever have that one person…possibly a relative even….that shows up at your house at the absolute worst time?  Usually without calling or giving you prior notice that they are stopping by?  Let me see a show of hands….

*Raising Hand*

Me too! 

My brother-in-law's father-in-law is who I'm referring to specifically.  I've since nicknamed him "Adopted FIL".  Don't get me wrong, I love the guy to death, but A LITTLE ADVANCED NOTICE PRIOR TO SHOWING UP WOULD BE NICE.  Especially since we have 2 younger children.

Most times that he shows up, its usually during dinner.  I'm not sure if this is planned or not, but it makes you obligated to offer food to him.  Which encourages his behavior.  I don't like to consider myself an enabler.  He's also shown up while the hubs is working during the day (…he works from home…) 

Yesterday…this happened:

(Adopted FIL on my roof talking on his cell phone)

Its great that he helped clean our gutters.  I really do appreciate it.  Once again, he gave no advance warning prior to showing up and you know…hitching up the ladder and climbing on top of our roof.  Rich happened to walk outside and there he was…on top of the roof.  How freaking weird!  I know if I was the one to have walked outside and seen a man on our roof I would have probably started screaming and having a panic attack (of course then realizing afterward its only Adopted FIL)

My point of this post is two three things: 

  1. No one would have ever believed me if there wasn't photographic evidence.
  2. There's seriously never a dull moment in my life.
  3. ONLY IN SWEET VALLEY!
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