How To Survive Shopping In America

by Victor Ehikhamenor

Dear Akin,

Sorry I missed your call. I was in the gym getting trained in kickboxing, wrestling, body slamming and upper cut maneuvering. No…no…no…it is not for Wrestlemania 28. I have come to the conclusion that to survive in this country in a non-violent style (guns and hand grenades are what I consider violent) you must learn basic survival techniques.

I know what you are thinking…”You are not a woman and should be afraid of being mugged in a dark alley”. Akin, far from it. I know I am a young and energetic black man. Before anyone attacks me in a dark alley, he or she would have to think twice.

It isn’t that I enjoy violence, nor do I intend to attack anyone. But, we have to remember that defense is the best form of attack. More importantly, being physically fit has become one of the basic necessities of shopping in America. Do you see where I am coming from now?

This is Christmas/New Year season in America and I intend to go shopping for my self and my family. All the sales are on. “Why don’t you just go to any store and shop…there are a million and one malls everywhere”

You see, Akin, I like Wal-Mart. I like their sales better than any other stores’. I am interested in their DVD player sales. It doesn’t matter that I already have six DVD players in the house. I need one in my car garage. Forget the fact that I don’t stay in the garage more than two minutes. Who can ignore an item, which sold for $120 in one minute and the next minute it is reduced to 20 bucks…

However, buying a $120 DVD player for $20 is becoming a fist full of fury these days. And all the marshals and army that could protect shoppers are in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Let me tell you what happened to me. Earlier this year, a day after Thanksgiving, popularly known as black Friday, I got a black eye. (I think the name should be changed to black-eye Friday).

On black Friday 2005, I set out very early in the morning to go and stay in line at Wal-Mart. I undermined the unforgiving cold, which was re-mapping my gnomic African lips. I braved the howling wind stiffening my ears like dried Antelope meat…and went to queue up. It reminded me of my visa hunting days in Lagos. You see, every past experience in life comes back to enhance a present one. I had some cabin biscuits and pure water in my winter coat. The cold can have a better part of me, but definitely not hunger.

I had an old lady of about 75 years old standing behind me. Her coat was not as thick as mine, but that is because she was Caucasian. White people have mutual agreement of non-violence with winter. Just the way black people have a very violent agreement with the Sahara desert sun blast.

I wanted to initiate a conversation with her, but she had this mean look of “don’t talk to me, if I don’t talk to you.” I said to myself, fine…be like that if you want. And true true, she looked like a retired no-nonsense consular officer in the American Embassy in Lagos.

Soon, the door to Wal-Mart opened partially and another old man (who should be enjoying his retirement in Florida) came out with megaphone to announce the door would soon be opening for the early bird sales.

I felt a slight shove behind me. I turned around, and this old woman still had her permanent stoic look on her face. If I were in Nigeria, waiting for Molue bus, I would understand and prepare myself very well…because I know there would soon be stampede. I told myself…this is America, the land of the free. A first world country where everything is insanely organized. But, I was dead wrong…Akin; I was so far from the truth. America shocks me everyday.

When the Wal-Mart doors opened and I saw the lady in front of me shove the man in front of her…I said, why can’t these people be orderly? I was still maintaining my peace, trying to respect my race and myself. I did not want anyone to say it was a black man that was rowdy in the rat race to buy a DVD player for $20.

The next thing I knew, I was flying in the air. The old lady behind me had jacked me so high, I was seeing Oshodi and Ojuelegba swimming before my stunned eyes. I was trying to break my fall when some more rush of people raised me further in the air like a rock star ending a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden…

I was in trouble. I was trying to find my feet, but other shoppers found their feet on my face when I landed. I quietly went to sleep and surrendered myself to the brutality of western shoppers.

I later woke up in the arms of a pretty paramedic, smiling at me or laughing at my stupidity. (But I would like to think she was smiling at me).

Then she asked me…”who is your next of kin?”

I said “Akin”

She thought I was mocking her (“Kin” and “Akin” sounded the same to her), and she asked the ambulance to stop and she rolled me out on the cold sidewalk. Again, I could not break my fall…

So, my brother Akin that is why I said I must learn all the necessary ways to survive as a shopper in America.

I know I owe you some money, but this is a bad time to be calling me for that, because there is more sales coming up right after Christmas. And I hear that the X-box 300 will be among the items that will be on sale. I have one I bought last Christmas on Ebay, but I paid through my nose…this time, I don’t want to anything to even come near my nose.

Therefore, in the words of our elders…the snow will fall on those that stand, before those that kneel under them.

I will pay you your money when I am done kickboxing my way through this season’s shopping. And I would

advice to go and start training too, if you must shop and survive in America.

Merry Christmas, by the way.

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Anonymous January 14, 2006 - 10:46 am

next time,becare full,afterall,respect is only an african tribute practised in africa,not in the us.

Anonymous January 7, 2006 - 1:17 am

Too funny! This is the reason I don't shop during this frenzied time!!!


Anonymous January 2, 2006 - 4:54 pm

Light, Entertaining and almost hysterically Funny. I Like

Anonymous December 28, 2005 - 6:40 pm

chai,this is very funny.hope ur eyes are ok now.

Have a good one.


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