Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Adventures on Black Friday


If the nation’s retailers had to rely on my desire to shop there would be no Black Friday. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve never made the error of stumbling into the crowds of shoppers on Black Friday. For the past two years whilst seeking a needed widget I found myself trapped in the midst of bargain crazed shoppers.

We needed a new freezer so Renee and I headed out to see what we could get. We managed to check out four stores before running out of options and stopping by Running’s to pick up a bolt cutter… hang in there.

The bolt cutter was needed to cut the lock on the storage garage that I make the monthly payment on so that other folks can store their stuff in it. The garage is packed and there’s nothing of mine in there and the owners of the stored stuff lost the keys. We pulled up to the garage, pulled out my newly purchased $45 bolt cutter (I bought the one you could clip the locks on Fort Knox with) and clipped the lock. We tossed the door open and neither of us recognized anything in the garage. Renee and I looked at each other and gasped. Had we just clipped the lock on the wrong rental? OOPS!

I quickly called my daughter and asked her to name a few things she had in storage… which, much to her parents’ relief, she was able to rap off a couple items that we were able to verify, and then we fastened the new lock and then we went home freezerless.

The tribe was a bit taken back that we bought a bolt cutter when our mission was to retrieve a freezer, but they’re used to their parents doing things like this. Besides, I had this hankering to see the movie “Lincoln,” so we decided to see if we could get into the 6 p.m. show and raced off. We arrived just in time to be told that the 6 p.m. show was sold out. The next show was to be at 7:30, so we debated whether or not we wanted to wait around for an hour and a half… and by the time we were done debating (maybe 15 minutes had passed) the 7:30 show had sold out, and we realized that neither of us could stay up till 9 p.m., so…

We went to the other theatre to see if we could catch a show there, and after we ran into the same problem we just settled for some popcorn and pop and ate it in the hallway while deciding what to do next.

Being from Morton County, the next logical move for me was to convince the Mrs. that we needed to find a burger and a beer. She was rather reluctant and faintly indicated that she would prefer to just go home. I was patient and took the long way back to Mandan. She seemed to go along for the ride and didn’t complain too much when I pulled into the new Main Street Bar. We had one there and headed out on the burger hunt which took us to the Stage Stop and finally the Round Up, where we satiated my desires.

And then we went home and the kids wondered where the new freezer was, so I showed them the new bolt cutter. Then their mother announced that instead of taking her to a movie I had hornswoggled her into three bars.

And all I could do was smile and own up to the fact that we hadn’t fully accomplished our mission, but then again I’ve never been very good at taking their mother on what most folks would consider a normal date… and despite being freezerless it was really nice to spend the day with Renee pretending we were doing something important…

So that’s my Black Friday story, and all I can say is there really does seem to some truth to the notion that life’s a journey not a destination… safe travels to ya…