"If you promise you'll take us, we swear we'll get up," Celeste said.
"Please?" asked her friend Madi. "I've never done it before."
Going shopping at 4 a.m. might've sounded like fun to 11-year-olds, but to this 44-year-old - not so much. Still, I'd witnessed what slugs the two of them could be when I'd go in to wake them at the crack of noon. So when I agreed, it was with a good bit of confidence that I'd end up looking like the cool mom for saying yes without actually having to follow through on my promise.
They were up at 3:30.
Unlike many of the other early morning Black Friday shoppers, we hit the stores with no real game plan. We found a few bargains, but for the most part, we meandered and people-watched and tried on clothes until it was time for me to head in to work. Although it was still fairly early when we called it a day, we'd encountered no greedy, grabby crowds, no rude salespeople, no line jumpers or impatient shoppers.
But about 550 miles northeast of here, the story was different. That's where the Wal-Mart trampling took place. Where a part-time worker was killed after the mob of shoppers surged forward when the store opened, crumpling the door, which fell on the man. Pushing and shoving, the crowd stepped on and over his body, intent on nabbing the deals they'd waited hours to get.
I'm all about getting a bargain, saving a buck. Getting a deal is fun, but getting it at any cost is something to be ashamed of. I wonder how many of those Wal-Mart bargain shoppers felt shame over what they had done.
Shame isn't something we have enough of these days, and its absence is being felt more and more. How different would corporate America be right now if more executives and board members had been ashamed to accept exorbitant salaries and ridiculous perks or "it's just business" as an excuse for cut-throat strategies and less-than-honorable transactions?
Recovering a sense of shame would affect many problems we're having these days. Those who are capable of working, yet have connived their way into getting a monthly disability check should feel too ashamed to take those checks to the bank. They should fear that lightning will strike and render them or a loved one truly disabled.