Yesterday for the first time since I’ve heard the term “Black Friday, I opted for a variation of that kind of experience. I chose to drive into Austin. The General warned me that I was making a mistake. Actually, in reality she referred to it as a “really bad mistake.” Since neither of us has ever opted to go shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving, she really has no frame of reference. Consequently, I took her advice with a grain of salt and opted to do it my way. I know what you’re thinking: “So what’s new?” You’ve got a point.
My purpose in driving in to Austin was to get a haircut. That is generally a Saturday morning routine for me about once a month. My grandchildren and their parents are coming to our home today, so I didn’t want to be gone this morning. Instead, I opted to negotiate the Austin crowd by getting ahead of the game and getting my hair cut yesterday.
I smiled when I got to Austin. There was absolutely no traffic. The General really doesn’t always get it right. My barbershop is located in Hancock Center, but I didn’t anticipate there would be a throng of people in that shopping center. There really isn’t much there. Apart from Sears and H.E.B. everything else seems pretty low key. Actually, even Sears and H.E.B. in that setting is pretty low key.
Of course, time changes things. In 1963, when Hancock Center opened, it was the first shopping mall in Austin. It not only included Sears, but was the site of the first Dillard’s store in Texas. The opening brochure read: “Hancock Center is a place where convenience makes shopping an unforgettable pleasure in an atmosphere of unsurpassed beauty that is truly out of the ordinary.” Color it anyway you want, Hancock Center was uptown and high dollar on the periphery of the congestion of downtown and there was a golf course immediately to the West.
The mall also had a community meeting room that would accommodate up to 350 people. During the 1960s, over 30,000 people a year attended events in that location. For example, it was the site for The African Violet Show, the UT Law School Wives Fashion Show, and many exhibits from the Laguna Gloria Art Collections.
For the first ten years of its existence, it was the go-to place in Austin for shopping. Of course, Hancock Center was subsequently up-staged by the opening of the fully-enclosed Highland Mall in 1970. Dillard’s subsequently closed their store in Hancock Center since they had a new store in that location and many of the name-brand stores in that locality did as well.
My only shopping experience at Hancock Center has been for a haircut and if you’re looking for an old fashioned barbershop, you’ll not find a better one. I was late getting to the barbershop yesterday and I suspected I’d arrive facing a crowd of customers sitting in the chairs lining the wall across from the barber chairs. The barbershop opens at 9:00 and I didn’t get there until 9:15. What was I thinking?
Who knows, maybe the folks who usually congregate early for a haircut all went elsewhere in search of Black Friday sales. With the exception of the barbers who worked there, I was the only other person in the barbershop. Thirty minutes later when I was on my way, no other customer had come into the shop.
Honestly, I never anticipated getting out of the barbershop that quickly. Consequently, I had time on my hands. What if I were to go shopping? That wouldn’t work. I am not a fan of crowds and I don’t even patiently wait to check out at the grocery store. I subsequently thought about going shopping for a Miata convertible, but determined that would do nothing but cause me stress. So, do I need a small car that sits close to the ground so I can easily get in and out of it? I don’t think so. At least, that was my line of reasoning yesterday. I’m not holding my breath, but I anticipate that before long, I may have one in my garage anyway. I like the sensation of my hair blowing in the wind. They (the grandkids) can refer to it as “Granddad’s crazy car.”
With time on my hands, I opted to drive north to Star Furniture. Several weeks ago I saw a coffee table that I thought might work for my daughter. Who knows, maybe it would be on sale? I had attempted to find the table on the store’s website, but it was not included in their catalogue. I have to be careful not to be too pushy with making recommendations to my kids, but this table would be a strong consideration. I was sure of it. Getting to the store, I quickly located the table, took a picture of it along with a picture of the price tag and texted it to my daughter. I added the notation: “You can take an additional 20% off if you purchase it today.” She responded by asking the question: “Are you BF shopping?” Since she didn’t make a comment on the table, I assumed it didn’t meet her fancy. She, like her dad, is pretty particular. I’ll keep looking.
With time still on my hands, I headed back south to Randall’s Grocery Store. I stopped by the store earlier in the week and noticed they had orchids in the flower shop. Why not add a touch of color to the General’s day? The orchids were purple and I thought she’d like one. Besides that, it might orchestrate grace for the next time I’m in trouble. With me that doesn’t take very long.
Consequently, I was home before lunch, had a fresh haircut, avoided lines of Black Friday shoppers and made a few points with the General. Not a bad morning if you ask me. Today will even be a better experience. Time with grandchildren energizes my spirit and refuels my tank.
All My Best!