Black Friday

It has become a hobby of mine over the last decade to partake in the shopping phenomenon of Black Friday. I have convinced Shad over the years to be my sidekick in this process. This year was unlike the others because we had to solicit childcare for 4am (thanks Wiggs) to make it an efficient and cost effective trip.
We scoured the newspaper ads and the web to find out exactly what was going on in the retail stores and online. We had top tier stores which included Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart. We had ommitted Walmart from this expedition in 2004, and learned afterward that they too have some great deals among the mayhem. Second tier stores included Radio Shack and LL Bean. They had “nice-to’s” but not “have-to’s” for us. After reviewing all the flyers, Best Buy was cut from the list.
Thinking I was clever, I thought we should arrive at Walmart (open 24 hours but sale beginning at 5am) during the 4am hour. Ignorantly, I had thought I would be able to put the sale items in the cart and be ready to cash out at 5am. To my suprise, others were HOURS ahead of me – perhaps even a half day ahead. People had begun standing in line at 10pm Thanksgiving night to purchase one of the FEW $378 HP laptops and at 1am for the desktops. HOLY COW! I guess good for them because I was unwilling to do so. We did, however, manage to pick up many electronic items and a PINK Care Bear for Kate. I had no idea those were in this year, but shoppers were filling, yes FILLING, their carts with these $5 gems. I thought I should jump on the bandwagon and do the same – afterall, I do have a little princess now that I can give it to! While text messaging Shad as to my whereabouts, I was able to observe other shoppers. I think on Black Friday there are two types: People that are happy to be there and excited about the potential bargains and people who think they deserve the bargains because they got out of bed. I classify myself as the former because I think the whole thing is exciting and energetic. However, there are so many of the latter – it often makes you wish you stayed in bed. While waiting for Shad I did see one man start screaming with excitement “YES YES YES YES YES! I got one! he said. “I got a computer – I mean my wife got it! She’s been in line all night!!!” You can’t help but feel happy for the guy. Good for him.
Next we stood in line outside of Target. The Thanksgiving snow had made it colder than I wanted, but we only stood for 15 minutes or so before the doors opened. Target was smart, they had people outside walking the line offering an additional percentage off if you applied for a Target card on the spot. I didn’t see any takers, but I don’t think people were willing to put down their Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to fill out the application.
They opened the doors to Target before all the lights were on. It was like herding cows as we all grabbed carts and headed for the electronics section. Shad and I grabbed the last “item” off the bottom shelf. It’s what we had gone in there for. Phew. After a few other purchases we made our way to the registers and headed to Kohl’s – they had 50% off all toys. It was not yet 7am.
Walmart and Target were great when it came to cashing out. They had about 20 registers open and waiting for shoppers to buy. It made the line nonexistent. And the people were very nice and helped at every step of the way.
Given the positive shopping experience at the last 2 stores I was totally disappointed walking into Kohl’s. The lines resembled the ones we stood in at Best Buy last year. It zigzagged around the front and wrapped around 3/4 of the store. It was NOT worth my time. I left in hopes of hitting the tier two stores. Bean and Radio Shack. Both of these were ended up being worthwhile stops as the first two were.
All in all it was a good time. I was back home, lying on the couch at 8:45 and we had completed most of our holiday shopping. I can’t write about all the deals b/c I’m certain a reader or two is on my list. Can’t wait till next year!

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