Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday Madness!

I love to shop; I love to save money; I love to plan ahead; I love to reach goals. So, I did it - I went Black Friday shopping! I perused the sale ads on-line for weeks, making my plan of action - finding the things we wanted anyway at the best prices I could find. I mapped out my route and time-frame and it was scary so I hoped fervently for some of those amazing door-buster prices to show up on-line before I ventured out. No such luck.

So, out I ventured - on my own this year as my partner ditched me! - for some extreme Black Friday shopping. One of our most-wanted items was at ToysRus, going on sale at 10pm on Thanksgiving night. We got home from dinner at my mom's around 8 - I put things away and stretched out on the couch for a short nap. My wonderful husband brewed me some coffee and I was out the door by 9:40 - beginning my night while my little ones were already sacked out....

I arrived to ToysRus at 9:58. The parking lot was full, the parking lot for the strip mall next to the store was full, the parking lot for Target was nearly full. The line stretched from ToysRus down the sidewalk around the strip mall, around the corner to the doors of Target. Eeeek! But, OK, I'm committed. They'll be opening the doors soon and this line will be inside. Remember being hot through all my shopping last year, I opted to slip out of my warm, comfy winter coat and leave it in the car. Now I am wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt, thin sweatshirt jacket and mittens, but I should only be outside for a little bit right? Wrong! They only let a limited people in the store at one time to avoid over-congestion. I ended up waiting outside in line, in the 22 degree temperatures, for a hour and 45 minutes. Shivering. Nose red. But no way was I giving up my spot in line to walk clear back across the parking lot to get my coat. And then I heard the halleluia chorus and I was in the door! 11:45pm. I went directly to the spot I knew my hot-ticket item to be and..... of course - gone! Grrrrr. I did, however, pick up the thing I knew I wanted for each of my daycare boys. I got the last one of it, too! That perked me up a little bit...

OK - off to WalMart. By the time I got done paying at ToysRus, walking back across the parking lot, loading my loot, turning my heater on full-blast, shrugging back into my fuzzy coat and calling my husband to instruct him to start searching for the missed item on-line, I got to Wal-Mart a little after 12:30. The parking lot was PACKED! But, luckily, I caught a guy leaving his spot up front and was able to park within 10 spots from the front of the store! Whoo Hooo! He wished me good luck as he left. Inside was a bit crazy, but the rush from the start of the midnight sales had slowed down, so it wasn't too bad. I shopped for some of the things I wanted that had gone on sale at midnight, then I headed off to look for the line I knew I'd be standing in to wait for the one must-have, awesomely-priced item for Bubba. After some trial and error, I found the line, got my ticket and began my wait. Almost 2am by this point. There are maybe 30 people in line ahead of me - we all visited and had some fun and then settled in for the long wait until 5:00am. I arrived prepared - I picked up a holiday pillow and throw,

a bottle of Starbucks coffee drink and a book from home. I settled in, sitting on my pillow and throw, drinking my coffee drink and reading a book. Oh - and wearing my coat because the line was in the stinking frozen food aisle!!! Not the best place for someone to spend 3 hours who hasn't quite warmed out from a nearly 2 hour stretch of waiting outside! Oh well! Time went quickly - I finished my book, "borrowed" another from the book section in WalMart and finished it, Deli workers tried to make our wait more pleasant by coming through and passing out donuts, granola bars and 5-hour energy drinks at points of the night. I got my item at 5am, snagged a spot in a short-ish express line and was out of there by 5:30! Not too shabby! And this time I got everything I wanted! Whoo Hoo!

Now to Target - there were a couple must-have really good deals here, too, or I'd've left, but I stuck it out. Got my items right away, snagged a couple other bargains, then got in a line that wound from the front of the store, down one side to the back of the store and halfway back again to the other side. Ugh! But again, committed! After waiting in line there for an hour and 45 minutes, I was exhausted, but from texts I'd gotten from friends who began their shopping days at the mall about the time I was still in line at Target, I knew that there crowds over there weren't too bad, so off I went.

JCPenney's made me happy. I don't think I bought anything for Christmas, but my poor boy has had a huge growth spurt lately and needed shoes and clothes and I got everything I needed there for him at great prices! (and a few things for me, too!) With a burst of energy, I headed over to Sears for my last stop - the things I was personally the most excited about in my shopping extravaganza. The thing I've been wanting for months, found in the sale ads weeks ago and planned my Black Friday around. My NordicTrack Elliptical! Again - halleluia chorus! I love my recumbent bike, but needed a little something more. I hated the thought of spending so much money of a piece of exercise equipment, but have gotten to where I love to exercise, love how it makes me feel so much better and knew I would certainly get my money's worth from it - especially since it was half-price!!!

I bought the big honkin' machine, got it loaded and was back home by 9:15am! What a whirlwind, but since I saved a good $700-$800 on things that were actually on my list and did very little impulse shopping, I think it was well worth it! That, and - I AM DONE! with the majority of my Christmas Shopping! And it's not even December! Whooo Hooo!

After I got home that morning, I dug quickly back into the coffee pot and started preparing goodies for that afternoon's Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws. I was able to cook at a leisurely pace and enjoy myself as well as have a little down-time to rest. We had a great dinner together and I passed out in my bed by 8:30 that night, getting a nice solid 12 hours of sleep!

I don't know that I would do the extreme Black Friday shopping every year, but this year it was worth it!

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