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Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday, yay or nay?

It seems like when it comes to Black Friday, people either love it or hate it. I'm a lover. There is something about the thrill of the hunt, tracking down terrific bargains, stretching the holiday dollar. But there's also just the fun of it all.

For the third year in a row, Annie and I went Black Friday shopping with my friend Beth and her daughter Olivia. They picked us up at 10 'til 4am and we headed to Kohl's. I was determined to stick to my list and not get distracted by good-but-I-don't-need-them deals. So just $30 later (with a $10 rebate form in hand), Annie and I sat down to wait for our partners in crime. Next stop, Target.

Kohl's was busy, but Target was crazy! We waited in the comfort of the car until the doors opened. It took more than 5 minutes for the line that wrapped around the side of the building to stream inside before we could go in. I only had 2 things on my Target list, both in toys. And I knew right where they were because on Wednesday, I had walked the store and scoped out where the items I wanted were located. We had them in hand about 3 minutes after entering the store.

Of course, no trip to Target is that quick and that "don't buy what you don't need" resolve got lost a little, as usually happens in Target, Black Friday or not. I picked up some short socks for $1/pair for Annie (because God forbid socks should actually cover your ankle!) and a couple of $3.99 movies.

After we checked out, Beth and I both realized that we'd forgotten the $25 for $20 iTunes card. So we headed back in -- which was fruitless because apparently it wasn't just any old $25 iTunes card that was available for the discount. It was the Christmas iTunes cards. But not just any Christmas iTunes cards, as we found out at the register, but the exact card in the ad, which of course we couldn't find.

It was frustrating, but nicely illustrates one of the keys to Black Friday shopping - don't take it too seriously. The deals are awesome, for sure. But the key to the fun is to keep it lighthearted. Be serious about the shopping, but be willing to let it go without getting all crazy if the item you want isn't in stock or there is long line at the register.

Despite the hassle of the missed iTunes opportunity, we still made it out of Target in time for probably my best deal of the day -- an artificial (because Charlie is allergic to everything green), LED (because that's what Mike wanted), multicolor (because that's what I wanted), 7-foot Christmas tree, originally priced at $200 for -- get this -- $49! Thanks Home Depot!

After a quick breakfast at Cracker Barrel, it was off to Walgreen's (nada), Bath and Body Works (where I accidentally got a handful of foamy, shapeable shape all over my hands!) and then Old Navy for insane deals -- $5 fleece sweatshirts to start.

By this time it was 9am and I was starting to fade a little. A stop into Justice for Girls and Bed, Bath and Beyond and I was ready to call it a day.

Of course, my Black Friday saga doesn't end there. Annie and I went home, ready to crash but Mike was itching to get out. He was not so much into Black Friday as he was feeling cooped up in the house. Because of his knee surgery, he can't drive yet, so it was back to stores for me -- Target again (though I sat in the car) and Best Buy, where we did find some great deals -- including 3 Blu Ray discs for what normally would be the price of one!

Finally, back home! Ahhh....except that Mike and the boys had planned to go to a movie and oh, that's right, he can't drive, so I had to drive them. The first theater was sold out, so I drove them to another one, further away from our house. Rather than driving all the way back home and then have to drive back to pick them up, I decided to kill time on that side of town. How? You got it -- Black Friday shopping!

All in all, it was a fun, yet exhausting, day. I got a few things crossed off my list, did some shopping on behalf of my Mike's mom who asked me to pick up some things for the kids, and only have a couple of items that I need to return.

How about you? Did you do any Black Friday shopping? What was your best deal? Or do you stay as far away from the stores as possible?


stewbert said...

I went to Walmart against my better judgment because we were out of dishwasher detergent. The grocery side, fortunately, was completely empty. I was the only shopper. I started to foray into the baby things (having a toddler and being pregnant means I need to start looking for more deals, right?) but it was too crazy so I left. I bought my husband a jacket online at ON for half off and that's the extent of my BF shopping. I've only gone out a few times and didn't even look at the ads this year.

Nate's Mom said...

My mother-in-law and I go every year. I love the thrill of it too. But, we go after the all nighters are back home in bed, about 9am. We went once at 4am, and it was a zoo. We got must of what we were after, including a 16 speed mountain bike for $49. I also got a cricut yesterday for $69. I am so excited about it!! It's my Christmas present from MIL.

Sheri in CA

Momza said...

:::Waving arms wildly!:::I did I did! I got some really great deals too!

Joanie said...

I work in a restaurant in a mall, so I had to be there. No requests off on Black Friday!

The only thing I bought was a pair of yoga pants that Dani wanted, in the store right across the hall. I had gone to the store a few days before and asked her to hold them for me, then forgot to go back for them!

I don't think I have ever gone shopping on Black Friday! Even crazier are the folks who shop like mad on the day AFTER Christmas!! I can't do that... I'm always broke the day after Christmas!

Amy's Mom said...

I love Black Friday!  I start reading the BF posting online as soon as they start posting in early November.  But the listings aren't anything like reading the full color ads IN HAND.  I read them front to back, inside and out, to plan my attack.     Although this year, we are celebrating Thanksgiving in Atlanta,(at Jeff and Erin and kids' house), so I can't buy anything BIG and I don't know where the stores are.  So at dinner on Thursday, I asked who was going with me.  I wasn't planning on 4 am - but thought 5:30or 6 would still be good. Friday am, I jumped out of bed to find out it was already 7:20 and NO ONE was awake.  I quickly got dressed and then got my son Jeff up.  He was my appointed chauffeur. Then I woke all the "shoppers" Bill,(My DH), Nick (17y/o son) and dtr Shelley - also visiting here. They all were pretty groggy and all declined the adventure! "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."  
Jeff and I first went to Walmart.- about 8:30, I guess. I knew the big deals were gone when the shoppers leaving the store were iether hand-carrying their bags, or their basket were pretty empty. But I did find the few items I was looking for, got them and then on to Target. It was very empty by then. But we got a few good deals and left for Kohl's. It was packed! I did get $50 worth of gifts for only $20 so that was worthwhile. And the checkout lines that wrapped around both sides of the store moved quickly.
Everyone in all the stores- customers and employees- were all pleasant. But is was still early. don't thinke I'd like to be the ones working 4 am - noon!
Now - the NEXT big shopping day- the day after Christmas- I can pass. By then- I am shopped out and wiped out from the previous day's activities- so I will gladly sleep in.  

Anonymous said...

I didn't go shopping on Friday because I worked. Instead of shopping after work, and dealing with all the crowds, we spent a wonderful Friday evening with friends over dinner and games afterward.

Lisa said...

My 8-year-old was awake at 3 a.m. asking if it was time to leave yet. I didn't do Black Friday shopping before Helen was born. She has some discount shopping seeking gene that must have skipped a generation. But we've gone the last three years and have a ball. She even remained calm in the craziness of WalMart ($3 PJs!). I have years of fun BF shopping to come.

Annie said...

i was sooo tired tht i fell asleep on the couch mom! still cnt find ma phone!

Eternal Lizdom said...

I'm one of those anti-back friday types. Sorry. I think that those who enjoy it- more power to you.

What gets me sad is how many people go further into debt on Black Friday... and often without being smart about the deals or reading the fine print and so on... so they really end up deeper in a hole.

I'm not feeling scrooge-like this year... I am full of the holiday spirit... but I am definitely feeling less shop-py and commercial and stuff.

Amy said...

@Nate's Mom - I really enjoy the tradition of it too. I think if it was just me out shopping by myself, I could take it or leave it. But I have so much fun w/my dd and with Beth and her dd - that's what makes it so festive.

@Amy's Mom - There were still plenty of great deals to be had after the doorbusters. And fewer crowds to deal with, which is always nice. Everyone we encountered was friendly as well.