Saturday, November 26, 2011

War Stories and a New Frontier

Since when do stores open at midnight for Black Friday?! This is new, right? I remember back in the day, there were only a couple stores that opened at 5:30am and it was a BIG deal. And then Target always opened at 6am, which was a BIG deal. I'm honestly not sure I like this whole opening at midnight thing.

In years past (when I lived at home/was home for Thanksgiving), my step-mom and I would sit up Thanksgiving night and plot our attack on retail establishments the next morning. We not only had a game plan of which stores to hit, but we also sometimes had battle strategies for within each store. We would wake up at 4:00 or so, dress, and off we went. When my brothers and sister were small, we began our day at KB Toys, which used to open at a record 5:30am. The first year I can remember, I don't think we arrived at the mall any earlier than 5:00am and we were not too far back in line. A couple years later, I remember getting in line at Target at around 5:00am for the 6:00am opening, and we were around the corner. There were several great deals we wanted for the younger ones that year and I remember as soon as we got in the door we took off in different directions to ensure maximum coverage of the store. We had a pre-planned rendevous point and I think we got almost everything we went for. One year in college I was stuck in Alabama because I had to work (Roll Tide, we were headed to Auburn that day). My step-mom and I employed the divide and conquer strategy by both hitting our respective Target stores for the 6am opening, and making sure we kept in contact about what we could and couldn't find, therefore doubleing our chances for accomplishing our goals. Whenever I Black Friday shop with my step-mom, we always end the morning with a sausage biscuit from McDonalds before heading home to relax and then head out later with the rest of the family.

Last year I didn't Black Friday shop at all, or if we did, it wasn't until the late morning or afternoon. This year though, we have a lot to buy with the wedding coming up and everything so we figured Black Friday would be a good time to do some of this shopping. Most importantly, Manny lost a good bit of weight while he was deployed and hardly any of his clothes fit. And since we were going to Black Friday shop anyway, we decided to see what this midnight craziness was all about. (I had the best intentions of forming a plan for Black Friday, but we ended up just winging it.) We went home after Thanksgiving dinner, took a very short nap, and left the house in time to get to Macy's for midnight. The first thing we tried to find was a dress for the rehearsal dinner. After trying on about 10 dresses, I gave up. We then headed to the men's section to get some stuff for Manny. We were marginally more successful there but I'm still not sure how we spent 2 hours in Macy's. By the time we left Macy's I was pretty cranky (read: need caffeine) so we went out in the mall to Auntie Anne's Pretzels for a snack and a diet coke. After some cinnamon pretzel bites and a diet coke I was in a much better humor. We ventured over to American Eagle (where everything was 40% off) and got some stuff for my brothers (and a thing or two for me too) and then to Bath and Body Works. We were about to head home (about 3:30am) when we noticed large crowds outside of Victoria's Secret. There was a large sign advertising buy one get one 50% off on bras....yes, please! We waited for about 20 minute to even get into the store (that was our first mistake) and then when we got in there, the lines to check out were so long that we gave up and decided to come back at a more decent hour. By the time we got home and in bed it was 5am. I'm thoroughly convinced we could have done this in half the time with a better plan.

We had a good time (though honestly most of it is now a blur) but I think that next year I'd rather just get up and go to the stores for 5am or 6am. It just didn't quite feel like Black Friday, and it was a very strange experience to be in the mall basically overnight. I think that other thing that was weird is that I've never done personal shopping on Black Friday, I've only ever done Christmas shopping so I think that made it feel odd as well. And next year, whether I'm at home or in Ohio or wherever, I'm not going without a plan!

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