Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

For almost all of my adult life I had been increasingly tempted to see what the whole Black Friday phenomenon was all about. Finally, just last year, I decided to go for it. I combed the sales flyers, picked out the items I absolutely HAD to buy, wrote it down on a list in chronological order of store opening times and even searched the Internet for coupons that might save me even more money. The day finally came and I jumped out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3:00 a.m. Armed with a travel mug and a thermos full of coffee, I made the trek to the mall. JC Penney was my first stop, and I waited with a throng of people outside the store just waiting for the 4 a.m. opening. It was something else. There were people singing Christmas carols still wearing their pj's, people who had obviously never even gone to bed and had stayed up partying, and people like me...just in it for the experience and the prime people-watching opportunity. It was a truly amazing experience, and I saved a ton of money.

With such a positive previous Black Friday experience, I didn't hesitate to plan a second trip. This time the plan was a little different though, because the adults in my family are not exchanging gifts. My parents had the fabulous idea that we should rent a limo and go out for dinner...just the adults. My parents didn't have to do any convincing, which meant that I didn't have much Christmas shopping to do. Why did I still go? Because there is nothing wrong with using Black Friday for selfish reasons. I again examined each and every sales flyer and wrote down the items that I MUST have in chronological order of the store opening times. It was basically going to be the same routine, the only differences being that this year Sierra was going with me and the anticipated first store opening time was at 3 a.m. instead of 4. The plan was made...pick Sierra up at 2:30 and head for Plattsburgh.

Sierra was out on the sidewalk in front of her house when I got there, and we wasted no time making the trip. Smooth sailing all the way with just a little fog to make things interesting. We decided to park near Target and make our way over to Old Navy. We were just in time for their 3 a.m. opening. There was only one problem...we couldn't find a mall entrance that was open. Everyone was standing outside waiting to get in. We decided we must have chosen the wrong mall entrance and walked around a bit before giving in and getting back in the car. Finally we found an open entrance, and headed for Old Navy. Holy cow! I know the picture doesn't really show it too well, but you should have seen the friggin' line waiting to get in the store.

I think the line even went into the other wing of the mall, it was that long! By now of course, it's about 3:15-3:30ish and people are starting to wonder why the line isn't moving. We kind of figure that perhaps they are only letting so many people in at a time because there are so many of us. That reasoning sounded good until someone mentioned the fact that the advertisement said that "select stores open at 3 a.m." Well guess what? Plattsburgh was not one of these so-called "select stores". I think some people were a little annoyed. Sierra and I decided that we were going to have to head for the anchor stores and plant ourselves in those lines. Sierra headed for Sears, and I, after refilling my coffee in the car, headed to JC Penney.

I think I had the more pleasant store to visit. Sears tends to pile all of the large aisles with all of their Doorbuster specials, leading to cramped spaces and items that aren't where they should be. Luckily enough, Sierra managed to find the King-sized down comforter that I was after for only $20! That's right, only $20 for a king-sized down comforter. I still can't get over that snag...only minutes later, they had sold out. Whew! I, on the other hand, made a rather significant purchase in Penney's...some smokin' hot boots to wear with my dress for the limo dinner. Amount saved at Penney's...$116. Can you believe it?

With that much success thusfar, we decided to head for Target. They had not yet opened, so I headed for the line outside. Again, a truly amazing experience. I couldn't believe this line! Again, the picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the general idea.

Sierra really wanted the Sex in the City movie on DVD that was selling for a low, low price of $3.99, so I headed for the electronics department (Sierra had made a Dick's detour). Big mistake. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to the electronics department at Target on Black Friday when the store first opens. It was pretty scary, I'm not gonna lie. I did end up snagging the movie and a few other small items, then headed for the check-out. Now if you've ever been to the Target in Plattsburgh, you'll really appreciate this...the check-out line went all the way down the left front side of the store towards the grocery section, around the corner and all the way to the back of the store. That's right, the BACK of the store. I was tempted to drop my stuff where I held it and leave. That is until someone suggested we check out at the pharmacy. Apparently that was top secret information, because we managed to be 4th in line there, and checked out within 5 to 10 minutes.

Needless to say we were spent. Not too spent though, because we had enough energy to visit Lowes on our way out of town. Lowes had storage totes 2/$5.98 and poinsettias for $.99. I snagged four totes, three poinsettias and a drill. Sierra snagged three poinsettias and some batteries.

With the car full, and our patience exhausted, we called it quits. For me, a successful trip. Sierra isn't completely sold on the idea of Black Friday. I think I'll probably give it another whirl next year.

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