Saturday, November 26, 2011

A top 9 list.

Lessons learned from black Friday shopping.

1. The people who say that shopping online is superior to braving the insane crowds at midnight are 100% right. You'd think after three children, I would have adapted to a more nocturnal lifestyle. This is not the case. Shopping in the wee hours of the morning is not natural. Staying awake past my bedtime makes my face hurt.

2. Hunting for black Friday deals is better done in pairs/groups. It's a lonely affair, traveling down the interstate in a van that is completely void of the happy (and sometimes unhappy) sounds of small children.You'd think I would have welcomed the time to myself, but such a thing is hard to appreciate when you're tired. Sad fact: on the drive home, I knew exactly where I was going but I confess to turning on the GPS for the sake of having some form of company. Label me pathetic.  

3. Continuing with the importance of having strength in numbers, I found myself carefully observing the 'professionals' as they calmly sipped their hot chocolate as we waited outside in the cold for the doors to open. I imagined that they were doing a mental warm-up of sorts as they quietly discussed strategy. One team member would head straight for the check out line, as their partner made the immediate rounds. Dropping their first batch of prized product, they would tag out their partner so they could have the opportunity to snatch up additional items. Brilliant. 

4. I learned that the 'holiday season' begins for most radio stations on black Friday. While driving to Kohls (my store of choice - Kohls cash is a fabulous incentive), the music playing was typical, unheralded. Returning to my car post midnight, each segment was now noticeably marked with the chiming sounds of jingle bells and the hearty and happy wish to have a happy holiday season!

5. Don't take your kids with you! I apologize for expressing parental judgement, but it just makes your heart a little sad when you see Henry sized children curled up on the display beds, trying desperately to block it all out.

6. Go to the bathroom before you head out. With all of those tag teaming crazies jumping in line with their friends at that last second, your wait to check out is easily doubled. 

7.  Do yourself a favor and lay off the turkey! Or, if possible, squeeze in a solid nap before venturing out. My body was still laced with the sleep inducing haze brought on by the slices of turkey I'd consumed that evening. 

8. Before making a yearly habit of this ridiculous (and possibly addictive) practice, make sure that your husband does not have to go into work the next day at 6:00 a.m. The wake-up call the following morning was nothing short of brutal.

9. In addition to securing yourself a solid stretch of sleep, plan to go with friends! Make it a girls night. Pretend your 17 again. Laugh, be merry and enthusiastically congratulate each other on the scored deals. Oh wait, didn't I already say that?

I haven't decided if my take home treasure was worth the chaos. But I will confess that swiping the second to last 'Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Musical Activity Walker' from the shelf made me feel GOOD! I made friends with the people who had the "fortune" of being stuck in line next to me which helped pass the time. The shoppers were polite and courteous considering the outrageous shopping conditions and the employees were well prepared, so kudos to them.

What are your thoughts? If you shop the crazy hours, is it for the experience, the deals or both? Did any of my beloved readers work the night of Black Friday? What was that like? Can someone tell me why some people take the time to completely glamatize themselves before going? Is that a form of shopper intimidation?

Or... are you among those smart enough to score the same deals from the comfort of your home? If so, aren't you the least bit curious to taste the insanity? If so, give me a call next year.  


Laura said...

I went (by myself) and couldn't stop laughing the entire time at ladies threatening to "take it outside where I will smash your face in!" I wish we could have gone together, it would have been a blast! I went to Kohl's too! I say we start our plan of attach for next year (together)!

Becky Sharp said...

I am one of those people who is totally oblivious to all the Black Friday hoopla. I have NO desire whatsoever to even set foot in any stores. I don't even look at the ads. It helps having no money to spend anyway! In the wee hours of Friday morning, I was happily snoozing away...

Trav and Lizzie said...

Dude, I wanted that walker. Bad. But I just couldn't stand the sight of that line!!!
I drive up and drove away in 5 minutes flat.
Final thought in this: I think it's sad that it's taking over thanksgiving, too!

Ali said...

@ Laura, it looks like your Kohls is more exciting than mine with that type of conversation taking place! Let's make sure we shop in your neighborhood next year! I'm still laughing about that...

@ Becky, you're a wise friend to sleep through the madness.

@ Liz, yes the walker! It was the hot item that tempted me through the madness, and yes, I agree the focus ought to stay on Thanksgiving!

Thanks for the comments!

Karen said...

I went Black Friday shopping last year and the year before with my friend. She has moved away, so my motivation to go decreased significantly. I also felt like I didn't need anything because I was done with Christmas shopping (for my immediate family) in September! I just got some really great deals with different sales that were going on and my children haven't quite grasped that they can make a wish list for this time of year, so I still get to choose what they get!:) I love it!