Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let the craziness begin!!!!! (Black Friday, part 1)

OK, so this post is a few days late.....it's been busy at work and home again...and I haven't had the time to write (or read) any of my usual blogs.

Every year my sister and I brave the Black Friday crowds. Neither of us enjoy shopping normally, but something about the crowds, the cold and the atmosphere door buster ads provide makes us down right giddy about the black Friday craziness. :-)

Thanksgiving was held at Inny's house (sis) this year. It wasn't as bad as I feared it would be.

Her in-laws were pretty mellow...and they know the drill. We all show up, eat dinner, clean up the mess....and then Inny and I escape to her bedroom with the sale ads in hand. Behind closed doors, we flip through the ads, not once...but three times.

1) Just to see what there is.
2) To actually pick out what we want.
3) To make sure we missed nothing. :-)

This year we took a break after the third time through, to take my niece to the holiday lights lighting downtown. She really enjoyed it, and the weather was gorgeous for it!!!!!

This creepy looking dude in strange clothes and limp walked over to where the three of us were standing and stopped. It was somewhat dark where we were, so I didn't notice the makeup right away. Once I did though, I relaxed and just sat back to watch and see what Lauren would do.

She just stared at him....with this "don't come any closer, and I won't have to kick you in the shins" look. I was so proud. He finally broke eye contact with Lauren and asked me (in his best 'I'm a dead Ebenezer Scrooge voice')..."do you like haunted houses. I told him of my love...and he grinned from ear to ear. Well, at least as best as he could...under the mask and makeup. Turns out one of my favorite haunted houses in town does a haunted holiday house. That coming weekend was to be the last weekend it was running though (which I thought strange) so we won't be able to make it this year. :-(

Anyway....he was tickled pink that we thought it was a good idea (is this the first year?)...he handed us a flyer, and limped off to scare other unsuspecting 6 year olds waiting for the lights to "light already."

Once back at Inny's house, we went through the ads one final time. This time, to plan our route through town. Logistics is very important when it comes to Black Friday. What stores open when...what stores are near others...etc, etc.

This year, mom asked if she could go along. No, I take that back...she just told us she was coming...no asking about it. Mom hates shopping and crowds worse than anyone I know...so it came as quite the surprise, to say the least.

We all hit the sack around 9:30....and woke up what seemed like 5 minutes later (2:30 am).

The three of us got up, got ready, and got out the door at 3:03 am. First stop...the one coffee place we found open this early last year.


After a small freak out, and maybe a few tears....we just headed to our first store.

(uncaffeinated - can you believe it?)

We were first in line....how fun is that?!?! After about 3 minutes, other people started showing up...and the line grew pretty large. At 3:50 we noticed the line jumpers starting to get out of their cars. You know the ones! They wait in their cars, where it's warm, until the door are about to open...then they cut in front of the wackos (us) that have been there for an hour (or more in some cases). The items we were going for at the first store (Younkers) weren't the most important to us, so I didn't make a big deal about them being there.

There was an employee in the store, walking around with Starbucks cups, handing them out to other employees. If it wasn't for the fact that I know they were going to need it more than us, I would have been jealous.

OK, I admit, I was jealous anyway! Where did they find a Starbucks open that early, in that neck of the woods??? :-)

One woman (wearing a red shirt) walked from the right side of the store to the left. Then, I kid you not, she'd walk by again....from the right to the left. We all thought we must have missed seeing her return to the right side....so we watched for her.

(give us a break, it was cold and we were bored)

I swear to you, there is a teleportation device on the left side of their store......because she NEVER walked back to the other side. Yet, next thing we know....she walks by again...from the right to the left.

At 3:55, mom took the keys to my Jeep and drove to Toys R Us to get a place in line. Inny and I got our shopping done by 4:10 and walked across the mall parking lot and across the street to Toys R Us to join mom. She had secured a spot near the front of the line. I don't know if she was enjoying her participation in Black Friday this year, but I can say that Inny and I were enjoying the benefits of having a third person. :-)

The manager of Toys R Us was new, young, and must have a mother or sister that goes Black Friday shopping...because the guy had done his research. They had one employee, whose only job, was to stand at the end of the check out line with 20 helium balloons in his hand. Then, the shoppers know where to go to find the end of the line. Smart thinking.

Also, they had a map of the store showing where the sale items were going to be...cross referenced with the ad, and a printed list of the sale items. It seems, in previous years, shoppers' biggest complaints were that the seasonal workers didn't know where the items were located within the store. Jason, the store manager fixed the issue for this year.

At about 4:50 - ten minutes to the doors opening - the line jumpers started arriving. The ingenious (and fed up) people at the front of this line decided to take matters into their own hands. This Toys R Us stores is excess shopping carts outside the front door, lined up along the front of the store. So, we all started taking line after line of carts...and well...we created a barrier of sorts. Worked quite nicely actually.

(I've been to a Best Buy "Black Friday, mad dash, people actually got trampled" occurrence. And it was the line jumpers that did the trampling. Ever since then, I've had harsh feelings for them. Call it stereotyping, that's fine by me.)

The people in line aren't the ones running...they've been patiently waiting for hours, what's a few more minutes? But the line jumpers run, jump, push, shove and kick their way into the store. It's quite ridiculous actually.

Anyway....the three of us divided when entering the store. Mom got a little shell shocked, and did the deer in headlights thing...but I found her and rescued her from the madness. We met up with Inny in the electronics department. THE WORST LINE EVER!!

I kid you not! There were only two registers in there, and if you bought electronics, you HAD to use those two registers. Plus, on top of that, the people running the registers were trying to sell us protection plans for EVERYTHING. She bought a $5 wooden train, and they tried to sell her a $3.99 protection plan for it. After they rang up each item, they offered the protection plan. On EVERYTHING!!!! That line was destined to be slow. Ugh! :-(

(to be continued)

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