Yes, I am one of those crazy, brave souls who actually participate in the annual ritual known as “Black Friday.” I know what you’re thinking. I’m out of my mind. While I have been accused of this before, there is a method to my madness. Many people have explained to me, condescendingly, that there’s such a thing as the internet, and now I can make all my purchases online. Why, they wonder, would anyone in their right mind spend the wee hours of the morning, some times in the bitter cold, to track down something they can pick up in a store during regular hours? My response: it’s the female version of deer hunting. Sure, you can buy venison in the store, but there’s nothing like waiting it out in the cold, early morning and nabbing that deer yourself. That, my friends, is Black Friday.
In my mind, I have very valid reasons for traipsing around town all hours of the night, scoping out deals for Christmas. First of all, after loading up on all those Thanksgiving calories, what better way to burn them off then shopping? It is a convergence of two of my favorite activities in one day: eating and shopping! Also, there are the deals. I know some people believe that there is no deal in the world worth climbing out of a warm, comfy bed for, but I beg to differ. There’s nothing that warms me up faster than knowing I was one of the lucky ones to score a Tickle Me Elmo in 1996, for less than retail with my coupon. Which is another reason I love Black Friday; the coupons. Many stores offer coupon discounts only good on Black Friday and anyone who knows me, knows I will drive to Michigan, if necessary, to redeem a coupon. (Logic be damned; I don’t care that I had to spend $500.00 in gas to save $50.00 on my find. I mean, I saved $50.00, right?)
So, my usual attack plan for Black Friday goes something like this: I have everyone print out their wish list for me. I gather the lists and scour the advertisements to map out my course. I’ll gather my coupons for various stores, pack some rations like water and fruit snacks, and then take a power nap (if I can sleep from the anticipation). There are fewer things I love than buying items for my family and friends, except buying said things on sale.
Generally, I like to brave the sales alone. Yes, it’s midnight on Thanksgiving and I am pushing my way through malls, and Target, and Kohl’s, and Sears, and Best Buy and whichever other stores I can manage to make my way to. Just writing about it gives me chills of anticipation. Last year, I left the house at 11:30 p.m. and headed to my local mall. After about two hours in the mall, I ventured to Kohl’s, where I stood in line in 40 degree weather until the doors opened at three a.m. While it was absolutely packed, the worst part was standing in line to check out: an hour and a half! Next, it was on to WalMart for their five a.m. specials, including a full sized basketball hoop and basketball for $99.00. Picking out the gifts and paying for them was relatively easy; putting a pallet containing a basketball hoop in the back of my van all by myself was more of a challenge. At this point, exhaustion should have set in; I mean, I am in my forties and I don’t drink Red Bull. However, it was on to Target and their six a.m. opening. From there, I went to Tempe Marketplace in nearby Tempe and waited in line outside Tilly’s for one of their bonus dollar savings for the first fifty in line. I was fifty-fourth. I then perused all the neighboring shops that were just opening their doors. All in all, a lucrative day; the wish lists were fulfilled in one fell swoop!
This year, both my daughters want in on the adventure. We’ll load up on coffee and adrenaline in search of the “best deals”. I am certain that they each will find amazing deals on items on their respective wish lists, but will save me the time of going back to the stores to return purchases after Christmas. Along the way, we’ll enjoy some memories that will far outlast any other gifts we’ll get this year.