Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Big Fat Crazy Black Friday

Whew! I think, nearly a week later, I have finally recovered from my Black Friday marathon shopping extravaganza........
Although I cannot post the entire list of goodies that I scored (my kids have been known to sneak a peek at my blog on occasion -- and all BF goodies are for them). However, I can give you the heads up on some of the great deals and all the details of my shopping escapades.

1 a.m. -- Wake up!
Yes, my friends, I woke up at 1:00 in the morning, after going to bed at 9:00 the nite before (add quickly and you will realize that is only four hours of sleep -- remember this towards the end). I got up, dressed in TONS of layers, the settled down with my laptop for one last look at all of the last minute deals I might have missed.

2 a.m. -- Leave the House
I have a plan to meet my friends -- Teri and her daughter Ashley -- and since we are both about the same distance from the predetermined meeting place, we both agree to leave our homes at 2. Fifteen minutes later I am loading myself along with my totebag full of ads into her car. We drive 25 minutes south to get to Florence, AL, which is the city we chose to scavange. Just for kicks -- we drove through the Best Buy parking lot (where people started camping out at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday). Across the street we scoot, to JC Penney's.

3:15 a.m. -- Start the stand
Luckily, in the Grand South, people are just generally nice. There are about 10 people in line when we get out of the car to jump in on the fun. Since I had only seen the ad online, and did not actually have one in hand, the nice lady ahead of me let me have a look-see at hers. It was not any different from what I had seen, but I just wanted to double check. Yes, we got the snowglobes, which were very cute! I got a great deal on clothes for my kiddos and the new grandbaby (which we are praying is home by Christmas). Doors opened at 4:00 a.m. and we were out by 4:20 a.m.

4:30 a.m. -- New Deal at Old Navy
We jump into the line -- the store is set to open at 5:00. The commercials have been on for days announcing the free MP3 player with a $20 purchase -- and my DD8 has been BEGGING for one. More than once I heard "Moooommmm......everybodyelseinthewholehousehasone.....BUT ME! Please, please, puuhhhhllllezzzzzz!!!" So, when I saw FREE, it fit's my motto 'whatever is free is best for me'. Yep, price was perfect. However, in all of the ads that ran constantly on TV, I never saw anything about wristbands, and apparently neither did anyone else. I was lucky enough to be one of the first 60 in line, as were my friends. So I grabbed jammies for one of the kiddos and a shirt for another loved one -- and to the register I ran.....ummm...walked briskly. There were already 15 people in line -- we had only been there 10 mins! And, yes, I got the MP3 player, YAY! While my friends were in line, I walked next door to Goody's and got some more goodies for cheap -- including some $20 bags that were on clearance for $3!

5:45 -- Who is the Target here?
So we scurry across the parking lot maze, to get to the next strip mall over. I have NEVER IN MY LIFE seen SOOOOOOOOOO many people in line to get into a store!!!!!! No joke, there was over 1,000 people in line to get into this store. The had a buggy corral so that no one could cut line, that was only about a 10th of the way back, with the other 90% past there. So, instead of waiting in the cold...I shopped and just waited my turn. I had no plans of getting big ticket items, just some cheaper items that I knew my crew needed/wanted. We got in pretty quickly, considering that had not waited for hours like others had. It was a VERY angry mob though -- so unSouthern. However after the tidalwave of Target shoppers had passed, we got in, grabbed what we wanted, then scooted over to Walmart. It was a hard decision to make Walmart versus Target -- but after the whole Walmart holding out debacle, we chose Target.

6:30 -- Wild Wacky Walmart
After we got out of Target, which was a quick trip, we went to Wally World. The best of the blitz was gone, but I knew the scavenge secret! When people get to the register, they will decide against this or that -- and so the cashiers shuttle it all up to the front of the store into "action alley" into all of these buggies -- where you just fish for what you want. We got everything that we were looking for, minus a couple of sets of sheets. There was plenty to be had -- including the $25 Bissell vacuum cleaners (which I still saw some at my local Walmart yesterday!) After we finished there -- we decided it was time for a break.

7:30 -- Breakfast Break!
We had been shopping for several hours, had tons of great deals under our belts, so we decided to go to Tourway Pancake House -- the unofficial feeding place of all students from my Alma Mater, the University of North Alabama. After a good, hot, cheap breakfast, we were off to Kmart.

8:00 a.m. -- Blue Light Specials
We wander into Kmart, about 2 hours after they opened, and they were still swamped. We got some great deals, which I had pared with the gift card donation deal from a couple of weeks ago, where you donated $10 to the American Diabetes Association and as a thank you, Kmart gave you a $20 GC. So not only were the deals great, I paid nothing out of pocket and had only paid half of the price about a month ago. Essenitally, I paid half price on the great deals that I did get.

8:45ish -- TJ Maxx
After missing out on all the sheet deals -- which my friend Teri wanted SO very badly -- we went to TJ Maxx to see if she could get some good deals, which she did. She got good quality, high thread count sheets for the same price Walmart had on the bargain bin ones.

9:30 -- To the Mall
Ashley needed a break, and so she decided she needed a nap -- which was fine by Teri and me. We parked right in front of the main entrance, directly beside the "police parking" and locked the doors. I said, "We will be back in three hours -- if you need us call us!" She mumbled ok. No joke we were literally in the mall for 3 hours, before she finally called! We were in there two more hours after that! My best deals of the day were in the mall. First was in Sears: I got $80 flannel sheets for my king-size bed that were normally $79.99 for $19.99 -- and they are the exact soft ocean blue that my room is painted -- IT WAS SWEET!
Time for another freebie -- I had gotten a coupon in the mail for a free product with any Bath & Body Works purchase -- so I already that one in the bag. I did not anticipate the other deals though. They had a whole section of gift sets for 30% off, so I got the biggest one they had in my daughter's favorite flavor. When I got to the register, the cashier took off my coupon and said, "Oh, if you spend $2.25 more you get another free gift." Uh...I grabbed a small bottle of body spray that will make a great stocking stuffer, and I got a set of 4 vials of perfume for free. The best part is that the gift set was originally $40, and I got about $60 worth of stuff for $33! And the free gift had a $10 coupon included for my next order -- it just kept getting better!

2:30 -- Lunch Break
Next on the agenda was refueling ourselves for one last stretch -- so we went to my favorite Chinese Buffet -- the Peking! YUM-O! After lots of good rest, food and conversation, we were ready to go again.

3:15 -- Dollar Tree Deals
Any great shopping trip can have tons of fun stuff added for cheap by stopping into the Dollar Tree. This one was no exception. We got lots of fun toys and gadgets to fill our stockings with lots of thrift and care. It was a welcome break to not figure out 60% off, 40% off, 70% off at the drop of a hat.

4:00 -- Hobby Lobbyists
With only an hour left to shop before we had to leave Florence, due to my dinner reservations with family at my mom's house, we decided to drop by Hobby Lobby. We ohhed and ahhed at all the beautiful ornaments -- and after WEEKS of searching I finally found what I had been longing for -- Eiffel Tower Christmas ornaments! I bought two packs since they were 50% off (so essenitally bogof). I also got some goodies to make a gift or two.

4:45 -- One Last Push
Although I was shopped out -- Teri and Ashley really wanted to go to Toys R Us. I had nothing against the store, but I chose to sit that one out. They were thrilled when they came back to the car though, gushing about their great experience. Since the mad rush of the day was over, and the truck was in -- TRU was restocking and they got everything they wanted.

Although it was a fun day -- at the end there was NO WHERE to put another single package. Ashley's sedan was full to the brim. We had the trunk so full it would barely close, two-thirds of the back seat was full to the ceiling, and Teri and I both had our laps full of presents. It was a very successful day. We are going to the outlet mall in Lebanon next weekend -- Who knows what we will find!

How was your Black Friday experience? Did you shop or stay home? Got a brag? Let's hear it!


Marsha ( said...

I sit out Black Friday because the whole concept is antithetical to my feelings about both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Moreover, much of what's for sale is contrary to philosophies concerning social and economic justice. I stayed at home with the kids and watched a movie, did crafts, make pies and generally had a peaceful day. It was lovely.

I'm pleased for you that you obtained so much of what you wanted. I know well the thrill of acquiring something needed and wanted for a good price. I hope your purchases bring added grace and joy to your life and the lives of whom you gift them.

Meredith said...

I'd say you worked hard for those bargains! But I know you enjoyed the hunt : )

Dana said...

I went out... I had a coupon for $5 off a Polly Pocket. To make a long story short, they didn't want to take it because "they don't take internet coupons"! I said it should be posted somewhere--like on the door! I finally got them to take the coupon, but it took a while.

At JoAnne's I spent $2.43. The cashier said "Is that all???". Nope, no fabric today. The flannel for $.99/yard was very picked over and almost none was left. I passed on all of it.

Elder Beerman had a coupon, but I couldn't find any item that qualified for it. And nothing we needed/wanted to warrant a purchase. I left empty-handed.

After that I went to get my allergy shots. Not a wasted trip in my book!

You got some great deals too. I love the thrill of the hunt!