The Friday Rant: Black Friday

I’ve never done a Black Friday shop before. I have this crazy SIL who is waiting in line in a tent at 3:00 a.m. outside of Target most Black Fridays, which I think is crazy. Then again, she got a $250 flat-screen TV last year, so who am I to judge?

This year, she was just going to stay up and head over to Target at about 11:30 at night because Target was opening at midnight. How could they mess with a tradition like that? We need our traditions: Turkey (which none of us really likes), dressing (why does everyone always trot out the weird homemade recipes, like oyster, when Stovetop is good enough every other day of the year?), pies (no complaints!), and Black Friday shopping IN THE EARLY MORNING WHERE IT BELONGS.

How are these poor kids who work at Best Buy and Target and Walmart supposed to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner when they have to sleep during the turkey fest so us fat-butt consumers can be lined up at the trough at midnight? I think it’s awful.

My SIL thinks it’s awful too. She loves the Black Friday thing. She loves joking and chatting with the other crazy people in lines wrapped around buildings in the dark, talking and smiling at the crazy people ramming their carts into her in the aisles, laughing and comparing in the lines at the cash register. (This sounds like hell to me, but whatever works for you, Tracy.) Last year some guy tried to lift his 10-year-old kid over the barricades (shopping carts, appropriately enough) and have him race back to the electronics department to snag something. My SIL’s niece saw the kid climbing over the barricade and yelled, “Get that kid!” Who knows what shopping-frenzy mayhem could have occurred if the cops hadn’t stepped in? And what dad sends his kid in alone to fight off crazy people like my SIL as he clutches an Xbox to his little chest? He’s no match for Tracy, let me tell you. She scares me sometimes. You should see her washing dishes after Christmas dinner. Those plates are lucky to survive the scrubbing.

So for her, the early opening means the tradition is lost. She hates it. I know the stores are hurting right now, but please don’t make such an obvious grab at my wallet that you take all the fun out of Black Friday, big retailers.

So I did my own little Black Friday thing this year. Usually I avoid all stores the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year I woke up, had a leisurely donut breakfast, and we hit the Target and Kohl’s across the street from my mom’s retirement condos. I figured the little old ladies probably wouldn’t get too crazy, and if they did, I’m bigger than they are. (Why do women shrink so much as they get older? My MIL is about four foot tall now.) Though they can be pretty scary too, now that I think about it. My mom is one of the most terrifying women I know.

So we strolled into Kohl’s at about 9:30, and I couldn’t believe all the stuff on sale! I had to lurk around the checkout for a cart, but once we got started, we had a full cart in no time, and sadly, most of it was mine. Then we went to Target, which was disappointing. I didn’t see hardly anything I wanted, and not much was on sale. But here’s our booty tally:

  • Two Dustbuster stick vacs, $9 a piece, regularly $22
  • One Kindle 3G wi-fi, $85, regularly $189
  • Three bed-sized fleece blankies, $8, regularly $43
  • Five beachy ornaments, $3.59, regularly $6
  • Two big electric griddles, $10, regularly $45
  • Fuzzy boots, $16, regularly $65
  • Coffe maker, $15, regularly $45
  • Two fleece robes $20, regularly $45
  • Four pair fuzzy socks, 2/$5, regularly 2/$14
  • Ipod personal speaker, $9, regularly $20
  • Kindle fire, $199, regularly $199 😦

So we spent $254.86 (not counting the Fire), which all should have cost $616.

WE SAVED $361.14!

I actually got a great deal on the Kindle. Being self-pubbed myself, I was very annoyed to have to read ebooks on my computer, so I really wanted one. By the time we strolled into Target, the $85 ones were all gone. Later in the evening we went to a different Target — same thing. But the guy who was helping us was so sweet! He looked around to make sure no one was near and said, “You want the $85 one? I can hook you up. I got two of ’em hidden under the counter at the desk.” We go there and he holds two of the 3G + free wifi Kindles down low behind the counter so no one else can see. “White or gray?” Then he went back into the storeroom and found the last Kindle Fire (for my daughter) in the store on a high shelf. Either someone who worked there was hiding it for his own interests, or it’s busted and I’m screwed.

So this Black Friday thing actually works! You can save bunches of money.

Next year, my daughter and I are strategizing. We’ll hit the Target across from the old-folks’ condos at midnight. Surely such genteel ladies will be less likely to stampede us. If they’re like my mom, they’re in bed by eight anyway. Then, since Mom is up at the crack of dawn, we’ll hit the Kohl’s at 5:00 a.m. No tents, but still, I think this would be an impressive effort for a Black Friday newbie like me. Maybe I’ll even get a TV.

About alisaacarter

I am a writer of young adult novels, wife, mom of three, lover of animals, former magazine editor, reader of anything paranormal, and coffee fanatic.
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2 Responses to The Friday Rant: Black Friday

  1. alisaacarter says:

    I’m way too absent minded to be strategic. I actually didn’t know Thanksgiving was the next day when I tried to go to the grocery Wed. I couldn’t understand why the parking lot was so full. I had a trip to prepare for, pies to buy, tires to check, and I didn’t realize I was leaving the next day. So Black Friday will almost certainly be a seat-of-the-pants deal for me! Hopefully I won’t get pepper sprayed …

  2. If you really want to get strategic, check out all the ads ahead of time, make lists of what you’re after. And split up. It’s my mom’s tradition every year. I used to go, but bargain hunters can be frightening people.

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