Friday, November 18, 2011

Black Friday last year: funny day, lessons learned!

As I am preparing for one of my favorite days of the year (Black Friday), I thought I would repost my funny shopping experience from last year. It is a long but (hopefully) fun read! I know I have a lot of new readers over the past year that might get a kick out of this post! If you are a long time reader, you may want to re-read it so you can use my lessons learned to help prepare for the big shopping day! :)

Most years, I do all (or most) of my Christmas Shopping on Black Friday. I am usually one of those very organized shoppers with a list of where I am going, when I am going there and a plan for how to get all the deals I need to make Christmas happen for cheap! Since Walmart price matches, I generally try to do as much of it as I can price matching.

Well, this year, I only needed a few things as I did most of the Christmas Shopping for this year right AFTER Christmas last year. It was a new experience for me. I almost skipped Black Friday altogether this year as I thought Wes (my hubby) had to work Black Friday (he did work but only 1-10pm). So, Wes and I looked through the ads and found that there were a few things we wanted at 3 stores.

The stops would be as follows:

1-Midnight stop at Walmart...hoping to get an art set for one child, PJ's for all 4 kids, a writing toy for another kid, and the super cheap towels.

2-6am Menards stop for: pop up tent & tunnel, "Cuddle Up" (Snuggie imitation-Wes wanted to get me one for Christmas), Wii remote charging station, and "Cuddlee Pets" (imitation Pillow Pets) for all four kids.

3-Stop at Younkers to use $10 coupon and possibly get nicer "Snuggie"-like item.

Obviously with 4 kids at home, one of us shops and the other stays home with the kids-especially when the first stop is at midnight. In years past, Walmart has been my first stop and I have gone in and grabbed the toys I was after and hurried out while everyone else was still fighting over electronics. This year Walmart split up the sale so electronics doorbusters went on at 5 am and the other ones (the ones I needed) went on at midnight. I thought it would make it easier for me to get in, out and get what I wanted without SOOO many shoppers at midnight.

WRONG! Dead wrong! First, when I left my house at 11:40ish, the streets were empty except for a steady stream of minivans making their way toward Walmart-no joke! I walked in to the store and could hardly walk in it was so crowded. I was lucky enough to have a nice manager hand me a cart (they were basically gone) as I walked in (that is one benefit to pregnancy-people want to help you out generally). So I fought my way through the people back to the PJ's and grabbed the 4 pair I needed-surprisingly the exact ones I wanted for each kid. ALL towels were long gone by the time I made it to them, so I made my way to toys. The art supplies I wanted were all gone, but I DID get the writing toy. So, I was ready to make my way to a line.

There was one employee on that side of the store that was herding people into a HUGE long line that went from the last check stand, through the sections of toys, health and beauty, pets, Christmas and all the way into the garden area. It was insane. It would have been a fine idea if that was the ONE store line and it fed into all the checkout stands, but no. It fed into only ONE checkout lane-ONE! I realized this and told the employee I was not done shopping when he tried to convince me I HAD to get in that line to check out, and I made my way back over to the grocery side of the store where I got in another long line. (Not even CLOSE to as long as that other line.)

While waiting in line I had the guy behind me pinch my butt, then an older guy rammed into my cart with his cart and tried to cut in front of me in line. When I said "Really?! You think so?!" to te old guy and told him to go to the back of the line, the butt pincher behind me did and said nothing. Then tried to act like he was ready to defend my honor AFTER the older guy was gone (it was pretty funny).

There was a woman in front of me that had lots of heavy stuff and no cart and I had a cart and hardly anything in it, so I moved my stuff to the front part of the cart and offered her the back of my cart for her to rest her stuff in while we waited in line. She took me up on it and we started to talk. As we were getting closer to the front, I realized I had gotten the WRONG size for one of the PJ's, Thank goodness I had made this friend, so she watched our cart as I ran back and (luckily) found the correct size.

After over an hour in line, I made it to the front finally! I made it home from Walmart at about 2:30am, and thought I would throw in a nap.

When the alarm went off at 5 am, I turned it off and went back to bed. I woke up around 6:30/7 and ran over to Menards in my PJs. There I was able to score the Cuddle pets (all 4) and the tents. The Wii chargers were sold out, and the snuggie things were made of really coarse feeling felt so I opted to leave without one!!

Waiting in that long line was quite amusing as the lady in front of me was very funny, and the lady in front of her was even funnier. The one 2 up from me kept having people ram into her cart, and she never even flinched or got upset at them. We told her how impressed we were that she was so patient, and she said "Honey, I work at the casino! This is nothin!"

Then the 2 guys behind me in line ( who were both a little gangster looking) were telling me the funniest stories about the other places they had already been. I heard tales of Toys R Us, Walmart and Target. The funniest of which was the one guy telling me he saw a lady with 2 HUGE carts full of stuff at Walmart at 1am struggling through the parking lot, so he started to rush toward her to help, and she yelped and started running through the parking lot trying to push one cart and pull the other! He said to me "I guess I look pretty scary running over to help at 1am." He thought it was hilarious. The other guy saw a fight break out and a man escorted from Walmart at about midnight (I had seen the escort out and wondered what had happened so it was interesting to hear from someone that was back there). FYI the fight was over a pricematch for $99 Wii's.

After I went home, content with my shopping and feeling done for the day, Wes wanted to go get the nicer looking Snuggies from Younkers for my present. We went over and got them (as I stood in line for over an hour he took the kids to see Santa in the mall-with NO line BTW). I have to admit-I learned I am NOT a pet person...a mom and daughter in front of me in line were saying "I just don't know which one he will like better, he is so picky...maybe I should grab the other one?" I assumed they were talking about the pillow pets they were holding for the grandkids (they had been talking about them a lot). Then the daughter said "Let's look at them together" then she walked over and grabbed a second pet bed and set it next to the one they had and they proceeded to discuss the DOG's color and pattern preferences...I was baffled-I thought dogs were colorblind, but then again, I have never had a dog. Do they really have preferences?! Seriously pet owners, do they?!

All in all I had a successful day and got most of my goal products, but I also had a few things I learned that I want to share:

1-We are all in this together-we are all stuck in this crazy crowd trying to get the best deals, so let's try not to make it so miserable on each other-no need to be mean. Remember the things your mom and dad taught you and don't pick on other kids, don't push and shove, and be nice! (That does NOT mean you need to be so nice as to give up the things you want to someone else that wants it too-go get what you need, but don't trample others to get it).

2-No sir, there is no cutting in line no matter how old, how frustrated or how aggressive you are-that young little weak looking pregnant lady WILL stand up for herself! I will NEVER start a confrontation, and in fact I will always try to be pleasant and kind to others, but so help me, if you get in my face I WILL defend myself and as my father-in-law says, "If it is a matter of who can pitch the biggest fit, I can if necessary."

3-Black Friday is stressful-the economy is bad, and we ALL want/need that deal to make Christmas happen, so it is probably a good time to be patient and to help out a stranger and do some service for others-like the lady without a cart. It did not hurt me at all to share mine with her, but it sure made it easier on her!

4-Patience, Patience, Patience!! Would I on any other day wait in the Disneyland length lines at a store? No, no I would not. Would I have the patience for it? No, but on Black Friday I put on my most patient face and head out the door!

5-Black Friday shopping is NOT nearly as fun alone! Thank you for all my friends and family who have gone with me in the past and made it an FUN experience! Those of you that can share with me the cart crashing and we can laugh at it together! Those who have waited in those eternal lines and talked to me and helped further develop our relationships as we tried to make a stressful situation fun! Thanks Wes, Mom, Andrea, Melanie, Spence, Lindsey, Lisa, Laurie and all the others that have joined me in my madness over the years!!

6-If you can, bring a buddy with you to Black Friday-it really is better that way (see lesson 5).

So, readers-do you do Black Friday?! Any funny stories you can share?! I would LOVE to hear about it!!!