You know that I love Black Friday. I go shopping every year on Black Friday. And even though some people like to rain on my parade and tell me the better deals are coming later I still do it. Every.Single.Year.
I was excited about the earlier hours this year. I know people were complaining, but I was thinking, “Great! I can shop all I want and make it to bed by 2am!” That sounded much better than my usual “try unsuccessfully to sleep a few hours and then get up at 2am and stay out until the early morning” routine. Well…having done the Black Thursday/midnight Black Friday experience this year I am not a fan. Far too many people. The earlier hours made it too easy. Or at least it seemed too easy. Lots of kids in the stores, too, which was a concern of mine. With all of the crowds I wondered about how safe it might be for the littler ones.
I actually started my shopping Thursday afternoon at Kmart. This was a totally spontaneous decision on my way home from Thanksgiving lunch. I’m very glad I stopped. In the coming week I’ll be writing a post about holiday shopping at Kmart and I found some great deals. The store was not crowded and the employees were so nice. There were no lines at the registers so check out was a breeze. I picked up everything I needed for my upcoming post. All in all a very happy stop. (And keep an eye out for my Kmart post-it will be a fun one!)
Later on Thursday night I started the real Black Friday adventure. I went to Michael’s first to pick up wrapping paper for 50% off. There was a coupon for an additional 30% off everything including sale items. That deal was too great to pass up. Michael’s did have plenty of shoppers, but nothing too crazy. (I mean, it is a craft store. Crafters are civilized!)
Now here is where the fun starts! I left Michael’s and headed straight to Walmart. Walmart was already open but had some sales starting at 10pm and some starting at midnight. I wanted to Xbox and Kinect bundle. I should have printed the store map online before I came! The employees had maps but I didn’t see any available for customers. After asking a few people and standing in the wrong line briefly I found out the Kinect line was over in the paint section. So I stood in line and waited. And waited. It’s OK. It’s part of the deal. And it was nice to wait inside instead of in the cold. After I got my system I went to look around for other deals. It was madness! The aisles were packed, the shelves were wrecked. I decided to make my way to the front of the store and check out.
After I went home and dropped of my Xbox I went back out. This time to Target. At Target we stood in line outside and it was cold. I was missing the warm comfort of Walmart as I waited. And waited. Target employees were handing out store maps to everyone in line. I checked out the map and the main item I was shopping for-an iPod touch-wasn’t listed. The maps also had a QR code for surprise doorbusters, but the website the code linked to never did come up on my smart phone. When I got in the store I headed to electronics-where I found out the iPods were located in jewelry. (Wish they had that on the map!) I made a quick look through the game section while I was there, picked up a few games, then headed to jewelry. Kudos to Target for having all of the games unlocked. It might have been a little crazy, but definitely a time saver. I stood in a brief line to get my iPod, but at check out is where things went downhill. I am a huge fan of shopping apps. So much so that I had loaded all of my Target gift cards on mine. (I had a ton!) Well, My Target was crashed and I couldn’t pull it up in the store. I had to pay with my credit card and go back later to re-buy everything with my gift cards. An extra step I would have liked to avoid, but in the end it all worked out so I’m not complaining. But next year I won’t rely solely on technology and will have my plastic cards as back up.
After Target I decided to head to my other Walmart. I have several Walmarts near my house. Two are pretty much the same distance away, just in opposite directions. I had opted for the large Walmart thinking they would have more items. When I arrived at the second Walmart-the smaller one-I realized I had made a mistake! Another lesson for next year-always choose the smaller store! Everyone obviously goes to the larger store because things that were immediately sold out there were still in stock at the smaller store. (I did see the last mini chopper there end up in the hands of someone else when I was two feet away!)
I went home after the second Walmart because no other stores were opening for a few hours and I was starving. And I needed a little break. While I was eating a quick snack I decided to go online. It was there that I found the washer and dryer I wanted from Lowes was available. At the same price. And with free delivery. And I could go through Ebates and get 6% cash back! I was actually much better off staying put and ordering my washer and dryer from home! That’s when I learned another lesson. Always check online for deals.
With my washer and dryer ordered and my Xbox/Kinect and iPod Touch safely at home (along with a few other things!) I could finally get to sleep. And be done with shopping for a while. Well…until today. It is Small Business Saturday, after all!