Remember last year when I was wondering whether or not I wanted to venture out on Black Friday? And then I did and spent the majority of it in the car? Remember how I said the older I get the more the noise, the crowds and the parking irritate me?
Well this year, Man-Child informed me that he wanted to "do" Black Friday. I almost fell over in shock. Mainly, because he usually stages a revolt if I try to take him near a store for anything that isn't for him.
After laying down a few ground rules - I would NOT be up and out at 2:00 or 3:00 am; nor would I shop on Thanksgiving night (some stores were actually open so that people could shop after their meal!*) and I most definitely would not be out the door by 6:00 am - we made a date; we were going to "do" Black Friday.
I was terrified.
Friday morning dawned bright and early. And not on purpose; I just couldn't stay asleep any longer. After leisurely reading the paper and having coffee, I climbed the stairs to wake MC. I was certain he would growl at me and the whole trip would be off. He didn't. He did ask for a few more minutes; which I graciously granted....thinking he'd fall back asleep and then beg off when I came back up to wake him. He didn't.
We stopped for an ultra-healthy breakfast at McDonald's and then we took off around 9:00 am.
If I had to be out and about in the madness, there was really only one store that I wanted to hit. Belk's. They were having an AMAZING sale on boots. So that's where we started. Our Belk's is located at a huge shopping center that is crazy even during the best of times. Normally, from November on I avoid this place like the plague because of the insanity. And the traffic directors, or whatever they are, that are there directing traffic actually seem to make it worse. But I figured Belk's is on the fringe of the center, so I was hoping maybe we could sneak in without having to actually venture through the shopping center itself.
I pulled into the lot and found a parking spot practically at the front door immediately. I was shocked. We ventured into the store and it was relatively quiet; until we hit the shoe department. Apparently, I was not the only one who had heard about the sale. But even so, it wasn't overwhelming. I scooped up the perfect pair of boots for a steal and we were on our way. There wasn't even a line to speak of.
Apparently, the frenzy in the shoe department wasn't enough to put MC off; he then wanted to venture over to the other side of the shopping center to hit the book store. Figuring I was being smart, I went back out onto the main road and circled around and snuck in the back way to the book store and noticed that the traffic directors were nowhere to be seen. This is unheard of! I, once again, immediately found a spot at the front door. As I parked, we looked at each other and MC asked, "Did we sleep through Black Friday?" I had to wonder. If it hadn't been for the amazing deal on the boots, I would have thought we had slept through it.
Once inside the book store, it was ominously quiet. We were able to move freely about the store. We were only almost mowed down once - by a rambunctious toddler who had momentarily escaped from his father's grasp. We selected our purchases and headed toward the checkout line - only to stop and look at each other in shock. This store ALWAYS has a line. ALWAYS. And at Christmas time, the line is usually all the way to the back of the store. There was only one person ahead of us. ONE.
From there we drove to Old Navy, where again, a spot at the front was immediately located and procured. And again, the store was almost empty of people. This phenomenon was repeated as we went to WalMart and Target. It was almost eerie.
By the time, we'd hit Old Navy, I had started to ask the cashiers at each store if it had been crazy earlier, all of them informed me that they had just been on duty for an hour or so, and that no - it had been pretty quiet all morning. I was dumbfounded.
Apparently, according to what the cashiers had heard from their coworkers as they were clocking in, the insanity peaked around 2:00 or 3:00 am and then it leveled off.
So, in essence, our Black Friday adventure was a walk in the park. We were able to get in and out of the stores with ease. We were able to promptly secure what we had set out to procure. And we were home and tucked up on the couch with a movie by 12:00 pm. Not bad. Not bad at all.
*Although I am sure my experience was so great because everyone else went shopping on Thanksgiving, I'm not sure I quite like the idea of the stores being open on the holiday. It's not fair to the employees (in fact, we did see a mini-protest of seven or so people, at WalMart) and also, I'm kind of tired of retailers bumping the Christmas rush earlier and earlier. At this rate, we will be having Black Friday on the day after Halloween before too long.