Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Black Friday

I am not a morning person. So for MANY years, I didn't even consider getting up to join the crazy crowds to get the good deals. That is, until 2 years ago. With finances as tight as they are and were, the only way I could get my hubby a decent camera for Christmas was to get up and join the thousands of others who brave the early, early morning to get the best deals. My first year was also my great aunt's first year and she was 73 years old!!! We got up at 4am and got in line at Walmart in order to buy a Sony Cybershot for my hubby. We went to a few other stores, had breakfast and returned home by about 8am. Well, the rest of the day we spent napping. It is HARD to recover from that early of a morning when you are no spring chicken:-)

Then last year, my hubby was working at the Walmart in San Luis, AZ. We got permission to bring our RV the night before and spend the night in the parking lot. When my hubby went into work around 4am, he called and let me know that the lines were starting and we may want to come in and get in line. There were a couple of items we wanted to buy for our kids, so I put one kid in one line and another kid in another line (they were 12 and 14 yo), while I went in search of still another deal. We got all the items we wanted and then went back to the RV and crawled back into bed to sleep until my hubby got off work. It was a great way to do the deals shopping!!

Well, this year we now live back in the US of A and I was all set to make a big morning of it. BUT....the items that my kids (and hubby) wanted were not going to be on sale anywhere!! What a letdown! However, I found out that the malls here start their Black Friday deals at midnight on Thanksgiving!! And they were offering a $50 Amex gift card if you spend $100 in the mall between midnight and 3 am!!! Well, we decided to go see if one of the items we needed to buy (Ipod Nano) was perhaps available at one of the stores there so we could get the $50 gift card. Best Buy was not opening until 5am, but perhaps Radio Shack would be open and have it. We arrived about 5 minutes after midnight and went straight to Radio Shack. They had the Ipod Nano and when we checked out, it was $15 LESS that they thought - which then equaled the best deal we had seen at!!! My daughter and I then went to stand in the line for the $50 gift card - a very long line already at 20 minutes after midnight!!! There were rumors that they only had 200 cards and we were at least 100 ppl back!! Would it be in vain? Well it turns out, after an hour in that line, that we were number 161 of 200!! Woo hoo! We got the gift card, my hubby and son had wandered all over the mall checking out any other deals (none we were interested in), so we went home around 1:30 am.

I got in bed, but then began to think about the deal that Kohls was offering on a hard-anodized pots and pans set (normally $199, on sale for $99, plus a $40 mail-in rebate=$59). My husband then said that maybe I should consider it and use the $50 gift card we just got at the mall, plus the $10 coupon from the paper. He went to sleep. I went online trying to determine the quality of the set vs. Calphalon (the BEST!!) and thought and thought about it until around 3am when I decided to go. I told my hubby I was going to stand in line at Kohls for their 4am opening to get the deal. He said ok and went back to sleep:-)

Off I went in the middle of the night to stand in line with about 100 other strangers to get the best deals at Kohls!!! I stood in line for 45 minutes and it was a little chilly. By the time the doors opened at 4am, there were at least 400 people in line! I went right in, found the set (they only had about 12 total!) and checked out with my gift card and $10 coupon, paying $47.01! I was back in my car by 4:07 am and back home shortly afterward. I didn't get to sleep until 5am!! And I will be getting my $40 rebate making the total cost to me for a $199 set = $7.01!!
I think that was worth it!

And the day wasn't as bad as when I got up so early the years before. I am a night owl, so I would MUCH rather stay up really late and sleep in than get up early! I slept until 11am and then took a nap in the afternoon. So that is my story - how did you take advantage of the Black Friday deals?

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