It has occured to me that someone in the retail industry doesn’t like moms. Why else would they set up the biggest shopping deals of the year the same night that “the mom” has just spent an entire day in the kitchen cooking the biggest meal of the year? I don’t remember exactly when we started the practice of “Black Friday” shopping, but if I remember right, a few of my sister-in-laws and I went off to a department store that was offering $10 off a $20 purchase…at 5:30am to wait in line until 6 am when the store opened. I think it was the first year of the “open, open, open” Mervyn’s commercial. It was quite a rush! When anyone has that much fun it is hard to go back to normal daylight shopping.
The stores now have us pegged. You’d think that we were all a bunch of shopping vampires! They provide the “deals” and we buy what they offer…at the cheapest price we can find. It has become a battle of the big box and corporate stores to get every last dollar out of you they can BEFORE you spend it at the OTHER guys store! It’s one thing to wait in line all night for a big screen TV, but movies and sweats? If things continue as they are headed, we will start shopping Wednesday night, the day BEFORE Thanksgiving, and put the Thanksgiving dinner off until the Friday AFTER!
This year started like most previous Thanksgivings. I am never prepared enough to put the defrosted/fresh turkey in a brine before putting it in the oven. We were missing a couple of ingredients – going to grocery store seems to be part of the Thanksgiving Day’s experience. We couldn’t resist a quick stop at the Everything99cents store. I can’t remember exactly what we got, but it was a good experience…except it added to the delay of the meal time. I made a delicious spicy cranberry chutney (new recipe), and I also put a sage-herbed butter under the turkey skin before stuffing and putting it in the oven. It did smell divine and made the turkey super moist. Megan was a big help in the kitchen and helped to keep me on track. In the end, dinner was only about 30 minutes late and that’s not bad when I’m the cook! We had a small,cozy gathering. It was nice and quiet. Calm before the storm!
After a delicious turkey dinner, after the food was all put away and the dishes done, after a quick sit-down pow-wow and planning session, we left the comfort of a fairly warm, already decorated and ready-for-Christmas home for the madness of the mall…strip mall, that is.
(Shortly before Target opened. You can’t tell, but the line went all the way down to the other end of the shopping center. This is before…we were either in too much of a rush to get to the next store or too tired to take pictures of the after!)
In previous years, with the earliest shopping beginning at Walmart, the kids would start the “line sitting” around 10pm or so, then we’d divide and position at Target as well, all outside…in the cold. Last year, Walmart opened it’s doors early. We were so excited to come in out of the cold. But then there were the lines inside! It took forever to find what we were looking for (all the door-buster items were on pallets, covered with black shrink-wrap) and there was no rhyme or reason to where things were located. We managed to begin gathering what we wanted, but there were three of us and we made friends with the other people in line, so we worked together to shop triumphant! Then there were the check-out lines…a whole other story! That was last year.
This year was crazy! We had several extra helpers, but the last-minute arriving shoppers threw the whole store into a frenzy. I don’t think anyone was hurt, but there were some tense moments. It took us way too long to get out of Walmart (the shopping we were there for began at 12:01am) and over to Target (doors opened at 4am), but we shopped, got what we wanted and are totally exhausted!!! We ended up with 1 trip to Michaels, 4 trips to 2 Walmarts, 2 trips to Target, 2 trips to the Everything99cents store and trips to 2 malls.
We are still trying to figure out the best approach for getting there at the right time – not too early, not too late; how many people we need to invite for the shopping team (it pays to have a group to watch each other’s backs); and how soon to get in the check-out line so that we can move on to the next venue. We are trying to be patient as the stores seem to be working on how best to resolve whole “line” issue. I got some great deals, but I’m not shopping for little kids anymore…or grandkids YET! I have to be reasonably fit in order to manuever the aisles…Black Friday is NOT meant for an electric scooter or walker. Regardless, I hope that we can figure this out before I find myself in line next year…Wednesday night…skipping Thanksgiving all together!