Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Virgin

As a 38-year-old woman, one would generally assume I've experienced a few Black Friday shopping sales in my time. Ha! - but it's not so! Until today, I have never, ever been lulled out of bed at an ungodly hour just for the benefit of a sale.

There is simply no savings big enough to warrant getting up at 3 a.m., dodging the deer congregating on the side of the road, and waiting in line outside of Kohl's in the frigid November dark, so that I can save a few bucks on a set of holiday sheets. I will not risk life and limb and start my day out in a state of general frustration all in the name of saving a few bucks. I clip coupons. I am frugal to the nth degree. But I do pride myself on knowing where to draw the line.

And then I had kids. Who grew quickly out of the baby, doesn't-really-matter-what-you-get-them stage, into the I'm-going-to-study-the-target-holiday-catalog-and-tell-you-exactly-what-I-must-have stage.

Now, at five and almost four-years-old, my kids are still not too particular, but there are definitely a few must-have's on their lists. I'd already patted myself on the back for buying a whole buttload of gifts from K-mart, where they patiently wait for me to rescue them from layaway, and getting a very early jump on my shopping. But my oldest is in the market for a Razor scooter this year and they start at $28 - $32. So when the big red double dot ran an ad for a sale at $22, I was intrigued. Six - $10 is enough of a savings on something I specifically wanted, to consider venturing out. Besides, I figured with the economy in the toilet, the stores were bound to be less crowded than in years past. I was going to do it!!!

Still, I refused to get up at the crack of dawn, instead having a leisurely morning, complete with coffee and bagel, and finally headed out around 9:45 a.m.

As I approached the store, I began to feel anxious. What if it was a zoo in there, with people tugging and grabbing at the last scooter on the shelf? What if they were all out? What would the parking lot be like? I'd never done this before. I had nothing to go on.

I got to the parking lot. Not too bad - crowded, but I was still able to find a respectable spot close to the front. I parked and briskly walked to the doors, determined to get there before the other people who'd parked near me. I walked in, strolled past the carts ( I only wanted ONE thing. No carts for me!!!) and back to the bike section. No scooter of the brand and design that I wanted (read - the ones on sale). I asked a clerk, who said everything was out. A woman came up next to me and said she'd thought they were only $17 but I somberly informed her they were not, as I pulled out the flyer to prove it. The OTHER big box store had scooters, she said, but they were crazy crowded. I shrugged and decided maybe I'd try the other Target by the mall.

On the way out, I overheard conversations in which shoppers said they'd been shopping since 6 a.m. Crazy!

So I walked slowly out to my car and decided to try the other store. If they didn't have them there, I'd give it up.

Ten minutes later, I found myself driving past the mall, which was packed with cars, and on to Target. Somewhere along the way, my husband called wondering where I was. As I approached the store, I got anxious again, but again, the parking lot was not too bad. The store was crowded, but not annoyingly so. I race-walked to the back of the store.

Success! They had tons of scooters! I grabbed one, checked it thoroughly for any defects, and walked triumphantly to the personal care section in search of toothpaste, before paying and heading back out.

I was done. Black Friday conquered. Maybe next year, I'll try two different stores! Maybe I'll go out earlier! Maybe not.

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