Well…another Black Friday (referred to as “BF” from here on out) has come and gone. It seems that each one comes all too quickly, even for me! Even though I downloaded/uploaded all the ads more than a week before BF, I still felt unprepared (though to the common shopper I appeared more than ready).
This BF, I was in the town that my wife grew up in, visiting her family for Thanksgiving. This comes with pluses and minuses when it comes to the busiest shopping day of the year. As a plus, just about all the major stores are located withing a few miles of one another, making the trip between stores relatively short. However, this is also a negative because it means that all of the BF shoppers were in a cluster of sorts. The biggest negative, however, is that the town doesn’t have several stores that have BF deals (such as Target, Office Max or Meijer)…but this is changing as they’ve recently added a Best Buy and a Menards not too long ago.
This year’s strategy differed from the strategy of the last time we were here for a BF. My wife went with me the last time around and we worked as a team in stores like Kohl’s (read more about that strategy here). This time, however, I was on my own and was able to freely go from store to store…picking up items that I had targeted from the sales ads as being worthy of my time, effort & money. The day started early…but not as early as some poor people. I had read online that some started their wait at the local Best Buy at 5 pm on Thanksgiving day. To me, that was just plain stupid…or maybe just uninformed. Why? Because Best Buy started their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving…online!!! Yup, that’s right…those poor people out in the cold could have been fast asleep in their warm beds if they had gone the online route, but instead chose to wait outside in the cold. Tough break.
My day started the night before at around 11pm, as I didn’t know when the Walmart online BF sale would start. My thinking was that 11pm Central was also 12 am Eastern, so maybe the sale would start then. So, as my step father-in-law (Jerry) doesn’t have wi-fi (yet…and I stress ‘yet’), I quietly used the desktop computer in Jerry’s office to find out if the sale had started. It hadn’t. So, I set my alarm for 4:15 am on my watch and went to sleep (wearing the clothes I would wear the next day). I woke up (without my alarm) around 3:30 am and decided to go ahead and check the Walmart website again. This time, the sales were active, so I started shopping. My goal was to get 2 items that were, in the store, supposed to start at 5 am (keeping in mind that it was actually 3:30 am)…and I did!! I was so stoked!! I wanted to tell someone…but couldn’t because of the time: everyone was still asleep.
After I had purchased the 2 items on Walmart’s website (sorry…not going to list the items just yet because I may end give these items to someone for Christmas who may read this blog), I decided to go out to the ‘brick and mortar’ version of Walmart, as they had sales that I couldn’t access via their website…most notibly DVD & Blu-Ray movies and Wii games for giant discounts. Get this: select Blu-Ray movies for $5 and $10 and select DVD movies for $1.96!! While there, I also looked at the poor people waiting in line to access the deals that became available at 5 am and thought to myself: ‘I’m glad I’m not in THAT line.’ After I had selected a few movies, I checked out…with NO WAITING!!! Walmart was prepared, I’ll give them that…having just about every check-out counter manned.
After Walmart, I was off the the races to a few other stores that had either just opened or were opening soon (Sears, Shopko, KMart & Menards in that order).
I was most disappointed with Sears, as I went to get some jewelry for my wife, only to find out (after about 20 minutes of searching) that the Sears location that I was in didn’t have a jewelry department…doh!! Shopko was decent…although the line was pretty long to check out, the line was (at the least) moving…something I can’t say for KMart & Menards. The longest wait of the day, by far, was in Menards.
I got to Menards at 6:50 am (50 minutes after they opened). Almost as soon as I entered the store, I was asked by a rep if he could help me find what I was looking for. Typically, I bypass these folks and wander around till I find what I’m looking for. However, the items I was looking for aren’t typically sold at a hardware store, so I went ahead and asked. He told me that 2 of the 3 items I was there to get were already out of stock. Bummer!! Especially on one of the items in particular: a bath scale for $7.99. Ok, so it’s not a glamorous item for BF, but it’s what was needed at our house. The guy led me to the 1 item left on my list and then I started my wait in line…and waited…and waited. I struck up conversations with the family in front of me as well as behind me, which made the wait less of a pain. As we neared the point where we could see the front of the line, I saw a discouraging thing: I was in a line that merged with 2 other lines. That’s right…3 lines converging into 1. What I didn’t know until later, was that these 3 lanes that merged into 1 was for 1 check out register. Fortunately, one of the families that I got into a conversation with notified me of other, faster check out lines. Once I hopped into that line, I was out the door in about 5 minutes. In total, I was in Menards for just over an hour and a half…but was in line to be checked out for well over 3/4ths of that.
All in all, it was a good BF day. I didn’t need or want some of the big items that were available to purchase, so I don’t feel bad that I missed out on them. Oh and side note: the items I purchased on Walmart’s website the morning of BF arrived in the mail the Wednesday following BF. Everything looks to be intact and in good condition!
Till next year everyone!!