Fun Friday? Black Friday.

I love a bargain. I also love the thrill of the hunt. So, Black Friday usually presents me with the best of both worlds. In past years I would ask my kids to make a list of things that they would like for Christmas. I would also make my own list of things I want to buy others for Christmas, and things I’d like to buy yself for Christmas. Then, the hunt would begin.

A couple of weeks before the big day I start checking out all the Black Friday web sites, scoping out articles and links which will have scanned ads from the stores. I then mapped out my route and scheduled my stops. Which store opens first, which store has the items likely to sell out first?

The big day dawns, and I arrive at the store before they open. I don’t camp out overnight. I am not that crazy. Depending on the year I will team up with my mom and she and I will switch off shopping while the other holds a place in the check-out line. Other times I have been on my own shopping while my mother shops at the same store close to her house, and Juan shops at home, on-line.  We coordinate via cell phones and compare who is finding what deal and where is the best price.  

This year, I dropped the ball on all my planning. I was also going solo, without my mom or Juan as my wing-man. Perhaps it’s the blogging, but I did not have time to preview the sales and surf the net looking for the best Black Friday deals.  I also didn’t have any idea about what my kids would like. Maybe it’s just a sign that they are growing up and no longer want the latest super hero action figure or tech gadget.  A gift card or money will do just fine, thank you very much.  Nevertheless, I wanted to shop on Black Friday because I felt like I’d be missing out on a great deal on something if I didn’t head out with all the other diehard bargain hunters. 

So, even though I didn’t have a well-developed plan, I headed out to Old Navy.  They opened at midnight.  There were some really good deals on clothes, jeans for $10, sweaters for $15. Before I knew it my arms were full of gifts for me, and for my kids. I must have shopped for an hour or so, then I headed for the check out line. It was unbelievable. I don’t think I have ever seen a checkout line that long. But I had already invested an hour of my time and I found some great deals. I felt like I was too committed, and what kind of bargain hunter would I be if I backed out now? So I got in line and waited. And waited. Nearly an hour later I made it to the front and paid for my bargains. I don’t think I’ve ever waited that long to give someone my money. 

After that I headed to Kohls. They opened at 3:00am. I was there before the doors opened. I had just four items to buy on my list.  Twenty minutes later I was at the back of the store with all my purchases in hand. I started to walk towards the front of the store to pay for my items, but I didn’t have far to walk because the line wrapped around the aisles and met me at the back of the store. This time my 20 minute investment was one which I felt I could walk away. I was no longer experiencing the thrill of the hunt, or the excitement of a good deal. I was tired. I put down the few items and walked out of the store without buying a thing. Gift cards and money make fine gifts, thank you very  much.

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