Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Shopping

When I was in my teens and early 20s and I was a poster queen, one of the posters in my room was "Try everything once, and if it's fun, do it again!" This specific poster had an image of a roller coaster full of folks, crested the first hill and about to descend. Looked like they were having a blast.

Thursday Night about almost midnight, I decided to go along to the midnight madness shopping spree taking place. I had never done this before and had no intention to go this year. About 11:30 or so, I changed my mind. My son's fiance and her sister in law had already left to catch Toys R Us midnight doorbuster, his mother in law and I were to meet them there. We got almost to the store and got a text to not go. The line was wrapped around the store and only about 50 people were being admitted at one time. We met in another store parking lot to work out Plan B. Go to WalMart and browse even though the sale items were not being released until 5 am.

The four of us got to Wally World about 12:30 and there was a hustle and bustle of activity but not extremely overwhelming. We got a store map to see where the 5 am specials were going to be; laid out in various parts of the store. The majority of the specials were wrapped in pallet plastic and were labeled not to touch until 5. We could see that some of these pallet seals were broken already, first one we noticed was the video tapes. We browsed the store and started working our plan. I was really not intending to shop but my three grandkids needed pajamas and Wally World had fleece ones for $3, so I was in charge of PJs. Get one pair for my oldest, two pair for the middle one and the baby was getting three. I was also assigned getting PJs for the sister in law's three children.

After we scouted some of the other store items that were not on special, I had a half full cart (not my purchases, but collectively). By now, it's about 1:30 and all four had our assignments. The sister in law and I browsed back by the big kids' PJs and folks were selecting their styles and sizes but not adding to their cart, just stacking them up. Continuing to browse the store, we had two things in our (my) cart that was supposed to be on special but was not marked appropriately. A store employee informed us and took them back. OK, np. Continuing to browse the store, we noticed the same employee who confiscated our specials was overlooking some other customers' specials in their carts. By now, we are getting a little annoyed. We went back to the big girls' and big boys' PJs, got all of theirs into my cart. Went to the baby's PJ area and they were being guarded. Getting a little bit sleepy, the sister in law and I wanted coffee. She guarded the cart and I went to subway and got us each a cup. Back past the baby's PJ, they were still guarded. Since I was all done except for the baby's PJs and one toy item that I was assigned, I went to layaway to hang out and wait.

By now, it's about 2:30 and the store was really thinned out except for various isolated areas including the baby's PJs and electronics. About 40 computers were available for $300 and they were well guarded too although it looked like to me that one was missing. I was in the layaway area with maybe a half dozen other patrons waiting for 5 am. I noticed about 4:00 the store traffic was picking up again and 4:30 it was starting to get to be a madhouse. 4:45 I started heading to the baby's PJs. What would have been a 45 second shopping gait at most, took 17 minutes. Most of that 17 minutes I was waiting for someone to move along through the aisle or else I was having to go against the flow. I thought to myself, "Don't these people drive on the streets?", and mentioned a couple of times, "Go right, please".

Got to the PJs and picked up three pair of assorted characters just like that; 1, 2, 3; all in Eric's size 24 months. Eric would really not care what character was on his, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

During my two and a half hour wait, I spoke to a woman who got to Toys R Us at 11:30. She said she got into the store at 1:30 or 1:45. Got the four items she knew she wanted and waited in line from 1:50 to 3:10 to get checked out.

Realizing in time, frustration and lack of sleep, what did this cost me? How much did I gain? The PJs, I got Eric for his birthday that he was outgrowing cost $7. Based on $7, I guess regular price on the older kids' pajamas would be maybe $9. Six pair at regular price would have cost me $48, I paid $18. I will not count the shopping and browsing time, only the 2 and a half hours nonproductive time to wait until 5. My time being more valuable than $12 per hour, I may have been more fruitful had I actually planned to go on this venture, therefore better planned purchases. All in all, this is an experience I think I'd not enjoy to do again although I won't say at this time, "I'm not going".

btw, if you are a Wally World store employee, executive or whatever, don't ask which store this was, I'm not telling.

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