Well another Black Friday has come and gone, I can't believe it is over already. As a parent on Long Island I learned the secrets of Black Friday around the time my children were both under 10 years old. As a young parent, I was always in search of bargains at Christmas time, and when a friend suggested I go with her on Black Friday because the sales looked to good to be true, I agreed. Form that moment on I was hooked. I am a devout Black Friday shopper. I wait all year long for it. When I get my New Year calendar, the first date I find and circle is Black Friday. I prepare for two months before hand with lists upon lists, revising them as I go and as I see new commercials for items I think the kids will like. I have a subscription to a website that prints the Black Friday adds early, so I can see what will be on sale and where prior to Thanksgiving morning when the ads come in the daily paper.
I am a fanatic. I make schedules and maps of the stores, so I can plan almost down to the second where I will be at what time and why. Which store will I go to first? What items are on sale there, and what items will be cheaper there even though they haven't advertised them as a sale item? I make so many new lists, that I need at least three small legal pads to have enough paper for them. I have a small pocketbook sized portfolio that I only use on Black Friday, which holds my lists of what I already bought (just in case I cant remember and accidentally double up) my lists of things I want to buy, and the flyers I need for each store.
I carry my money in a special pouch that I only use on Black Friday which I can keep in my pocket, so that my money cannot easily be stolen out of my purse in the large crowds, and so that I don't have to be lumbered down with a big pocketbook in case I need to sprint inside the stores to get to a door busting item. After all on Black Friday it is better to travel light, have you ever tried knocking over a few hundred people to get to the last Furby? Not that I myself have ever done that, my mother would kill me for one thing, but it is done believe me.
My husband has decided that I should start a support group for people who live for Black Friday the way I do, but I keep telling him it is a way to save lots of money on our kid's presents at Christmas, not an addiction. Granted I over prepare, and act almost like a Commander in the middle of a battlefield at war, dictating to my troops and ordering them through the different stores and a breakaway pace, but all in all it is about saving money so I can really go overboard on my kids presents at Christmas. One time a year I get to go crazy and buy whatever I want to for my kids, and in order to afford that generosity I need to find bargains, even if those bargains are at 3:00am.
I am already going through withdrawal that this years Black Friday has already come and gone. I had to take my husband with me this year, because my usual shopping partner, my girlfriend Carrie, had to work. So that threw a kink in my plans, considering my husband hates to shop, let alone shop on Black Friday. It wasn't easy getting him to agree, but I used the usual wifely charms and offered an array of tantalizing bribes to get him to agree. This is for a good cause after all!
My husband has only gone with me on Black Friday one time before this. Three years ago, I broke my leg and my ankle. I had surgery and a cast all the way up to my middle thigh. I was in a wheelchair because the cast was so heavy I couldn't manage on crutches, and I was on bed rest most of the time. However, with all that, I still asked my husband to take me out shopping on Black Friday. He was needless to say not happy, but we went, wheelchair and cast and all, and if that wasn't enough, Mother Nature added some snow into the mix.
It was an interesting day, but I still got to go and I still got to shop and get my bargains. The wheelchair actually was a help, since most of the stores on Black Friday have workers assigning people to what line to go to, most stores bumped me and my husband to the front of the lines because of my leg. For those around us it must have been an interesting sight, especially as they watched my husband wedge a Toy's R Us shopping cart in between the handles of my wheelchair, so that he could push both the cart and me at the same time, since I couldn't maneuver my chair around the tight aisles alone, and he couldn't push me with one hand and the cart with the other.
Of course when my husband tells this story at dinner parties it is much more animated and elaborate but I think you get the idea. He after all has to make it sound like a war story, the big sacrifice he made for me, because he felt bad about my leg and all. Anyway, all talk about Black Friday has me drooling for next year. The only thing that is bothering me now is that my kids are getting older now, and soon even my youngest will not be into all toys anymore for Christmas. I honestly don't know what I will do then. I guess I will have to wait for grandchildren, but that could be awhile, my oldest is only 17. My friends may be right, maybe I do need some therapy for this addiction of mine, I think the withdrawal from the toy stores may be too much for me to handle. I'm starting to fear for my health, this could potentially be dangerous....I think I need to go lie down.