Before I even begin to post about our Thanksgiving week, first I need to tell this story. I need to remember for many, many years why it is not the greatest idea for me to venture out into the night...ever...but mainly on a night like Black Friday early, early morning.
Thanksgiving at Granny's was fantastic. I was thankful we were able to travel down there, but wait, this isn't my recap, this is only supposed to be about my shopping trip. RIGHT. I decide Thursday morning, after looking at all the ads, that I want to shop at Beall's Thursday night at midnight when the store opens. They had a special $10 off $25 coupon you could use between 12am and 1am, plus the first 100 people got a scratch off ticket and you could win an ipad or $250 to Beall's. Beall's is right down the street from Granny's. I mean, it's close. We had gone there looking for a Christmas shirt for James to wear Friday shopping the day before Thanksgiving, and that's when I realized they had a ton of great Gator stuff there. And, some gifts we could buy and check off some people's Christmas lists. So, I am ready. I am doing this thing. I recruit Landon. He is in. I recruit Krista. She is in. She recruits Matt. He is in. Mom is in. Dad is supposed to stay home and make sure he listens for James.
Thursday evening arrives. The time has almost come for us to leave. We pause our rousing Phase 10 game to get ready to shop. We figure if Granny lives like 5 min from the store, we'll just leave around 11:25pm and get there 30 min early. Should be plenty of time. We load up. Matt drives, Landon's in the front passenger seat, and Mom, Krista, and I are in the back. I have my coupons. I am ready. Oh, and James is asleep (duh), and Dad is in the bed with the baby monitor right next to his head turned up so loud it's BBBBUUUZZZZZZIIINNNNGGG constantly - ha. We go the back way to the store. As we round the corner, all of us are in total shock. There has to be over 200 people in line winding their way around the entire side of the store. Um, what? Already, I've missed the scratch off. Well, Shoot.
Was this trip a waste? Oh, not yet. Landon wants to get Taco Bell. We all feel we should make the most of being out of the house, so we drive to Taco Bell. After sitting in the drive thru three min or so, even though the light was on in the drive through and in the restaurant, after closer inspection, we see they are CLOSED. The only place we see open is Checkers. There are about a bazillion people in the drive through, but oh no, we are having fun. Landon and Matt almost get Big Bufords, but Matt decides it's not on his diet, so we get some chicken, some fries, some drink...whatever. We are laughing and having a good time.
Then, in my genius brain, I think, Hmmm...even though we won't get a scratch off, we could still go there and shop and use our $10 off coupon before 1am. Yes....let's go there. And with encouragement from all involved to "seize the moment", we drive back to Beall's. Matt and Krista drop us off. We divide and conquer. We pile up everything we want - which, trust me, was not really that much. Here come Matt and Krista in the store. Krista's about to have a panic attack because she doesn't operate well in situatons with lots of people...B.O., frantic-ness, etc. So, exit Matt and Krista back to the car to wait for us. We (Mom, Landon, and me) meet in the men's dept to evaluate our purchases. Yes, we've got it all. And then....
WE DECIDE TO GET IN LINE.
There are 3 registers, I REPEAT, 3 registers open in the entire store. The lines are wrapped around each other down the aisles and around the back - the lines are actually passing through each other - if that makes any sense. We step in line. Lan sends me on a recon (sp???) mission to evaluate other lines. They are all just as long. He doesn't believe me so he goes on his own mission, but he agrees when he returns that I am right. A lady gives us a second $10 off coupon that she doesn't need. SCORE. We stand there. We stand there. It's 12:50am. We inch up a little. We stand there. We stand there. I am tired...In my mind I am thinking of just a few hours when James will be awake and how because I am his mom, I will be the one who gets up with him. I decide to abort the mission. We all three decide to leave. No, I'm not kidding. That's right. We put our stuff down, and we left. The ladies behind us in line couldn't believe it. They tried to convince us to stay, saying we were already "invested" :) However, we clearly were not invested enough. We were fairly confident it was going to be at least another hour before we got to check out. We were sure of this since we overheard a Beall's employee say, "Wow, we didn't even expect a crowd like this. We were completely unprepared." Always what you want to hear in the line.
So...17 hours later, at about 6pm on Friday evening, Mom and I went back to Beall's...just to see. All our stuff was there still. We bought it all, with a different coupon. I believe we paid probably $10 more than we might have if we'd waited another hour to check out in the wee morning hours.
Lessons learned? When you have a small child and you cannot go home and sleep for many hours, do not get up at midnight to attempt Black Friday sales. If you think a store will not be busy, you are probably wrong. You should always err on the side of large, raucous crowds being in huge lines wrapped around buildings. For some sales, you might be really saving a lot of money to show up in the middle of the night. I don't think we were. Evaluate how much money will actually be saved. If it's not a lot, DON'T DO IT!!!!! Although...I cannot put a price on spending time with my family in the middle of the night on a holiday. Thankful, but thankful doesn't mean I'm not an idiot :)