I'm one of the "crazies" - I love Black Friday shopping! I haven't gotten to do it much in the last few years since I usually had to work, but this year of course I have Friday off, and it just happened that my Christmas list was electronic and gadget-heavy, so my family compiled our list and made a plan and decided to go for it!
We all went to bed at various times last night... it was kind of a stressful holiday for some of us due to some conflict/tension in the family, so some of us took more time to unwind than others, lol. I think I was actually pretty much in the middle - I went to bed around 10 PM and my alarm went off at 1:30. I got up, got dressed, and went out only to discover that my dad's alarm clock HADN'T gone off, so I ran around getting everyone up and dressed. Maggie got up and brewed a pot of coffee and made peppermint lattes for everyone in to-go cups, so armed with our coffee, we left around 2 PM.
We arrived at the Target parking lot at 2:20 for a 4AM opening. Now, this particular strip mall has Target one on end, then a largish Dress Barn, a Hallmark store, a Bath & Body Works, a Hair cuttery, a now-empty space (used to be a dentist, I think), and then a large Giant. We figured we'd be good getting there 1 1/2 hours ahead of schedule. We ended up joining the line in front of Giant. :) I was starting to feel famished by now - that's one of the things that has changed in the last few months along with my waistline; it used to be that I was not a breakfast person at all, now I have to fuel my body or else it complains, lol - so Maggie and I took the van and went to the nearby Wawa's to get breakfast. Our plan was to get a bunch of Sizzli's and some drinks and dart back to the line. Turns out there were only two employees working that night and the wait time for anything from the deli was running 20 minutes, and they were refusing to make Sizzli's because they simply didn't have the manpower to do so.
We took a tour of the store instead, picked up some hummus, granola bites, trail mix, protein bars, and fruit, along with some juice, and headed back to the line.
Our wait passed really quickly - everyone was friendly and several of us had brought iPods and extra headphones. The only bad thing was that we were sandwiched between two smokers who insisted on blowing the smoke right in our faces. At one point my very non-confrontational-dad pulled out a sales flyer and began exaggeratedly fanning the smoke back to them. We were a little concerned about Ruthie getting set off in an asthma attack, so we kept sending her to stand away from us in the fresh(er) air, but all was well. It was a beautiful night, temperatures touching 60, so we didn't have to freeze.
While we were standing in line we had an organizational meeting where I shared my carefully crafted plan (lol): Maggie and Allen were one team - Maggie's job was to locate the items they were assigned, and Allen's job was to carry them or, if they ended up being too big or bulky to carry, to guard them until one of us could come help; Lizzie, Ruth, and I were making a run to another section to locate three more items (all pretty small in comparison), and Dad was making a run straight to electronics for his Christmas gift, a Garmin Nuvi GPS system, and, if possible, a Blueray player. Everyone was armed with a cell phone, and our plan was to meet up in front of the baby cribs. :)
We hit the store running like mad people and twenty minutes later had managed to snag EVERYTHING on our list. We rock, folks! I don't think I've ever managed to get everything on the list before! The folks at Target were totally on the ball - they were sufficiently staffed and the employees were very helpful and went out of their way to make it a pleasant experience for everyone. Even after we joined a checkout line that snaked all the way from the back of the store to the front, we were out of the store within an hour of coming in. Go Target! I have traditionally been a Wal-Mart Black Friday-er, but this has now changed. :)
We drove to the next shopping center so that Maggie, Allen, and Dad could go to Best Buy (which had a line just to get into the store, since they were over their occupancy limit) while Lizzie, Ruth, and I ducked into the peace and calm of Panera Bread to sit in the peace and get something to drink.
Our last trip was to Walmart. Totally different atmosphere - the employees were unhelpful, unpleasant, and generally looked like they hoped we'd all go away really, really soon. :) We toured the deals - of which there were many, amazingly, left - and ended up getting nothing but cat food we found on sale. :)
We met Anna, who was on her way to JoAnn Fabrics, out in the parking lot, and gave her Lizzie for company. The rest of us headed home to go back to sleep. :)
I got back to bed around 7:30 and got the best three hours of sleep in my life. :) I got up, wrapped some of my finds from that morning, and puttered around until Maggie woke up, and then we headed back out. :)
We stopped in at Gamestop and Best Buy again to see if we could locate a Wii game for one of the kids (no luck) then I went to the bank to deposit a check. We stopped in at Fashion Bug so I could try to find some clothes to round out my changing-body wardrobe (again, no luck - this is the dark side of weight loss, people! You don't know how to dress your body anymore, and not all parts of said body change the same way at the same rate. Very frustrating). By this time we were both hungry, so we ducked into our fav mexican restaurant for a late lunch/early dinnerish meal.
After dinner we both wanted a cup of kiwi green tea from our fav asian cafe, a few stores down, so we walked down, got tea, and walked back up to hit Marshalls. I picked up several gifts and finally found a gift for my new cousin. :)
We ran into the nearby dollar store to pick up gift bags and another roll of wrapping paper, then made one last trip to WalMart for a few oddly-sized gift bags and one. last. gift.
We came home, and I jumped on the computer to order my best friend's Christmas gift - I wish I could share, I'm super-excited about it!!! - and with that, folks, I am done shopping. I still have several packaged that have yet to arrive, but every gift is ordered and shipped, and at least 75% of them are already wrapped (go me!), and I'm actually excited. :) I can't wait to get into the non-shopping Christmas rituals, lol, like cookie baking and tree trimming and checking out the community events, and, of course, planning for my BFF's visit. :)