I’ve participated in Black Friday shopping twice in the past few years. One year, my sisters, cousins, and I trekked to Woodbury Commons Outlet at an obscenely early hour. Big mistake. There were long lines to get into the stores and the prices were the worst. Basically retail. Another year we went to Jersey Gardens Mall at midnight. Again, not worth it – crowds and high prices. Finally, we threw in the towel and said no to Black Friday.
For a couple of years.
This year, my aunt brought over a Black Friday circular. Kim picked it up and started casually flipping through it. Suddenly, her eyes narrow and I know the look. It’s the “We’re doing this” look. She gives me the look and I know its futile to refuse or argue. We were going shopping on Black Friday. At the Staten Island mall, since we were at our parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner.
The best deal we saw was at Old Navy – $1 fleece scarves, $15 sweaters, $5 fleece shirts, $5 off $50 coupon, and a free Kodak Easyshare Sport C123 Waterproof Digital Camera for the first bunch of customers. There was no way I could turn this down. My inner shopaholic roared.
Since this was a last minute decision, we were dressed quite inappropriately for hardcore shopping and we knew it – the biggest problem were the flats. These shoes could mean the difference between getting our free digital camera and being trampled. We had to take the chance and trust in years of training. Over the next two and a half hours, we formed a strategy, created a shopping list, and emptied our bladders.
The Staten Island Mall was scheduled to open its doors to crazy shoppers at midnight. My mom, Kim, and I went back and forth as to when we should leave. They both insisted that there wouldn’t really be a line because “Staten Islanders don’t care about this stuff” but I knew we needed to leave early to beat the crowds. In the end, we compromised on leaving at 10:15.
In the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper… I informed you thusly, I so informed you thusly.
There were about 150 people ahead of us. After 10 minutes, we couldn’t even see the end of the line anymore. There were at least 200 people behind us.
Kim was freezing! But she had to tough it out.
At about 11, the line started moving. By eavesdropping on someone nearby, we learned that the mall people were slowly letting people in, ten at a time. There is no one regulating the line except for one mall cop that drove up and down the line. So until this point, people lined up out of politeness.
As we got closer to the entrance, people started pushing, the line got wider, and people started blatantly cutting the line. When we got to the front, we saw that there was one mall cop being shoved by the crowds because they stopped listening to him. Poor guy. But, since this was the suburbs, even though Kim got pushed people still kept it civil and apologized. You can’t beat the suburbs for competitive shopping – you just can’t.
While we were waiting on line, Kim and I pretty much lost all hope of getting that camera since there was so many people ahead of us and surely, they knew about the camera. Once inside though, we realized that most people were headed to Hollister and Footlocker and we started running because we knew there was a slim chance we might make it.
We made it. Come on – did you ever have any doubts?
While Kim was shopping in another store, I researched our cool free gift. Despite it’s Kodak reputation, it’s a pretty nifty little camera. It retails for about $70 and is waterproof up to 10 feet. Plus, Old Navy gave us a free coupon for a free personalized calendar, which is awesome since we make one for our parents every year and they usually cost $20. Two gifts in one! We’re going to give the camera away and it feels so good to have paid $0 for it. Just freezing in the cold for an hour and a half.
I spent $78 in total. Four items were presents so, all in all, it was a good night. Shopping for others both satisfies by shopaholic regressions and gets the job done.
I’d definitely recommend making the trip out to Staten Island for Black Friday. While there were hundreds of people there, it was definitely less than most places and people were still polite. Once inside the mall, there wasn’t really a difference between Black Friday and a typical Saturday night. No stress at all.