Can you believe it, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! Family and friends will soon gather to share stories, reminisce about "the good 'ol days" and, of course, feast.
Before the dishes are done and leftovers put away, thoughts of Black Friday intrude on the days festivities. It's time to scour through the ads, double check door buster times and make out the list. With the popularity of online shopping, the dynamics have changed. No doubt about it, online shopping has made Black Friday shopping easier, cost effective and certainly much healthier with less pushing, shoving and out right fighting.
Before the days of online shopping, my Black Friday shopping skills were birthed and honed during the late 80's and early 90' when my children were young and their wants were not.
"Mom, it's the ONLY thing I want for Christmas!"
This seasonal mantra typically began shortly after Halloween and continued through Christmas Eve. The "more than anything", die-hard requests always seemed to be attached to the most elusive, hard to find toy of choice on the market. To this day, I can still recall the echo of desperation in the tiny voices of my children.
I dreaded and despised the non-stop, commercial driven antics of the toy industry. Hot item lists and anticipated shortages plagued my very existence. How could I let my kids down? There could be no exceptions or mishaps, Santa HAD to deliver! Mindful of my limited budget and armed with determination, Black Friday became my ultimate challenge. Let's just say that my perceived mom badge was at stake and I had to emerge victorious.
Admittedly, my first Black Friday escapade was a colossal failure. As a newbie, I learned very quickly that Black Friday shopping was not an exercise for the amateur or an adventure for the fainthearted. Black Friday shopping success depended upon strategy, expertise and a fierce desire to beat the competition. I knew I had to train and be in shopping shape for the next year and thus my Black Friday tradition began.
As soon as Thanksgiving festivities would end, my Mad Woman on a Mission personality would surface. As a Black Friday shopping guru, my strategy began by gathering sale ads, mapping out Early Bird Specials/Door Busters, making a detailed list of which sales were at what stores, set out my clothes and went to bed early.
The specials were very limited and I had to be first or second in line if I were to have a chance at getting the "must have", "hard to get" item. This meant that I would be in line somewhere between 12 and 1 a.m.
Thinking back, I have to laugh remembering how easy it was to distinguish between Black Friday professionals and first timers. First timers just didn't seem to understand the consequences of drinking too much coffee or the hassle of returning lawn chairs to the car. Suffice it to say, depending on the crowd, getting out of line wasn't always respected.
First time, Black Friday shoppers would show up unprepared and would experience a Black Friday boot camp of sorts. It is impossible to accurately describe the brutality that could sometimes accompany Black Friday shopping. Once the doors opened, rules disappeared and shoppers that, just moments earlier, appeared to be jolly and friendly, mysteriously transformed into raging mobs brandishing fisticuffs, pushing and showing displays of ruthless hostility.
Over the years, I became very skilled at Black Friday shopping and my BFF and I incorporated team shopping into our ritual. Team shopping made it even easier to secure more of our "must get items".
Those days are in the past. The era of Cabbage Patch Dolls, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Tickle Me Elmo, Power Puff Girls, Nintendo, PlayStation, Fur Real Cat, and Furbie are gone, but the memories remain. Black Friday shopping became a quest I conquered and now, for me, it's over!
Like I stated earlier, times have changed. I still love Black Friday shopping, but now-a-days, I enjoy it more from the comfort of my computer.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not saying that I will never again (never say never) suit up to tackle the crowds and experience the rush of adrenaline while zigging and zagging my way through the frenzy of sale chaos. It is impossible for me to know whether or not nostalgia will once again release my Mad Woman on a Mission personality; however, one thing is certain....should that day arrive, I highly suggest that you move on or move over!