I have been a scrooge in the past. I would avoid leaving my house on the Friday after Thanksgiving because it was Black Friday. It's because I'm a wimp, and I don't like big crowds. HATE them.
Then a few years ago, I found an item on a Black Friday ad that I just *HAD* to have! I woke up early, and went to Walmart. (Yes, the store that is open 24 hours a day.) All I had to do was walk INSIDE the nice, warm store, find my item (shrink-wrapped for my protection) and wait until the appointed hour of 5:00 am. Poof, magic, I was in and out of the check-out VERY fast, and home before 5:30.
I have NOT attempted to brave a Black Friday since.
I did find that I quite enjoyed the rush I felt getting my Christmas gifts at AMAZING prices, but I also realized that I quite value and enjoy my sleep.
This year, there is a special store that had their first door-busters at midnight. I ALSO found that they had the EXACT toy that I wanted to get my boys for Christmas. I also found that they were a FANTASTIC deal!!
I HAD to have the toys.
For those toys, I was willing to brave the wait in line.
I didn't realize that in order to get in and out quickly I should have waited in line in front of that store at 6:00 pm. No, seriously, there were people lined up THAT early!
Instead I took Steve's car and left home at 11:20...arriving AT the store at 11:30. I went to get in line.....um, that line ran from the front door, all the way down the parking lot to the main road, then turned toward the fast food restaurant at the opposite corner of the parking lot, then turned yet again toward a super-cool pet store. I had to wait in the MIDDLE of the parking lot. I put on my gloves, and waited. People came and waited in line behind me. I don't think I will ever see these women again, but we bonded. We bonded in that "we-stood-in-line-for-over-an-hour-in-the-freezing-cold-discussed-our-hopeful-purchases-and-helped-keep-the-mood-light-for-each-other" kind of way. Keeping a positive attitude while around these women was easy. For that, I'm grateful, because things could have turned ugly, fast.
At midnight we heard whooping and cheering at the front of the line, the doors were opened. The people who paid their dues by waiting for hours and hours were now INSIDE, the rest of us shuffled toward the front of the line at a snail's pace.
The lady who was next to me said, "We'll probably get up to the front, they'll cut us off and say, 'You can't come in.'" I plugged my ears and did the universal-sign for "I'm not hearing this, so you can't jinx me!"
After a half hour of walking slowly to the open doors, we were VERY close to the front of the line. We could see the doors and the employees who were guarding the sacred line, asking for anyone to turn in any "butt-ers." (To which we joked, "Who wants rolls?" Yes, it was dumb, but remember, we were freezing our brains off, and it was after midnight....brains turn OFF at midnight!) We joked about the toys we were getting and if the prices were REALLY worth standing out in the cold for. One lady said that if the toys we wanted were sold out that we could always tell the kids, "Sorry, but Santa lost the toys in the snow, watch for it to melt. You'll probably find it in the spring."
Soon, I was within 8 people of being IN the doors and IN the heated building. SO close! The spiky-haired-guard-of-an-employee stopped us and said that we'd have to wait at LEAST 20 minutes for the check-out line to get smaller. (DANG that jinx didn't work...) We could see the end of the check-out line....it was RIGHT by the front door. (No joke!) So we talked and stuck our hands and cold toes INSIDE the doors where the heat was blowing.
One woman, who was visiting her daughters from Washington, was freezing. She's not used to these cold Idaho nights, so I said, "If you promise to be good, I'll let you stand by me." (I was RIGHT at the door, I could feel, smell and TASTE the heat. She came up and said how cold her fingers were, I said that I could warm them up for her, she looked skeptical, but I really meant it. I held this poor woman's hand to warm up her fingers, and we laughed and giggled about how I was warm because I have extra padding (while I patted my belly and thighs.)
After a while of waiting AT the door, we slowly sneaked inside the front entrance, and waited between the front doors. It was nice and warm. Soon, we FILLED that little front room with lots of bodies.....as people began filling the room, we checked our watches. It had been 20 minutes. Some people began complaining, and I reminded them that the spiky-guard had said at LEAST 20 minutes....(some said it was giving her the benefit of the doubt...)
After another 20 minutes of waiting, people began to get impatient. And at the moment that things could have gone bad, who came to save us? Spiky-haired-guard-lady! She said she could let in 15!! I was one of the few chosen!!
Getting in was easy compared to FINDING things. It's not like they put the big sale items where you can find them, get in line and check out, they have to HIDE everything. I grabbed an employee quickly and she showed me where the toys I had been searching for were, then I decided to check on another toy that Cameron wanted. I'd found a good deal for THAT toy online, but it was the SAME price in the store, so I grabbed that as well. (Although, now that I'm home and checking the online deals, it's cheaper. But with the shipping, it really was less expensive to buy it in the store.) I also wanted something FUN for Jake, since I got something for Cameron, so I found another FUN toy and got in the check-out line, which started where I had entered the store.
An hour later, I was around the store and in a check-out line. Just as I was checking out, someone found a hidden stash of the Zhu-Zhu pets. PANDEMONIUM!! I watched grown women RUN to get these toys. I quickly paid for my stuff and LEFT!
As I was walking to Steve's car, which I had parked on the OPPOSITE side of the parking lot, I looked at the line, it was now visible from the front door. It only went halfway down the parking lot instead of all the way around it. I was happy to be out of there and WITH the things I had gone in for. I was leaving the store at 2:00 am, bag in hand, feet aching, but with a smile on my face.
Was it worth it? We'll find out on Christmas morning.
Oh, and honey, I parked the car right up front. I thought you'd like that. Can someone please find my brain now?