The Best List Ever

K has compiled a list of Retail e-mail, reward and loyality programs that you should know about. Click here!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Perfect Storm Target Match-Up Post! (ie - get a super fun game on the cheap side)

(I'm sorry about all of the ' action going on in this post, something is up with blogger and it simply will not let me space this post the way I really want to.)
I've said it before but I'm saying it again -I'm all about games. Right now at Target you can get The Game of Things, plus a card deck game, (a $32 value!) for only $9.99! (Or $9.94 after the bag credit. :p)
The Game of Things is similar to most group games - you can make it serious, funny, naughty, opposite, whatever! The rules are sorta simple - pretty much everyone writes a response to the topic card and whoever is not matched to their response at the end of a round by the other players wins! (Actual rules can be found here, but I will dumb them down at the bottom of this post.)
Right now Toys R Us has "The Game of Things" on sale in their weekly ad (page 11A, top left corner) for $14.99. (Normally $27!)
AND go HERE for a $5 off coupon - making it $9.99 (Saving you, like, $17!) There is a 2 print-per-computer limit, so if you haven't used this one yet, you should be able to print it twice.
Now, you can pick this up at TRU when you're there this week getting all the child-centric board games that count towards the Hasbro/Toys R Us rebate,
you can take the Toys R Us ad (actual print ad, not Internet print out, unless your store is lax on that rule) to Target to price match the game (also normally around $27) and get a free hasbro card game as well. (page 16 of this week's Target ad talks about the promo; The Game of Things isn't listed or shown on the ad but is a game by Hasbro and has a promo sticker/tag by its normal shelf price tag in-store. If you still aren't sure about this, go to a scanner or ask an employee to scan it for you - the promo should come up on their screen.)
You may be squeamish about "doing this deal" at Target, because the new coupon and price-matching policies exclude other stores "buy-one-get-X" promotions AND they also exclude you from price matching and then using a Target coupon on said item being price matched. Plus its a bit involved and there are a lot of you out there who have been very turned off by Target lately.
However, the buy-game-get-card freebie is Targets own promotion, so you will be able to price match, get the free card game AND use the manufacturer coupon to get everything for $9.99!
Here's where it gets complicated - normal cashiers don't have the power to price match at their individual registers, so you can check out "up front" or just go straight to Customer Service, since you'll have to stop there anyway.
AND ideally the way that Target wants its "guests" to perform price adjusting when using a coupon is to use said coupon at time of purchase at the front registers and then get reimbursed later, as to keep the wait time down for the rest of us in line at Customer Service, but they'll still take a coupon at CS. However, I see this as bringing in more people than necessary to error the transaction, so you need to decide if you want to make one long purchase at the registers and then get reimbursed at Customer Service (for convenience and sake of time), OR if you want to make this purchase first at customer service and then continue with your other shopping and do two transactions at Target, that is assuming that you are there to purchase more in the first place.
If I were you (which I was, 'cause I already did this and it totally worked) I'd do the transaction first at CS and then continue shopping and purchase everything else separately, which looks like this: find the game (it's in a wooden box and can be found in the "party" or "adult" section of the game isle), pick out which free card game you'd like (you get to choose between scrabble slam, monopoly deal and something that is like pictureika; they should all be well marked that they are the free-game-with-purchase) and then go to Customer Service. Wait your turn (obvs.) and then let the service person know that you are going to price match the big item. They will scan the Game of Things, do some fancy button pushin' to adjust the price and then scan the card game, which will automatically show up as free. (They might go in a different order with the card game scanning and price adjustment, but that part should not matter.) Your total should say $14.99 (plus whatever your sales tax is; so in the D/FW area it'd be $16.23) - then when you go to pay hand over your coupon for $5 off. They'll scan it and then you're down to $9.99! ($10.84 D/FW - because the tax is adjusted to what you pay after the coupon) Done!
I didn't ring this up at a normal register, because I thought the whole thing would give all parties involved - the cashier, the CS person and myself - a headache, but here is what it should look like if you choose to go this way. When you buy both games and use the coupon, the receipt will print out as all are apart of the special promotion - so there will be all of these fancy price numbers everywhere inside a separate box that is marked like so:
-------Special Promotion -------
##### '''''''''GameofThings '''''$27.00 (or whatever price in which your target has the game listed)
##### '''''''''MFR Coupon '''''''''$5.00-
'''''''''''''''''''Refund Value ''' $23.12 (or some other number) T
###### '''''''Card Game ''''''''''''$5.24
'''''''''''''''''''Refund Value ''''$3.88 T
''''''''''''''''Package Subtotal $32.24
'''''''''''''''''''''Card Game Free $5.24-
'''''''''''''''''''Package Total $27.00 (or again, whatever price yours is going for.)
'''''All Items Must Be returned For Full Refund
'''''''''''''''''''Subtotal ''''''''''''''''$22.00 (unless you bought more stuff)
'''''%Tax on $22 '''''''''''''''''''$ tax amount
''''''''''''''''''''''''''Total ''''''''''''''''$ whatever total is
THEN you'll go up to CS and price adjust the NORMAL PRICE, the one that is on the same line as the sku number and the game title (the one that I've highlighted in lime green for you). They should in NO WAY tell you any of the following:
~ You can't do that. (Yes, I can because it's your matching policy, a current ad, your promotion, and a manufacture coupon.)
~ The Price Adjustment is only on the $22 or only on the $23.24 so you'll be getting $7.01 or $8.25 back. (No, the $22 is the price after the Manufactures coupon, and the $*23 is the *stores promo price. Stand up for yourself on this one - point to the "MFR Coupon" words on your receipt and then point to your copies of the *New and Improved* Target Coupon and Price Matching Policies. The 5th Question states that MFR Coupons will be used AFTER the price adjustment, so then point to the original price.)
~ You can't get the free card game. (Again, YES I can because the store promotion is valid on games over $10, of which this game still is after the price adjustment.)
~ I don't get what is going on. (Speak more slowly. Tell the person that you would like to buy these two items but one needs to be price adjusted, but don't mention the coupon. Show them the ad and it's valid dates, then let the employee do their thing. Once it's time to pay, then pull out the coupon.)
~ I can't price match the package total. (That's fine, employee, because you're not matching the package total, you are matching the original sales price, which is also currently the same as the package total.)
The prices in *light blue on the fake receipt indicate what you would receive if you tried to return either game without the other. This is Targets part in trying to prevent anyone from "pulling a fast one" by buying both, keeping one, and getting the full price of the other back, or keeping one for free in the end.
I hope that this hasn't left you completely lost. Getting a great deal sometimes doesn't seem worth it if you have to go through so much trouble. (Which I assure you this post just makes it all seem like a bigger hassle than it really is.) The Game of Things really is a blast to play with friends but because you run out of the included paper fairly fast (it comes with 500 answer slips - if you have 10 people play 2 complete games that's 10 slips per round, 10 rounds per game, times 2 games = 200 slips, or 100 if you go front and back) I personally would NEVER pay full price for it ever; why should you shell out $27 and then need to supply your own paper after 2 - 5 parties? But if I can get it for $10 AND get something else for free out of it then I guarantee you that everyone at that party will have heard about my great score by the end of the night.
*And don't forget that there is also a $5 off coupon for Connect 4X4 on the same coupon site, which is also part of the free card game promotion.
As promised, "The Game of Things" Rules, as read by K:
1) First select a Reader (who can also act as the score keeper) for that round and then everyone gets a piece of included paper.
2)The Reader selects a topic card and reads it aloud - so it could be "Things you shouldn't do while skiing" or "Things you can always count on".
3) Everyone (including the reader) then thinks of and writes down their answer and gives said response to the reader, who then reads them all aloud.
4) Player A will now have the chance to guess who said what - however, you cannot guess the reader (and in turn the reader of the round cannot guess either, because s/he can see every ones handwriting). So if person A guesses person C said response 1 and is correct, then person C is now out and person A gets to guess until s/he fails to correctly identify another response, at which time the next remaining player has a chance to identify the remaining responses.
5) The end of the round features two players guessing who-wrote-what determined over three response slips, because one slip is the readers, thus making it an intentional throw-someone-off answer. Once the round is over, tally up all the points given, then select another player to be the reader/score keeper. A new round can start once everyone has fresh slip of paper and a new topic card has been drawn.
Scoring: You get 1 (one) point for every correct person/response connection YOU make; 6 (six) points are awarded to the person who wins the round; The winner of the round is the person still standing, aside from the reader of course. Then you start another round until everyone has had a chance to be the reader; then winner of the game is the person with the most overall points.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Wow, shameless self promotion time!

It is my birthday, and I plan on celebrating by getting a lot of free stuff, doing some Christmas shopping and then hanging out with my friends. Woohoo!

I've been working on a birthday freebie list for a few weeks now, and while I'm sad that I didn't get every single offer that I've seen posted on various blogs, I did get quite a few so I'm not complaining. (That much. Come on, Starbucks. I've been a registered card holder for forever. Where the hell is my free drink mailer/coupon?)

Anyway, I hope you have a good day and I'll be sure to post soon!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Boggle Deal

So, by now I'm sure you've heard (read?) about the boggle deal at Target - on sale for $12 plus the free card deck AND there is a $5 off coupon floating around out there; if you're one of the ones who is going to buy the coupon online or unluckily happen to find one after the promo is over, don't fret! There is also a travel size ... edition? ... version? ... yeah, I'm going with that - a travel size version of Boggle and it is only $9.99. So, PLEASE don't stress out too much because there is a happy light at the end of that deal tunnel.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Target Rant

I finally have something bad to say about Target that isn't a *personal hang-up, bad-customer-service story or understanding-of-Target's-bottom-line-yet-annoyance-of-the-ever-changing-coupon-policy rant.

You know that $.05 bag credit that was implemented at the beginning of November, that they are *soooo* proud of and have been advertising everywhere like crazy? How many times in the past 36 days have you shopped at a T (or ST) and you've not received your damn nickel?

I feel silly being for upset about this - I mean I'm not raging mad, but it is annoying. It's not even so much that I'm upset about missing the pocket change. (Although it would have made my trip last night all that more impressive.)

I just feel let down as a super loyal Super Target "super user". (McDonald's categorizes their customers into 3 groups - moderate, heavy and super, the lesser being the people who eat at one of the stores at least once a week, the middle is 2-3 and super = 4 times or more. I'm seriously at Target at least once every other day, and at most 3 times - 3 different stores - a day.) I bought their red reusable bags shortly after the announcement to make sure that I always have some in both cars and by the door when I leave; I even have two of those silly ones that are made out of parachute material that fold up into a little coin-purse-sized pouch - and I keep both of them in my Burberry purse all so I'm never without a Target bag. ('Cause you never know.)

Am I just being silly for thinking about it this much?

If I use 3 of my own bags each trip, make 2 trips a week every week for a year (52) - when that's all said and done it comes out to $15.60 a year. Not much to a single girl who lives at home but what about the families who use 8 bags and make 3 trips a week. That's $62.40. Think about what Kristin at Couponing to Disney could do with an extra $62 at Disney World. What could you do with that?

I know that they've trained their employees well - but it's silly on my part too because of course I notice that they haven't scanned the credit, yet I won't say anything at the time because I don't want to seem crazy or desperate to the the people in line behind me. So then I get to the car and I think about it on the way home and by that time I'm blaming myself - maybe there is more that I could have done? Did I talk too much during the process and it was distracting? Should I be a stone-cold bit*h to the next person so they will fear my mean side and want to do everything in their power to please me?

I could say something at the time to guest service - but the lines are hella long and after checking out you need to get home to put your stuff away.

I try to check out with the same people at each store I visit and they know me and they've stopped asking if I want to open up a red card account (because I have one) or if I have any coupons (because of course I do). But sometimes even they forget.

Have you ever had the girl who is all caffeinated and brand spankin' new, or the guy who really really wants to work his way up the chain of command, and they go through all of the motions - "Hi! Did you find everything alright? Do you need a gift receipt? Do you need a gift card? You can save 10% by opening Red Card today!" Do those people really need one more thing to be prompted into saying 500 times a day?

Then there are the cashiers who look like they'd rather have their teeth pulled than be on the clock - you know the ones, the older guy who wants to get away from the house but didn't quite have target in mind, or the person for whom this is their second job of the day and they are so exhausted and drained that they really don't care if we save $.50 on a $4 box of cereal. Those are the cashiers who are ice cold and will tab on through the required questions in the first place. I am not about to tell that person s/he forgot to take my nickel off.

So, here is the question - how do we handle this without seeming like huge a*holes? How do you politely ask your cashier "did you get the bag credit" without seeming homeless, poor, like we're trying to steal something or like we're telling the person with the scan gun how to do their job?

I don't have a problem using coupons - I've only had one situation where I was flat out told I could not use a coupon which resulted in bringing a manager over, showing the coupon policy and calling customer service from my cell phone right there in the lane did not work. (It was those damn travel games - I bought 4 of the last 7 - two HH and two C4 at a store I did not frequent, thus the cashier and I were not on a first name basis. She had already rung EVERYTHING up and when it came time for the coupons, she needed to "call a manger" to push them through; he came over and said that I would only be allowed to get one, that they needed to leave some for others and that they had the right to determine what was considered normal consumption. I understand if I were trying to get them all for free using a Target coupon - like those damn Up & Up toddler wipes, but these were manufacture, not to mention that the cashier had ALREADY SCANNED THEM and PUT THEM IN MY BAGS. So had I just paid for them everything would have been fine, but the d*bag manager wasn't having any of the coupon business even though they would have been completely reimbursed AND have made $.32 off the sale, but whatever. So I just said, that's fine, I'll keep my coupons and please take those other 3 off.) ((Anyway - where were we? Oh yes. Feeling bad about saving money.)

But I know that so many of you out there do feel like you're getting looked at like you're being prosecuted for shoplifting all the time - not just when a coupon doesn't go through or if the cashier is studying the coupon before they'll even try scan it.

I'm about to write an email to corporate - yes, at this ungodly hour - because I just can't sleep and I want to know what those big-wigs think about all of this. I also want to hear what you have to say - should this be a screen prompt? Should the employee be personally docked in someway for every failed bag credit? Target as a corporation should care about this - yes they are losing money five cents at a time but the only way to accurately judge if the program is working and if the planet is being saved one non-plastic-bag-transaction at a time is to have every employee do their part.

What do you think?


(Steps off of soap box)

(*my personal hang up as mentioned in the first sentence is about parents who let their kid - as in only one - sit in those damn extended carts - as pictured at top - that take up the whole aisle and are very hard to maneuver around other people. Your kid doesn't need that - what about the parents who come in after you and have two or three kids and are desperately looking for those multi-kid carts but can't find any so they have to make one sit in the seat and one in the basket creating less space for their groceries, or let one hang on to the side or wander the aisle. I get that I don't have kids so "I don't know", but I assure you that I won't put up with any cart-related temper-tantrums.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bounce Back Cards and Offers

I love Bounce Back promotions. ("What the what" you say)

Bounce backs are a "gift" or freebie you get for buying (or doing) something else. I'm going to compile a list (because they're fun!) of promo's that we should all know about.

A lot of these are set up as a "thank you" gift card to you for buying another gift card, which can be annoying, because after a while that's a lot of cards and who are you going to give them all to?

Well ... there isn't a rule saying that you can't keep the original and use it for yourself, is there.

Uncomfortable buying such a large amount or is the freebie too good to pass up BUT the store is one that you may not frequent often? Ask the sales associate if the card works at any of their sister stores - Pottery Barn (and PB Kids) are owned by Williams-Sonoma and you can use their cards interchangeably. Same thing with Chili's, On the Border and Maggiano's. (Most of the time you can just look on the back of the card and it will say OR you can call card services if there is a large crowd or you feel silly asking in person.)

And don't forget you can get creative with gift cards - if the promo wants you to buy a certain amount, check and see if you can buy a few cards and spread the total around in different increments. OR if you can't do that, buy the one amount at the time, get the freebie, and then go back later and ask for a few in smaller amounts and pay for those with the one large one. (Have I lost you yet?)

Gift cards in lower amounts work really as gifts for people you don't really like but you feel like you need to get something for - like the kids music teacher who probably talks to the art and P.E. teacher and will be broken hearted if she didn't get anything from you; Secret Santa or White Elephant games; If your tween wants to go to the mall and you are uncomfortable with them having cash or your credit card 'cause they might buy and hide something and never tell you about it - giving them a gift card that only works a certain store will surely prohibit that naughtyness AND if you get the card number and pin info before hand you can even check the card on a regular basis to see what they purchase; Or if you forgot that you needed to get something and are running low on time, bam! you have a gift card.


~ Abercrombie & Fitch - this one is AMAZING because they NEVER offer promotions or in-store coupons. Buy $100 worth of merch (excludes gift cards), get a $25 gift card back. (Warning! the $25 expires on January 30th.) Click here - then it should scroll on the screen after two or three other announcements in the top box.

~ Applebee's - buy $50 in gift cards, get a $10 bounce back. (restrictions apply to gift card, but are listed on back of card ... so I don't know what they are. Sorry!!!)

~ Auntie Anne's - click this link and provide your information. You'll get a coupon sent to your inbox within an hour or two good for a free pretzel when you buy a $10 gift card or a "make your own pretzel kit".

~ Brio Tuscan Grille - Buy $50 in gift cards, get a $10 bounce back. (stipulations - bonus card valid January 1 - March 15th; cannot be used with any other gift cards, promotions, coupons or bonus cards.)

~ California Pizza Kitchen - Purchase $100 in Gift Cards, get a $20 gc back. (read more here)

~ Cheesecake Factory - buy a $25 gift card, get a gc good for a slice of cheesecake valid Dec 26th - March 30th. (Must buy card in-store; can't use free cheesecake card until after Christmas.) (read more here)

~ Chick Fil A - buy a $20 gift card, get a 2010 calendar. (or is it a cow-endar. LOLOL!!!)

~ Container Store - for every $100 in gift cards you buy, you'll get a $25 back.

~ Denny's - buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 card for later. (bonus card not active until january, expires at the end of March; the fine print says "one card per guest per visit" but is very tiny and does not state weater that means one promo card purchased or redemeed.)

~ Einstein Brothers Bagels - (yes, we have Bagel stores here in Dallas.) Click on this link, submit your friends info and you'll get an email with a coupon good for a bogo breakfast or lunch sandwich. The best part is that for every friend you refer you'll get another coupon. (Don't want to spam your friends? Refer your work, home or junk email.)

~ Gilly Hicks - (The Victoria's Secret of the Abercrombie Brand) Spend $100, get a $25 gift card. (cg expires at the end of January; promo excludes buying a gift card.)

~ Holister - get a $25 gc for every $75 you spend. (on merchandise, in-store only; cg expires at the end of January.) (same thing, click here, then wait for it to scroll by in the top box.)

~ Ihop - buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 off coupon. (good for your next visit, coupon expires at the end of January. I'd buy the gift card before I sat down, eat, use the gift card to pay, leave, go to Ihop again before the end of January, use the coupon and then the rest of the gift card. But I haven't been to Ihop since the end of college finals so there you go.)

~ Maggiano's - for every $100 in gift cards you buy by the 31st, you'll get a $20 bounce back gift card. (Bonus card valid January 1 - Feb 28th and is only valid on a purchase of $50 or more, which you'll have no problem doing at Maggiano's.) ((Plus, you can use the $100 gift card at Macaroni Grill, Chili's and On The Border, because they are all owned by Brinker International.))

~ Outback Steakhouse - Buy $100 worth of gift cards, get a $20 bounce back and a free music download from Sugarland. (Bonus Card valid January 1 - Feb 10.)

~ Red Robin - get a $5 bb for every $25 gc you buy. (OR get 20% off for every $500 you buy in gift cards.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free VS Pink Mini Dog with Purchase!

It's that time of the quarter again - that's right, there is another new mini-dog at Victoria's Secret.

Make any *pink purchase from now until they sell out and you'll get the pint-sized pup.

(Please note that the picture above is not the pup that is being given out this round; although similar in fabric, you get to choose between 4 (or 5) colors, and each has a different "nice" word printed on it, like "peace", "love", "hope", etc. And no, the new one does not have a Santa hat.)

If you're a fan, a collector, or are named hope or love or whatever else they say, then I'd go down to the mall and get one quickly as to be sure to get your choice in color and or phrase.
Otherwise I'd skip it or not place it as a high priority.

It is an in store and online promo, so you don't need a coupon or print out, which also means that will be be included with any other *pink purchase you make. (So you can buy something *pink, use your mystery gift card or any other promo print out you may have and can still get the dog.) ((Also, the promo started this past Saturday, the 28th of Nov, so if you made a VS Pink online purchase since then then you should get one with that order. OR if you purchased something in store and did not get one, find your receipt and take the print out of the VSPink home page and they should give you one.))

Again, I didn't think that these were all that cute, but of course I picked up a pink one and will shove him (her?) somewhere in my pink and girl-y guest room.

Happy Shopping!


*pink equals any Victoria's Secret Pink collection (like the collegiate/dormwear/younger target market)purchase, not just any panty or bra in the color and/or hue of pink. If you just have to have one but don't want to buy any of the small sizes/odd looking shirts and undergarments, then the pink line in the bath and body (and fragrance) collection also counts, as do the bags (purses, travel duffel), water bottles and anything else found in that section. If you don't want to spend that much money but still want the damn dog, then buy a $1.50 lollipop and call it a day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Heartfelt Message from A and K

So I don't know if it's been mentioned, but we're only doing this because it's fun. There are too many other coupon and freebie-ers out there who have awesome websites and are always updating and do a much better job than we ever could (unless we were also banking from it, then I feel that we could spare the time), but A is busying graduating so she can teach the youth of the future and make a difference and junk and I already spend too much time in front of the computer. Plue, I'd also hate to have to knife someone because she/he posted something and didn't link back to us. (You know I'd do it too.)

Why the site then?

Again, there are so many wonderful people who sit down and do match ups and find coupons in the little corners of the interwebs but sometimes, just sometimes, A and I stumble onto good deals and steals of which no one else has yet found. (I personally take credit with the Free Fiber Pop-tarts at Target a few months ago.) And we would like to be a voice for the Northern Dallas area - if we find a price or deal and post said price, you can expect to pay somewhere around that in the area, unlike when someone from Florida or Washington State sends something in and it's a drastically different price when you go to the store to score.

And I live in a suburb that includes the next weeks Target ad in their free Friday paper so I feel somewhat empowered on Friday.

So, to all the nay-sayers, I'm sorry that we don't advertise, sell our blank space or include a banner - personally there are some sites that have way too much of that already. It's like a Yahoo v. Google (visually speaking) thing.

But we're here just to have fun as A finishes up undergrad and then takes on Grad school next fall, and I start to plan to think about getting married and possibly move across the country.

With that said, we hope you have a great day!

~A & K

Friday, November 27, 2009

K's Birthday comes again

updated 7/8 at 1:30 am.

Ugh. I'm turning 25 next week, the 10th, and it's not that I hate getting older, its just that I haven't accomplished anything that I had planned on by the time I got to the quarter-century mark.

So, I've decided I'm turning 24 for the second time and I'm going to celebrate by getting a bunch of free stuff! (What better way?)

I've been signing up for clubs, loyalty programs, email enrollments and you name it for a few months now and we're going to see what happens. There are a lot of bloggers who have complied lists that will tell you where to go, what to do and what you'll get, but I'm going to post here (and update as the day gets closer) as to what really pans out.

(One of the best - and most frequently updated - lists out there can be found over at Hey It's Free. I literally signed up for ever offer that is available in the Dallas/Fort Worth area so we'll see what works out!)

(Dates in parenthesise = when I received said offer. I'm telling you that so you'll know when to look for your freebies!)

((Ps - you may need to have a lot of friends to collect on a lot of these as there are a lot of bogo's or certain amounts to spend - or just make sure you have have a lot of freezer space.)

Ready? Go!


~Academy Sports and Outdoors - Try reading that and not singing the rest of the jingle. Sign up and get a FREE $5 gift card for your bday! (*Mine came in January, you may have to wait for this one.)

Aerie - the underwear and dorm-centric side of American Eagle Outfitters (read - target market is GIRLS ages 17-24, who are sizes 00 - 14.) offers the A-List club - if you hit their store (Aerie only, not a regular American Eagle, but a side store that has it's own mall entrance) on a Thursday during your birth month you'll get a gift! (I wrote this up before actually getting my gift; I hear that it changes month - to - month.) ** The program has since changed, so instead of a free gift you get 15% off your purchase both in-store and on-line.

~ Arby's - free Swirl Shake with any roastburger sandwich purchase. (expires 14 days from date sent, minimum purchase of full price roastburger. Not sure if the freebie is also a swirl shake; seems to be an odd choice for December people but whatev's. Also, I can't tell what exactly it's swirled with so good luck.) (12/3)

~ Auntie Anne's - the "pretzel perks" club is for "V.I.P.s (Very Important Pretzel-lovers)" (<~All that was thought up by AA, NOT me.) but really, anyone can join. I receive coupons via email for BOGO's - a new one each month - and for my birthday I was sent a bogo as well. (*Stipulations - free item must be of equal or lesser value of paid item, not valid on dips, sauces or drinks.) AND it doesn't expire until the end of the month. (came on 12/3)

~ Aveda - I got a birthday card via snail mail for a free pure-blends product of my choice. I'm excited!!! (12/5) (Update - I went to collect and it was great. You get to choose one product between a lotion, body oil, bath salt, perfume and something else but you get to choose the scent and they *flavor* it right infront of you. Plus, just for going into the store you get a *cup of tea and if it's slow and your Aveda person isn't a total bitch you'll also get a hand massage.) ((*I starred the word cup because it was more like a shot glass and the flavor is mint and licorice, so, not for everyone.))

~ Aveda Pure Privilege - this is different than the above Aveda club - this is like an airline miles program, only for spa services. There is a one-time-fee of $10 to join but after you collect points from things like hair cuts, spa days and product purchases, you can redeem your points for cool things like vacations, more spa services and coupons for free pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. This is also how you get those AWESOME emails for their larger free samples. (The same ones that you sometimes see floating around on freebie websites - only if you're a member you won't have to worry about getting dirty looks from the staff because you're a member!) FOR your bday you'll get a card with some other free sample thing, as well as a certificate for triple bonus points on your next spa service. (Again, this is probably better if you actually get a lot of *work* done or you already visit an Aveda Salon or Spa.)

~ Banana Republic - 15% off my next purchase, valid online only (boo!). Valid the whole month (yay!) but cannot be combined with other offers. (12/1)

~ Baskin Robbins - Free scoop! It expires on the 15, so 10 days from when I got it. (12/5)

~ Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops - free single scoop. (present id, cert good for single scoop cup or cone) expires two weeks from date sent. sign up for the chunk-spelunker (not a dirty word, just a play on words because B&J love chunks in their ice cream and spelunker because that means exploring) email club here. (please do not email me yelling how the grocery store would not let you use this coupon on a pint, because it's only valid at scoop shops - so like malls, airports and strip mall locations.) (12/3)

~ Benihana - Free dinner (up to $30) for joining the "Chef's Table" club. Valid the whole month and again, good up to $30 on anything you order excluding alcohol and tax. (So, get the $17 or $22 chicken thing and then a few pieces of sushi.) There is a whole list of limitations, like one offer per table, only valid in 24 states (sorry, HI), must be at least 13, only applies to dine-in orders; if you spend less than $30 there will be no reimbursement, etc, blah blah blah. (12/4, but I also entered the wrong bday (?), so I'm sure that added a few days to the send time.)

~ BJ's Restaurant/Brewhouse - Free Pizookie!!! (AHHH!!! I love these so much - it's a cookie/brownie cooked in a small deep dish pizza pan and topped with vanilla ice cream - we usually get one as an appetizer, which is why we don't often go to BJ's.) There isn't any word of "buy one entree" or "spend this amount", so I'm going out for drinks and shall be eating a pizookie as well! (12/3)

~ Buca de Beppo - free dessert, exp's on jan 2, so a full 30 days after I got it. (must purchase one entree, not valid on dolce platter.) (12/3)

~ Chili's - free dessert (with purchase of any entree), expires on the 17th (so 14 days from date sent or a week after the day), good only in the continental US and does not exclude carry-out orders. (12/3)

~ Cold Stone Creamery - a free Cold Stone Creation AND a $3 off any cake coupon. Expires one week from my birthday. (Downer? I have to log into their site to print both, which means that I have to remember a password and I definitely don't.) It seems like in the years past it wasn't good for a creation, rather a single flavor and one mix in or topping, so this program has improved. (12/3)

~ - did you know that Crayola is a combination of the french (maybe?) words for chalk and art oil? A little bar trivia for you later. Anyway, they sent me an e-card and a 15% off coupon to be used in their online store. (I know, I can't print it out to make $1 box of crayons $.85. boo.) (12/6)

~ CVS. I have a registered reward card so I received a coupon for $2 off my next purchase. (Which, as we all know, $2 will go a long way at CVS.) ((CVS stands for Customer Value Store, for those who wanted more trivia.)) (12/10)

~ Dairy Queen - BOGO 16oz Blizzard. (14 days from date sent, and when signing up you have to select which DQ you'll visit.) (12/3)

~ Dickey's Barbecue Pit - Join the "Big Yellow Cup Club" (the soda cups are massive, and yellow, so when you purchase a soda you get to keep the cup. You know a true dickey's fan when you go over to their house/apt/whatever and their main supply of cups are from Dickey's.) and on your bday you will get a BOGO sandwich email. Expires 14 days from date sent, must have ID, free sandwich must be of equal or lesser value of purchased one. (this would make a good to go deal.) (12/5)

~ DSW - I received an email for $5 off my total purchase, no minimum listed. (But lets be honest now, how often have you ever spent under $5 in a shoe store?) The offer is good the whole month of my birth so that is another generous offer. Also, you can combine up to 3 DSW certificates at once, so if you have been buying from them all year and accumulating points, then you can use 2 more rewards certs with the $5 bday one. (12/1)

~ Firehouse Subs - they used to offer a birthday mail out for a free sub, but as of July 1, 2010 the program changed to where you just need to flash your id on your bday to get the free medium sub. (Which is a good thing, because I finally got my free sub card in March.) If you still want to get on a mailing list with them, click here, and you'll get a cert. for a free drink with your next sub purchase.

~ Fox and Hound - (which also operates Bailey's Sports Grille, which we don't have in Dallas but I'm reading about online, so if you don't have one, maybe you have the other?) Free entree with purchase of another at equal or greater value. Offer expires 14 days from date sent. (I literally signed up for this one two days ago, too.) (12/5)

~ Fuddruckers - Free 1/3 lb burger (but in smaller print below it says "burger, entree, sandwich or salad up to $8 in value" - which is great because if you don't like burgers then you have a choice.) - limit one per guest, expires 14 days from day sent, need to show ID. (12/3)

~ Genghis Grill - sign up for Khan's Club and get a free bowl at lunch or dinner. There are some exclusions, but a free meal is still pretty sweet. I received the email a full two weeks before and it's good for up to a week after my actual day. Pretty sweet indeed. (go here for locations) (11/27)

~ Godiva Chocolatier - not exactly a birthday freebie, but if you're going to be at the mall, then stop by and collect your monthly free piece of chocolate. (They also offer other nice perks with this program.) ((Also, it's pronounced "guh-dive-uh", NOT "go" *pauseofbreath* "diva".))

~ Great American Cookies - free slice of cookie cake! (expires two weeks from date sent, valid only at participating locations - must select fav location when signing up and that verifies if said location accepts coupon.) (12/3)

~ HomeMadeSimple - (The section of P&G who are behind those coupon booklets for products like swiffer and fabreeze) sent me an e-card. (Thanks, Guys!) (12/1)

~ Houlihan's - a free entree, and it doesn't appear that there are any other strings attached. I have two weeks from my bday to use it and standard rules - dine in only, one coupon per table, bring ID, etc etc. You do have to pick your favorite location when signing up for the club and that is the location listed on the print out, but I'm sure if you wanted to use it at another location and you called ahead of time they will "do you a solid" 'cause it's your birthday. (can you tell I've never used that phrase before in my life?) (12/6)

~ Jack in the Box - now, this is a place of which I normally do not frequent, unless a friend decides she needs a Breakfast Jack at midnight (A) or a certain boyfriend needs to pee. But, I do belong to the Secret Society of Cool People (click the words "sign up" on the left side of the screen) and as a member I received a coupon for a free dessert - either a "chocolate overload cake" (it looks like a baby chocolate bunt cake drizzled in chocolate sauce and is hopefully served warm and with a defibrillator) or a slice of "New York Cheesecake" (which just looks like cheesecake). No other purchase necessary, present coupon when ordering and show ID. Interestingly enough, there is no expiration date on this one. (12/10)

~ La Madeleine - email for free pastry. Expires two weeks from date sent, must show ID, no other purchase required. (12/3)

~ Lancome - yes, the make-up and skin care people - sign up here to create an account; my birthday "gift" is a skincare sampler collection that I will receive when I enter the given code on my next $35 purchase which can be made up to the end of my birth month. (12/3)

~ Maggiano's - $10 off any check of $30 or more. (Which is easily done at Maggiano's.) One certificate per table, dine-in only, expires 30 days from date sent. (12/3)

~ Marble Slab Creamery - free regular cone (I hope it includes ice cream! harharhar) and $3 off a cake (wait, I feel like I've seen this offer already). (Expires 14 days from date sent, mix-ins not included.) Join the marble mail club here. (12/3)

~ Origins - $10 off my next $25 online purchase. (Read, not valid in-store.) Place order by the end of January (so, month and a half, two month window); AND free shipping with an order over $75. (12/10)

~ - free 6 oz. "vanilla birthday cake" shampoo/shower gel/bubble bag with my next order of $15 or more. (I'd rather save my $15 and shipping costs and get a $16 full sized bottle at Sephora, but birthday freebies are birthday freebies!) The code is good for like, 3 months though, so I have a while to deliberate on what I should purchase. (12/10)

~ Qdoba - BOGO entree (the free one must be of equal or lesser value of paid entree.) Expires two weeks from date sent. (12/3)

~ Quiznos - join the qclub (I did not see that coming) and you'll get a free cookie. (They even made it a point to mention it in THREE separate places that if I ask they'll heat it up for me in their oven.) It looks like there is no other purchase necessary ... but you will have to select a specific store and redeem only a that location. (12/10 - day of birth)

~ Red Robin - Free Gourmet Burger (of my choice!) - offer may only be printed and used once, only one coupon per table, except for families with multiple bday's in a two week period. Dine-in only, not good with any other offers, discounts or promotions; must present ID; expires 14 days from date sent. (12/3)

~ Schlotzsky's - free small "the original" sandwich (expires a week after, please bring ID, non-transferable; multiple uses of coupon would have me kicked out of the "Bun & Fun club"; not valid with any other offer, meal deal, combo meal or kids meal.) and it appears that I don't have to buy anything else ... unless I want chips and a drink. (12/3)

~ Sephora - As a beauty insider I received an email to pick up my gift a full two weeks before my birthday; I also have until the 23rd, or two weeks after the day, to pick it up so if there is too much going on I have a very generous window and I love that they are allowing that. *Valid only at Sephora stores, IE, cannot be picked up at the Sephora inside JCPenny's. (11/27) (PS - the gift changes every year.)

~ Sonny Bryan's - I hate barbecue - I hate the fatty meat, the sauce, the need to serve it with sides the size of meals themselves - but I CANNOT get ENOUGH of Sonny Bryan's. This place is nationally ranked, they have 9 metro local's (and have even started to franchise - who has $750K and wants to show New York or Boston a good time?) AND this is THE PLACE Rachel Ray comes for some authentic Dallas BBQ when she's in town. ANYWAY - sign up in the bottom left-hand corner and you'll get an email for a free combo in celebration of your bday. (Received 12/3, expires 7 days after bday.)

~ Souper Salad - free lunch of dinner buffet - dine-in only, beverage not included, not valid with any other offers. This one doesn't expire until January 9th ... so like, 5 weeks! Score. (12/3)

~ Smoothie King - bogo 20 oz smoothie. Join the Kingdom here. (12/4)

~ Texas de Brazil - Complimentary dinner (with purchase of full price dinner, not valid on Saturdays, one cert per table; Alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages, desserts, tax, gratuity, salad and children prices not included.), expires on 1/2 - so a full month after I received it. (12/3)

~ Texas Roadhouse - Free appetizer or sidekick of *ribs. (*ribs added to your meal - so say you order a salad or 20 pound steak, you can add some ribs to it.) One free app or side with purchase of one adult entree, combo app is excluded. Dine-in only, one cert. per table. Must redeem within 5 days of birthday, ID required, must present whole printout. (12/5)

~ Victoria's Secret - I received a "$10 off any purchase" card via snail mail. I'm assuming that because I get their emails and catalogue that's where they got my bday info, but I am always in that store (they have the best freebies year-round) so maybe that also helped? This came before Thanksgiving, but my day is surrounded by holidays so I'm not sure if this is a standard time or not. (11/25)

~ Vocalpoint - So, with all seriousness this is what I was thinking: "An email from Vocalpoint? Yay! I love all of the stuff they send me; the media kits, the generously sized sample products, the high value coupons, they are really going to treat me well and make my unforgiving bday worth while." ... then I opened the damn email. There are 3 "tips" - one is to make my own "creme fraiche" (or "freedom mousse" for those of us who are still American), one about pampering myself ("draw a bath, light a few candles and smear an avocado/honey mixture on your face" - seriously? It's my birthday, I wasn't just stood up from the prom.) and the last is letting me know how I can get into a free yoga class - by calling around to see who offers a free first class. (You do have to be a member of Vocalpoint, and they are pretty picky when it comes to accepting people; since they are a marketing research company owned and operated by P&G they may rule you out if you live in a certain area, are of the certain age or occupation as current "members", or if you have a little too much penis.) ((But even if they reject you, I literally just told you what all the email contained ... so just email me if you'd like the cream fry-shae recipe.)) (12/10)

~ Wendy's - woohoo! Have you seen that movie "waiting", where the WT couple goes into the restaurant for the wife's birthday and the husband orders for her and he's all "hell, she can have a soda, it is her birthday" ... this feels kind of like that. (Although Wendy is a hot and fiery red-head.) ((20 bonus points to anyone who got "The Office" reference.)) ANYWAY, join Wendymail and you'll get coupons from time to time as well as a $1 off any "premium combo meal" coupon on your birthday. (12/10)

Black Friday: On Ice

So A and I (K, for those who are new) are hangin' out at the SuperTarget in a northern Dallas suburb and we've decided to document our experiences. Oh, and we match. (But that's neither here nor there.)

We have a lot on our lists, just in different places. We've chosen this location (as opposed to the 30 other ST's between our houses) due to the fact that it is just north of a major mall, north east of a Walmart Super Center and close to just about anything else that you would need for Black Friday fun. Seriously. This "area" is one of the hottest in the metroplex and from where we are sitting we can see the throngs of people at Best Buy, an Old Navy (which is where the family members of the hombre behind us have fun off to so they can maximize all the deals.)

I'll be updating this one post, as to not post every 7 seconds, and if all goes well we'll be shopping it around next week to different production companies. A wants to make a movie, and my bf, "The Boy" wants to make it a made for TV movie, I'm thinking that a Broadway musical is a little more classy. (You get dressed up, you have to wait in line for the bathroom at intermission - fun for all!) BUT now that I think about it I don't want to pay someone to write songs for us so i'm chaning the format to "Black Friday - On Ice!"

(11:00 pm - 11:45 Thanksgiving night. Scene - driving in the car.)

~ We went to Walmart (did you know it's un-hyphenated now), to check it out. It's #3 on our list so we wanted to get a lay of the land. Employees were still setting things up BUT there were about 40 people waiting in different locations to "line up" - and not where you would think. Like, people who were waiting for computers are hanging out (more like lying on the floor, but whatev) are in the pharmacy area. People who want a PS3 are by women's underware. (Which is probably the first time most of those guys have ever seen women's underware.)

~ Drove to gas station to get snacks - that fancy-schmancy hot drink maker is the best! They should sell some of those on black Friday. We were also not the only ones to think of that idea.

~ Drove by the Toys "R" Us - the line was CRAZY! It went down two other store fronts before wrapping around the building and then did a snake-like thing back. I hope my kids are bad when they are little because coal is much easier to find than some of those toys.

~ Made it to Target (GOAL!) and we are 6 & 7 in line. Players in front of us - guy 1, mom and son (#2 and #3), people in tent = 4, and a (very cold looking) girl is number 5. I will say that as the morning in progressing more people are getting in front of us. What the hell? The tent actually has two people and number 5 is Hispanic so naturally 8 of her friends and or family members showed up later.

(Scene two. Friday morning. )

12:15: So far we have set up our tent, chairs and found connectivity to the laptop via an unlocked wifi connection hosted by a chuck-e-cheese type establishment. Thanks Mr. Gattis!

12:30: 1st guys wife shows up. That's fine. And most likely expected. But wife met some friends at Toys R Us and they are now here at Target too. These new friends are most definitely new friends because they are all introducing themselves to hubby who has been here since 4pm. (Also, the wife was one of the first 25 in line at TRU so she got a zhu zhu pet. She very politely said that she has not f*ing idea what that thing is but she has one now.)

12:35: lady from tent is now saying something to the new friends. New friends are not happy.

1:00: New friends from guy and wife #1 are now cursing at people #3, the tent people. Both parties have now called the cops.

1:04: A and I start watching "Elf" on The Boy's laptop.

1:07: people our age about 10 back are quoting the movie. "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loudly for all to hear!"

1:23 - Cops arrive ... and they look pretty pissed off to be here. 3 cars are here (necessary?) because we're just that rowdy (read, not). They are very nicely explaining that this is private property and they are not being paid to police this lot. (See pictures.)

1:28: K asked cops for stickers. They are telling us stories about fights at other establishments. Good times indeed.

1:35: Cops leave; A and tent lady start talking. Tent lady was at Best Buy last year when there were fights and she said that she is ready to throw down. Even tho the cops are gone now, I'm pretty sure she wants to trip these people once we're inside.

1:46: 3 Asians in a Honda are slowly approaching our hoard - they have a poster taped to the side of the car and are selling snacks - ice cream truck style - to all the people who are like us. We now about number 13, 14 and 15 in a line of 50 deep and I cannot tell you how many people are loving it. (Of course the hand warmers sold out at Best Buy, electronic loving jackasses. All they have now is cold water and monster energy drinks.) A, I know what we're doing next year!

2:00: I'm just now at the part of Elf where Buddy is getting attacked by the raccoon. Love it! (we've been pausing too much to people watch.)

2:06: A guy who looks like a retired high school football coach is walking around passing out fliers about hide speed Internet for sale. Pretty sure I'm jacking this one. But thanks, guy.

2:08: Internet guy made a sale!!! Asshole from group #1 is signing up - someone is capitalizing from this madness.

2:09: Temperature check - 45. (But it feels like 42 when you factor the windchill.) Also, the boy is wearing flip flops. Oh how I lurv him. ;-P


Act 2

2:41: A and I are back from a potty break. (It was successful. However there was also a line for that.) We sent The Boy to sit/nap in the car to warm up (he's wearing flip flops!!!) and I think he loves us for that. We drove by the Old Navy and Best Buy and the lines were like Woah. People at the 7-11 said that Toys R Us is still sooooo busy - that they are only letting 25 people in at a time and that the rest of the people in line are still around the building. They said that the checkout line was even longer and one lady said that she put her stuff down.

2:46: Notes to selves for next year - Hand Warmers!!!! (Enough for us and to sell to our fellow liners); Camping chairs - if we find any after the summer clearance, buy a few extra and sell them to the other liners; Snacks (again, to sell.); portable electronic blankets; wear long johns/under armor.

2:49: Asshole guy who "cut in line" with guy and wife #1 just walked up to tent couple, apologized and gave them a bag of WhatABurger. I am impressed - it's a holiday miracle! (Well, not really, but it's still a super sweet offer.) The asshole guy and his wife (who we've now renamed "cowboys jacket guy", due to the fact that he is sporting a very fancy, and most likely expensive, Dallas Cowboys Letterman style jacket) also put camping chairs in the back of the line after the altercation and just explained to tent couple that when the doors open, they will stop hanging out with their friends and take their rightful places in line. (Although A thinks that asshole/cowboys guy is just scared that Tent lady, who is very serious, btw, will tell on him to management.)

2:58 - J, a mutual friend, and her bf, R, are hanging out at Kohl's. They've been there for about two hours and they are reporting that they are number one and two out of 15. I'm thinking that if you still want to hit a sale you still have time to hit Kohl's.

3:00 - Old Navy is about to open ... if we get really quite we could hear the madness. But, just like Toys R Us I'm assuming that after the first few rounds of people get in and out then we'll have a lot more "liner" friends ready to throw down.

3:02 - wife from couple #1 is passing out hamburgers to the other liners - who buys extra hamburgers? Are they making friends so if someone picks up the last item that wife 1 wants is she going to pull the burger card? (SO something I would do, btw.)

3:09 - Super Targets have two entrances and we're all on the electronics side of this location and the line keeps getting longer. But here's the thing, there is NO ONE on the grocery side. I'd think that at this point in game being number 1 on that side and running across the store would still beat being number 125 on the "right" side. We also have yet to see any employees.

3:30 - a manager (super cute, super friendly and super single!) just came out and handed out maps. Apparently they are breaking everything up, as to not overload the electronics dept. Smart move Target.

3:32 - a FLOOD of cars have started to enter the parking lot. Maybe these were the people over at Old Navy?

3:37 - I could stare at Ryan (my new manager friend) all day ... if my boyfriend weren't sitting in a tent 5 feet away from me. :-(

3:40 - we're having to readjust our game plan - everything has been moved. They put DVDs in the back by woman's wear, TVs are by kids clothes, DVDs are by men's stuff - maybe they are trying to make this difficult.

3:45 - start disassembling tent.

3:45:15 - K yells at boyfriend to stop disassembling tent.

3:45:30 - A starts supervising the tent teardown.

3:50 - tent is down, poles are out. Too close to bag hand out time - K and the boy just fold tent a few times.

3:52 - we can see the Target team members tear open boxes of the free bags.

3:53 - Boyfriend goes to put tent in car.

3:55 - K yells at boyfriend to run back to the line, as to not miss getting his bag. ('Cause you know that is exactally what he's most worried about today.)

3:59 - people who just now arrived are SPRINTing from their cars to assume a spot in hopes of not miss getting free bag.

4:01 - bags are dispersed. A little dissapointed.

4:03 - see lady sprinting from parking lot to end of line ... only lady is on crutches. (She really wants that bag!)

4:09 - Ryan (sigh!) comes back to front of line, bagless (they handed them all out - this means that there are over 500 in line).

4:11 - Ryan emerges from store vestibule with a cart of more bags - regular $.99 red bags - to generously give to the people at the back. He said that some people back there were COMPLETELY disapointed (read - yelling) so he decided to do something.

4:15 - buzz starts turning to excitement. We're still in blankets and have put all unnecessary items back in the car with the exception of two blankets and one fold out chair.

4:20 - a different manager decends the line and starts telling us a few at a time where some items will be located - so if we have any questions we'll know. I find out Ipods, DSs, Chi flat irons and something else like that will be kept behind the guest services counter. (Which I become extact about because thats a further distance to run.)

4:25 - the people will not stop coming. Some are so discouraged by the sight of the line they decide to take it and stand at the grocery entrance.

4:30 - Ryan (hello lover!) comes around with tickets for TV's.

4:35 - boyfriend goes to put blankets and chair back in car.

4:37 - Ryan comes back to our side of the line to brief his team about being vigilant for people cutting.

4:38 - boyfriend comes back in line, Ryan approaches to ask if he's been there the entire time. We assure Ryan that bf was and the hispanic people infront of us, in their broken english, also agree and confirm. Not sure if Ryan was joking or flirting ... (opinion of Ryan is dwindling.)

4:40 - we're all standing at this point. Adrenaline is starting to flow.

4:42 - SO. Many. People. have now started walking from ... I don't know where ... because the parking lot is FULL ... so many more are confused and start to stand by those safety concrete poles because they are thinking that they are going to jump in somewhere. Ryan tells them otherwise. (Ok, he's cute again.)

4:44 - We ask oh-so-cute Ryan about the people who are lined up on the grocery side; sure they are smart for going over there but will they be let in at the same time too? As a consensus (read: the first part of the line within earshot of the question) we start voicing our concerns (ie - start talking smack) about those other individuals (the too-cool-for-the-really-long-line-asshats) but are quickly reassured (informed by the manager of loss pervention and security) that those doors will not be unlocked until everyone on our side has been let in. S.C.O.R.E. (Of course, my response to his response: Do they know that yet? and then someone else in line behind us was all "don't tell them!"; we all have a chuckle but then R says that they are about to find out and I guess as this whole exchange happened another team memeber was waddeling his way down there to tell them.)

4:45 - you can see a whole line of people on the south end of the complex turn from facing the entrance to their right to listen to the guy.

4:45:30 - about 100 people come flooding towards our direction. (I guess they were there for doorbusters that didn't include creamed corn.)

4:49 - people are now giving up on going to both the grocery side and the back of the line.

4:52 - we hear target team member "Paul" telling security manager Ryan that some people in the back are trying to buy TV tickets off of people near the front of the line. (Another idea for next year!) P and R take off to the back - not sure of the outcome. (But I like to think that the scalper was ejected from the line and told to go to the back by a shirtless R.)

4:54 - we're all excited - we don't even notice that it's cold.

4:56 - we go down the game plan once more - A is going to get bedding, a few games, an electric toothbrush, a portable DVD player, all 7 seasons of Sex and the City (each season was priced at $8.99 versus buying the complete series box set for $130) and ___ (help me out, a), Boyfriend is to get 3 digital picture frames and I'm getting an ipod from the front, and we're to find and help A after we're done. None of us are getting carts until after we've grabbed our stuff.

4:59 - meeting ajurned and employees get out of the way of the door.

5:00 - Doors open!

5:01 - We're in and i'm at guest services (first one!) asking for a blue ipod.

5:02 - A is back in bedding, gets her set (the ONLY one in the size needed!) and heads to toys

5:03 - boy gets 3 frames and is already back at the front getting a cart.

5:04 - A now has her arms loaded and is searching for the qames in question.

5:05 - A finds and steals an empty rogue shopping cart; heads to DVDs.

5:07 - Boyfriend finds A and is helping her grab items.

5:08 - I'm STILL at guest services. From where i'm standing I can see people are still streaming inside in an orderly, yet disgruntled, fashion. What's my hold up? They don't have any warrentie cards at the front. None. And they don't enter information into the computer, they have some fancy card/sticker combo thing that you have to scan at the time of purchase and cannot be done later. (I'm told at the time, which is not true because after I succeed in finally purchasing said items there is big bold print saying that it can be done up to 30 days after initial product purchase.) Ugh. And to make matters worse (well, for the people still in the electronice line) of the 3 people working the registers at guest services, my lady is slow waiting for warenty cards, the register on my right is slow because the product that was told to the line as being behind the counter is not, so that "guest" is about to throw down because he's been outside since midnight and he's not about to miss this deal and then the asian lady to my left decided that she needed to open a red card to save an extra 10%. (Which if you've never encountered one of those, imagine filling out a credit card application, having to confirm said info, wait for it to be entered into the computer and then approved over the payment interweb. It takes about 10 mintues, and then once is went through - which I was suprised about because is't like 5:10 central/standard time the day after a national holiday, who is at the credit card company approving these things that early? - she was only offered a store line of credit (not the target visa) up to a certain amount and from what I overheard said amount was significantly less than what she was wishing to purchase at that point in time.) So, Sorry 100 people who are getting more and more impatient - it's been 15 minutes and there have only been about 4 people to actually check out from the front.

5:15 - I (K) riendivue with the rest of the party and find out what A still needs. Boy is put on cart duty - ie told to stay put and watch the carts and purses. (which he did beautifully, btw)

5:16 - I run to DVD section to find "Marley and Me" and "Up" - they were out of both until an employee came bearing a cart full of back ups and I succeded in finding both. (Only to learn later that there is an end cap full of both at the front registers.)

5:18 - re-meet with team, A and I make one final glance-a-round, deem it successful and the store too crazy to comb through and head for a checkout.

5:19 - pick a lane on the non-grocery side and are about 4 and 5 carts back until a front-end-team leader yells in our direction that there are open and empty lanes on the grocery side; we start the move.

5:21 - A checks out first. There are 3 of us but only two purchases being made; we split up A's stuff into two transactions to "work the system"; She buys trans 1, spends well over the $100 needed to earn free $10 gift card. She uses the "spend $150 get a $15 gift card" and pays. While finishing transaction she slips me both gift cards and I check out for her #2; cashier non-the-wiser. Boyfriend rings up with our transaction, uses "game of things" coupon plus 2 of the 3 gift cards earned from the ipod purchase and we are out of there!

Time: 5:26

Not. Too. Shabby.

Target is now a mad house.

Load items in respective cars and then load people in one car to head to mall. (Mall is a GGP mall which is participating in the "spend $100, get $15" promo, as well as the holiday gift tote.

Scene 4

Get to mall at 5:35, A and I run in while boy takes the wheel to meet us on other side of mall.

5:36 - get to promo table (I asked on Wednesday where they'd be set up) and am told that they will not be ready to hand out totes until 7. (That was also a question I asked on Wednesday ... was told 5:30 but whatev.) Begin to freak out a little. (I really wanted that tote.)

5:37 - A and K (me!) start to run to Dicks (sporting goods store, not house-of-trash) to take part of their door busters (which started at 5!). Items on list - Crocs and Nike Tempos. (But not to be worn together.) ((We're not European.))

5:39 - get to Dicks, find Tempos. Normal price, $28, BF price, $14. Each find some cute shorts. A heads to crocs, K stays by shorts to find more colors. (Successfully find Texas shorts for A!)

5:44 - head to check out

5:52 - out of store, in car. Next stop, Walmart.

6:01 - get to Walmart. Boy lets us out of car, starts to hunt parking spot.

6:02 - Walk in door and see the check out lines. What. The. Hell. If you have a Wally Super Center, picture it in your head; From where we entered the lines curved around to almost the entrance of the garden center. We start to look for our items - but can hardly squeeze thru the throngs of people. (I shouldn't have posted the crainium deal!)

6:07 - walk out of Walmart empty handed. There was no way in HELL that we were going to put ourselves thru that.

6:08 - get in boys car, start to drive back to Target to get in A's car so boy can go home to sleep. (Such a trooper!)

6:15 - back at Target (still crazy but parking lot less-full); head back out

Scene 5 -

Home Depot to get 60 batteries for $5 (Check) and a $100 Shopvac on BF sale for $20. (Not so lucky - they sold out in 10 minutes.)

Drive across the street to Lowes and find shopvac! Wahoo!!!

Head to Mall

Act 3

6:50 - 9:10

Arrive at Mall, Find spot; Get tote bag (so not cute), go thru contents (Martha Stewart Silicone Spatula, MS Recipie cards; offers from select mall stores that include a coupon for free chick fil a sandwich! so it was totally worth it.), start out shopping.

A gets everything on her list and spends the minimum easily. Go stand in line for gift card, which also comes with a year subscription to Martha Stewart Living Mag (this is what I really wanted!) I take some of A's recipts, pair them up with my Dicks (HAHAHHHAHAHAH!) and I too make the cut. Stand in line for long time; A and K can't stand together because there are two lines, each for half the alphabet. (boo!) Some creepy guy behind me has to move lines, ends up next to A. K ends up playing translator to an older hispanic woman (whose daughter told her about everything but who ran off to shop a little bit longer) and one of the promo ladies. We are asked to fill out a card for the magazine and to get out our ids and recpts so the promo people can speed things up and some dumb b*tches infront of A are underage. (But are seriously complaining because they "spent $100, they should qualify!") K laughs at silly girls. A is looking none too thrilled. Promo ladies start passing out tote bags to those who yet have theirs and K puts hers in a shopping bag (as A has had from the start) - K successfully gets 2nd bag, A does not. (Point 1 for K.) We each get the gift cards and then head to Barnes & Noble to finish up shopping. A uses both gift cards (K only wanted a 2nd spatula) and K's BN member # and saves Big Time. (Point 1 for A.)

After leaving BN we Are DONE! Very Successful Black Friday indeed.

Until we get to the car and the doors won't unlock via the clicker. Oh. Shit.

Manually get in - dead battery. A starts to worry, boy doesn't answer phone. K is about to call AAA when Mall Security drives by. Hooray!!! We start waving and yelling to get his attention ... only we're in the car still so it doesn't help much. (Damn it!) K get out of car and takes off after security. (And then rethinks all the thanksgiving treats of the prior day.) Get security attention, ask for a jump.

Get jumped (that sounds dirty; I like it), tip security guy (he was nice and looked like a fatter, more socially awkward "Jackson" from Hannah Montana) and leave mall. 9 am. A OWNED Black Friday.

I'd like to say that this is where the story ended, but it wasn't. On Saturday we had the strength to head back out - two toys r us's, two super targets, two super walmarts and 7 hours later (litterally - we drove one car and stopped playing by 1 am) we collected a bunch of games, a super cute barbie, some stuff that was still on doorbuter sale (the items at wally with stickers that had yet to be purchased), a free soda from target and some Kashi cereal and crackers from target. (Because they were on sale and K had some kick ass coupons.)

Oh, and A bought a $500 Samsung 32' LCD tv at Wally #2 that was still priced at BF sale price for $375. (For those counting, A receieved points 2 - 17 with that one purchase.)

I seriously could not believe that there were so many tv's left - so much product, really - at that Walmart! We had friends who went to that Target (Hi R!!!) and said that there was almost no one there. Next year, I know where we're going.

We hope that you had a great black friday and that you got some great deals and steals! If you have a funny story - fights, cops, or grown people throwing temper fits - let us know!

Get jumped, leave mall, head home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Board Game deals on BF

I'm all about games. Saving money is the best game of all, but there are times when you need to stay in with friends and take shots every time someone has to go down a chute.

That said, I've been scoping out the black Friday ads for the best prices on new games and guess what: I haven't seen other bloggers talk about these deals yet. What the what?!

Walmart will have Cranium marked down to $5 (holy cow!) and guess what - there is a $5 off coupon at (or something like that.) (This is priced around $24 at my Target.)

Walmart will also have the picturika flipper game priced at $15 - there is a $5 off coupon on the same web site.

Target will have the "Game of Things" at $17 and the same coupon site has a coupon that will let you walk out the door with it for $12.

Connect 4X4 (the new, 4 person wonky version) will also be on sale for $12 - if you still have the coupon for $5 off (I spent mine on the travel size game) then you can get it for $7.

I'm so excited about black Friday - you know the new commercials with the two target sisters ... is it bad that the over zealous lady reminds me of both A and myself?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Free Leap Frog Book

Remember those damn alphabet pal's that had us all in a tizzy a few weeks ago? Well go here, create an account and register your product (any leap frog toy) and you'll qualify for a free Leap Frog book!


Oh, and if you need any help about what to do when your child becomes too old with this toy, be like this guy and take out the chip that filters it's giggleing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Come on down!

Alright, so this may be as close to "the price is right" as I'll ever get, but at least I don't have to make a silly t-shirt, fly to California, wait for hours outside and then not get picked.

What am I talking about? Target has a "fun" cg prize-wheel game thing where you spin (click) the wheel and try your luck at winning gift cards.

It's fine if you don't win, because your still entered into a drawing, but the BEST part, in my opinion, is that if you don't win (because that's how it always works, right?) you will get a coupon for a FREE Fountain Soda, valid on Black Friday and that next Saturday. Because when you've camped outside all night, you WILL for SURE need a soda.

AND, I'm just speculating here, as I don't work for Target and can't guarantee anything, but I would assume that there are other prizes mixed in that are better than a soda but not as cool as a super high value gift card.

Here is the link - good luck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Perfect Timing

Sorry it's been slow 'round here, K has been sick and A just re-sent her husband off to Iraq so we've been pretty busy.

So what do you do for nourishment when you don't feel like eating? Smoothies!!!

If you have a Smoothie King location near you (and you should - they're everywhere!) go here and join "The Kingdom" - SK's loyalty club - for email coupons and offers. Then, head over here and fill out this brief survey (14 questions!) by the 12th and you'll be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card (big whoop) BUT you'll also get an email for a *free 20 oz smoothie! (*email will be sent on or after the 12th.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Free bra-fitting = Free Lipgloss

Victoria's "Secret" is that she likes to give her stuff away. Like, all the time. And not just the stuff that she's used and is now bored with and is going to sell in a garage sale for a dollar, or things that she purchased four years ago but forgot about until she found in the back of a drawer a week ago. But like her brand new stuff that she just bought. (I suspect that her husband is very rich.)

If you're not on their email list yet, you should be now. Especially since I'm providing the links to do so. Go here for emails, here for catalogs and other mailings (like discounts and freebies) and here for PinkNation.

Anyways, like I was saying, I constantly get emails about freebies from Vickie and the one I got today was "get a free lip gloss when you receive a bra fitting" ... which are also complementary. So, in other words, free lip gloss for having some chick borderline feel you up? Yes please!

(Offer expires Nov. 15th. So hit a lot of VS's and stock up.)


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cheap Fall Fun

How do you kill time and have fun when you've already done *everything*? I've cleaned out the closet, baked a whole gross of cookies and watched every dvd about 3 times. It's like we're back to being children who are constantly "so bored we could die", only with bank accounts and cars.

While Dallas is still climbing the middle rungs on a list of "great destination" cities, we do have some well-known qualities: world-renowned shopping, wonderful restaurants, longer periods of warmer weather, shopping ... the 6th floor museum, shopping, Chase Crawford, oh! sports teams ... and that's about it.

However, with the weather doing its thing (rain, cold, heat, cold, rain, heat, etc.), Columbus Day hosting the last good sale weekend until Thanksgiving and restaurants being filled due to homecoming groups (HUGE deal here), we're going a little crazy with cabin fever and are racking our brains trying to think of new, different and fun things to do. (We're looking on the non-commitment, one-day-of-fun side; not that we're not opposed to volunteering or getting a part-time job, we're just trying to think of ways to blow off steam from outside the box.)

Enter the Internet and creativity.

~ Got $5? Take a friend and 20 minutes to the (insert favorite place that provides goods in exchange for money) and buy a present that represents said friend or the friendship that you share. Like, I might buy The Boy a baseball and a bag of Hershey Kisses (because he likes baseball, chocolate and makin' out) and he might get me a latte or a Target gift card. This could also work with a group of friends; each person could pull a name out of a hat and then later everyone has to guess which item(s) describes each friend, or even who bought the gift.

~ Host a game night! Tell everyone to come in pjs, pop some corn and bring out the classics (like Twister - remember how hard that was when we were 9? Imagine being drunk, enjoying the fact that its co-ed and laughing that everyone is slightly less flexible) OR make sure that the batteries are charged in your game-station and go rent a multi-player "party" title like Carnival or Mario Cart.

~ Head to a big box store and try (rather play with) everything you can; thinking Walmart (did you know it isn't hyphenated anymore) or Target? Create a fashion show or your perfect outfit in the apparel department - up the challenge by limiting yourself to what is only on the clearance racks. Head to a toy store and play the latest video game, try a bike, jump on a big stuffed animal or take a trip down memory lane by perusing your favorite aisle and thinking about the fun you had of yesteryear, and see how much those toys have changed now. (Take current Barbie - skank alert! But I still love her.) Head to a club wholesale store (Sam's, Costco, BJ's, etc.) on the weekend and not only will you see the latest and greatest new items, you'll also get stuffed on samples galore! (If you're not a member, you can easily get in by saying that you're thinking about getting a membership. Once you're in the door, you're golden. BUT, be careful! Should you decide to purchase that years supply of toilet paper or a full metric ton of cheese-balls you will be charged a non-member fee of up to 20% of your total purchase.)

~ Are you close to a professional or semi-professional sports team? Take a tour of the stadium! (Or field or park or arena. Whatever.) There are usually price breaks for students and if you visit during the teams off-season then you'll for-sure see more (say, a locker room) than you would if the team were due back later that day or week. No pro's nearby? Check out behind-the-scenes-tours of ice skating rinks, zoo's, bottling and distribution plants (soda, beer) or other local attractions, like a franchised McDonald's or Chick-Fil-A, the town/city newspaper or even a television station. (Granted some of these may require a minimum participation number and a few phone calls, but consider it an opportunity to learn about and see something new.)

~ Make a day trip! Pick an amount of time of which you feel comfortable sitting in a car, select a direction and then get a map. 90 minutes South of Dallas = Waco. Check out Baylor, visit the Dr. Pepper museum, get a kolache in West. Fun! Did you choose 2 Hours North? You'll be in an Indian Casino before you know it. Or hell, just get on a street of which you're somewhat familiar and start driving. If you usually drive that way to work, looking at the same path on a slower speed could open your eyes to your new favorite coffee place or after-hours bar. Does your area have a "loop" or stretch of road or highway that circles the city? Pack a cooler, load up some friends and see how long it takes you to go all the way around.

~ Do you like something enough to devote a whole day or weekend to it? Go over to and search by your desired noun - do you not care what you do but are only willing to drive 30 miles from the heart of Chicago? Would you like to hear a speech by a guy whose name starts with the letter "R"? Do you like Irish Jig Music so much your dream is to travel the country and see each states take on such a timeless art? You'll find it ALL and then some by taking a few minutes to plan it out ahead of time. You can even find out which vendors will be there ... well, you know, if they've given word and signed in and junk.

~ Take a cooking class - find out if your local grocery store, community college, PTA, place of worship or even speciality/gourmet food and or kitchen retailer (ie - Williams-Sonoma) sponsor such thing. This can usually be done by a quick web search or even phone call. (If the location you call doesn't do it, they may have information about other places in the area who do.) Usually grocery stores or retail outlets will do so free of charge or at a minimal cost, because cooking is one of those "scary" things for a lot of people and if they can get you confident, then you'll remember them and want to purchase things from them in the future.

~ Do you have a hobby, passion or love? Type it into Google (or yahoo or "ask") with your desired location (city and state) and see what you find. (There is also a website database called which helps you locate others in your area with whom you should be friends. Can't find anyone interested in the same thing? Not a problem - create a group!) Here's a site of Pug fans and owners in the Austin area; a remote controlled airplane club in Colorado; and really just for fun, a group of Pirate Enthusiasts in North Carolina.

~ Do something repeatedly and then blog about it! Like this family over at 52 Zoo's - they joined the Association of Zoo's and Aquariums where they paid a huge amount per person up front but that gave them unlimited access for a full year (from date joined) to any Zoo, Aquarium or Wildlife ... place? ... that also belonged to the AZA. They made the choice to fly and drive to a lot of the far-away renowned institutions - Like the Houston Zoo and all 5 Seaworlds (which, btw, if I was their kid, I'd be asking some serious questions as to how Shamu gets around and always ahead of us) - but if you live somewhere that you can access 8 or 9 places within a reasonable driving distance, like a few zoo's, aquariums and wildlife sanctuaries, then it might be a good investment. I've seen the same type of program for all types of educational and historical things - like Flight Museums or a State's "Society of Historic Homes". Or think smaller - what about visiting every McDonald's in your area and then rating them? Most are franchises and are owned by the same person/group - does the one on "South" street look like the one on "First" avenue? Who has the better play-place or seems to have a slower lunch rush?

What about you? How do you have fun whilst staying on a budget?