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Friday, November 27, 2009

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.

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