I'm almost on my way back to bed. I realize it's only 1:13 in the afternoon as I write this, but I've been up for nearly 12 hours now and I'm beat dog tired. You see, I'm one of those women you read about in the paper: I'm the woman that gets up to get to the stores in the middle of the night on Black Friday.
When this tradition began I am not sure. I think a few years back Skippy thought it would be good fun to go to the mall at 5 AM. So with Peaches and niece, we'll call her Twinkle, in tow, we hit the mall at 5 am. We wandered around, the girls tried on some shirts at Justice, and Skippy got to roam the mall alone for the first time. As we were wandering about, the girls and I landed upon Windsor a store in the mall known for selling prom style dresses all year long. They tried these dresses on...at 5:30 in the morning. I snapped a few pictures with my phone.
And thus a tradition is born.
But in the years since, the tradition has grown out of control. Personally, I blame the stores. Why, oh why, do they keep opening earlier and earlier? Dont' they know that just means I have to get up EARLIER?
Getting up at 4 to be at the mall at 5 is one thing. But this year we hit a new high...or low. Kohl's opened at 3 AM. Guess who was there, WITH EYELINER ON?
Yep, yours truly!
We planned this trip to the minute. 2:50 AM, hit the gas station to get some donuts and a beverage. 3, Kohl's. 4, Target, 5, Walmart because, though Walmart never closed on Thanksgiving, the real fun started there at 5. (Not really, the real fun started at Midnight and if you thought the fun at Walmart started at 5, you were five hours late.) Then, after Walmart, off to the mall.
Now, in years past, we've been able to navigate through the shark infested waters of "while they last" quantities and women all filled up with stuffing and disapproval from the day before without too much time spent in lines.
However, when the greatest place to shop in the world, Kohl's, opens at three...well, no one misses that opening. Old Navy can open at midnight...Walmart can let people wander around for five hours, but the official kick off the Black Friday is KOHL'S. And all of Waukesha, I believe, was at the same Kohl's this morning.
I wasn't too distressed that, though we entered the doors at 3:05, there were no carts. It didn't bother me that the store was BAKING HOT to counter balance the Arctic winds outside, making the fact that there were no carts for people to stow their parkas a little annoying. I wound my way in and out of the crowd, making sure I got the best price on a gift for my husband (I did) and finding the perfect gift for Peaches (got it) and some new pillows for the kids (can't beat $5 pillows). Bonus, I ran into a friend of mine...I forget what we call her, so we'll call her Charlotte, because Charlotte is the name I always used in my party lite days when I couldn't remember some one's name. Charlotte and I had a great chat while our young were out foraging for deals on tops and bangle bracelets.
Once Twinkle and Peaches texted me they were ready to get in line (and honestly, what did we do before texting?) we got in line....at the back of the store! For this I was NOT prepared!
A short (!) 20 minute wait gave me enough pause to dump the top I was about to buy (It would have looked like a sack on me. I need to drop 15 more pounds and I can go down a size in tops.) I was not the only person reconsidering purchases. The wait line was strewn with items, though picked up in the heat of shopping, were discarded in the cold realization that at some point the credit card bill was coming and no amount of Kohl's cash was going to ease that pain.
Back to the car...in the blustery winds, and on to Target. We were 50 minutes behind schedule. No matter, this was FUN!
We got to Target...and I wondered why so many people were standing in line to check out in electronics at the back of the store. After about ten minutes of fighting my way to the back of the store, this time with a cart full of coats, I realized that this wasn't a line for electronics. This WAS THE LINE. And the line ran all the way from the front door, around the store, to the bank of cash registers. This is a new Target and who ever designed it never expected so many people to come out at the same time for discounted copies of "Toy Story 3."
I texted the girls that we were abandoning Target. After all, our next stop was Walmart. There's nothing at Target that I can't get at Walmart, plus this is a new super walmart (Do you hear that sound? That angels singing!) so there would be enough cash registers to check out several waves of shoppers.
I gave Charlotte, who had caught up to us at Target, my cart. She was smart, her girls were standing in the line already as she was shopping.
Off to Walmart...but first, breakfast! The donuts well worn off already, we stopped at Mc D's for a spot of grease and a touch of salt and fat. I asked the nice lady there to rid my front seat of rubbish. She informed me that she was "NOT ALLOWED" to take rubbish from cars. Geez, it was just a coffee cup, and by the way, if you're not allowed to take rubbish, how about putting a garbage can someplace in the parking lot?
On to Walmart. Yes, Super Walmart. Super parking lot super full. No worries. We parked out by "the small tree." (A new parking lot...there were only roughly 50 small trees...they were all SMALL TREES!) Again, the crowd was at electronics, but this time things were better managed. Something to that not closing...ever. No glut of customers 40 minutes at opening. I took a look at a gift for Skippy. Not the right model, not the right price. Girls went through self check. We were out of Walmart and back on schedule.
Until we tried to find the car. Did I mention it's COLD OUT THERE? (well, not maxi pad freezing cold, but still, cold.) Turns out...I'd forgotten exactly which small tree. Five minutes in a frozen tundra of a parking lot, in the dark...yeah, I won't be reliving those five minutes any time soon!
Now, ON TO THE MALL!
The gods of parking lots smiled on us. Brookfield Square is one of those silly malls that, in recent years, has added quite a few stores around itself, using up parking spaces in the process. Not a big deal...except on Black Friday. But, like I said, the gods of the parking lot smiled on us, and we found a spot a short Laura Ingalls style hike from the doors.
This is when Twinkle and Peaches mention that lugging a coat into the mall is a drag. So we all decide we're brilliant and we are NOT going to wear coats into the mall. This is not uncommon here in the Northern lands. We are happy to withstand a few moments of shocking cold so that we do not drop dead from heat exhaustion indoors.
But it's really, really, REALLY COLD and the girls start to jog to the door. I join in the jog. What follows is something that's one part foot race, one part farce because, as I have said many times, "Homey don't run."
There' s a reason for that. I have weak ankles and tender heels.
So...that 150 yard dash I did essentially crippled me. My ankles hurt, my heels are throbbing and I'd kick myself for running at my age and current state of fitness, but that particular motion would render me incapable of actually walking.
Once inside the mall, we spread out a bit, agreeing to meet later. Which I was happy to do. Until I get a text from Peaches informing me that she's found a brilliant pair of heels and wants my opinion.
I don't have to look. My opinion is that she has a closest full of brilliant heels she doesn't wear. She's tall, she's slim, she has ridiculously long legs and high heels only serve to make the other girls jealous. But I digress.
She didn't get the heels but after several hours now of shopping, we all decide we are thirsty and a quick trip to the food court is in order. By this point it's almost 7:30 and we haven't tried on any formal dresses yet, so, beverages in hand, we head to Windsor. That's the highlight of my shopping with these two, because I take pictures and then send them to their fathers...who immediately have strokes at the site of their young teen daughters in formal wear looking about 22.
|Peaches and Twinkle in some really pretty, and very grown up dresses! Not bad for 7:30, after being up for 5 hours!|
From Windsor we hit Bath and Body works and here's where I did my damage. To my credit, I did NOT purchase the $120 gift bag for $20 with every $40 purchase. I could have purchased three. But I didn't. What can I say? I love their soap! (And if you're on my gift list, well, expect some!)
Heading for home and what I thought would be a short nap, I get a call from my mother who informs me that she now has my grandmother's jewelry and since I have both the girls she wants me to come up and take a look. Well, since her house and Twinkle's mother's office are close, I figure, why not?
As long as I'm home by 2 to wake up Skippy who has to finish raking the the yard, a job he started at 2 AM, but promised to finish before he went to work. He hit the mall only and did not shop with us today. So I have to wake him at 2.
I then get a phone call from Hubby. Can I pick him up something for lunch? Well, since his work and my mother's house are close to Twinkle's mother's office, I figure why not? As long as I 'm home by two.
We sort through the jewelry, I drop a very tired Twinkle with her mother and then...we decide to stop at Mayfair Mall to pick up a Five Guys burger for hubby.
Those of you familiar with Mayfair mall know that it's a zoo in the best of times, again because they built a ton of stores in all the pointless parking and driving space. All of Milwaukee, most of Wauwatosa, and a good portion of Northern Illinois is in this parking lot.
It takes us 14 minutes for me to get close enough to drop Peaches off to get the burger. It takes me another 14 minutes to drive around and get back to Five guys. Peaches, burger in hand, leaps into the car and we fly....okay, it takes us roughly another 10 minutes to get out of the parking lot. But Hubby got his burger. I'm home in time to write this and wake Skippy.
It's 2 pm, I've got 15,065 steps on my counter. Dee is proud of me. (I texted her at 7 AM when I hit 8500) Charlotte has been napping for a few hours.
Was it a successful day? You bet. Am I beat tired? Yepper. Did I spend too much? Probably.
Will I do it again next year?