Now on to the shopumentary as promised.
Most people look forward to Thanksgiving because they get to spend time with family and eat turkey and watch football...all great things, don't get me wrong. I look forward to Thanksgiving with great anticipation for those reasons also but mainly because the next day is....BLACK FRIDAY!!! My heart just skipped a little typing that, that's how much I love it. A few years back my sisters announced to their inlaws (they have the SAME inlaws but that's for another blog post) that they would never spend another Thanksgiving with them because they loved us more. OK so that's not how it went (between you and me they DO love us more but don't tell their inlaws that...oh hi Holmes family just kidding!!!) but they did announce to them that they would always be spending Thanksgiving in Iowa and would spend Christmas with them in Missouri. Their main motivation for doing this? It was solely because they wanted in on the Black Friday shopping that my godmother Nita and I started doing a few years prior. The tradition has grown from there. Every Thanksgiving after we clear the table of the Thanksgiving feast, we lay out the ads and go thru them with a fine toothed comb, making notes and lists, highlighting, etc. Then Thanksgiving night my sisters and I pack up and drive to town for our annual Shopping Strategy Sleepover @ Nita's house. Once we arrive at Nita's we eat (again), look at the ads some more, make spreadsheets (maybe that's just me) and plan our route. We stay up way too late, get a couple hours of sleep and then are up and ready to leave the house by 3:30 a.m., to shop the day away. The past 3 years I've designed and made shirts for all of us. These serve a couple of purposes: 1) by us all wearing the same color it's easier to find each other in the stores and 2) to make sure the world is aware that they are shopping alongside some retail royalty..the discount divas.
Word has gotten out how awesome the Discount Divas and the Sunrise Shopping Tour is and our numbers have increased. Through an intense application and approval process we added my friend Annette, Heidi's friend Abby, and my mother in law Roxanne to the ranks of Discount Divas this year. My sisters Hilary & Brandy couldn't come this year as Hilary stayed in TN with her family since her daughter Kaydence can't travel and Brandy now lives in Council Bluffs so she did her Sunrise Shopping tour there this year. We were down two divas but gained three. Not sure if the world is ready for 8 divas shopping at one time!!!
Here's a recap of this year's tour:
*Our shirts. We really outdid ourselves this year. I think the hot pink feather boa on the sleeves really took them to the next level, wouldn't you agree?
You can imagine the looks and comments we got from wearing these. Of course there were some eye rolls and murmurs (JEALOUS) but there were WAY more people coming up to us telling us how adorable we were, how much they loved our shirts, or offering to take our picture. Or my personal favorite, the woman who pretty much interrogated Annette while waiting in line at Starbucks (at 6:00 in the morning) about how we became the Discount Divas and how we became sponsored by Starbucks. Geesh she took us a little too serious, I mean really we were wearing PINK FEATHER BOA ON OUR SLEEVES. Sidenote: I may have taken some creative liberty w/ our shirts. We weren't actually sponsored by Starbucks, more like fueled by, minor details.
*We each had a "code name" that was printed on a price tag on the front of our shirt. Here were our names: Pricetag Princess (me), Never Pay Full Price Nita, Retail Roxanne, Absolute Lowest Price Abby, Bargain Blonde (Annette), Markdown Mama (Heidi), and Half Price Hilary (even though she wasn't with us she wore the shirt on Friday in TN). This is a serious operation hence the need for shopping aliases.
*Annette didn't attend the sleepover so she met us in the Target parking lot at exactly 3:45 a.m, and her exact words to me when we showed up right on time to pick her up, "The ONE time you're on time and it's 3:45 in the morning!" Good point my friend, good point. I'm not a morning person...at all....EVER, but something about Black Friday makes me a morning person, for one day only. I'm cheerful, happy, pert near giddy, ready to go and expect everyone else to be just as happy and punctual. I think it frightens the other divas but they've learned to adjust. Except Heidi who didn't really enjoy when I was barking at her like a drill sgt because she overslept and put us approximately 7 minutes behind schedule.....the nerve. Never fear I made up for her tardiness with my awesome driving.
*I was the designated driver for the day, if you can believe that. It's not because of my stellar driving skills but because I had the most room and also because it's good entertainment when I drive. My passengers kept suffering from a little car induced asthma, making a lot of "AHHHHHH" and "OHHHHHHH" type sounds. I don't get it, we got where we needed to go AND didn't hit anybody or anything. I consider it that a success! Sure there were a few honks received and a few dirty looks but that's fairly typical when I'm on the roadways.
*We left Annette's Princess Mobile parked and used it as a drop off location when my truck got too full. Ummm that happened after a mere 3 stores. We are a force to be reckoned with.
*Our 3:59 am photo shoot in line outside of Kohl's waiting for it to open at 4:00 a.m. This was the first stop on the 2009 Sunrise Shopping Tour.
*The Discount Divas have a shopping strategy that involves one person immediately getting a cart and grabbing a spot in line while the rest of the group disperses to shop (quickly) then once they get everything on their list (or spreadsheet if you're me) they come switch places with the line holder so the line holder can shop. And then when the line holder nears the front all 6 of us converge and get ready to check out much to the dismay of those behind us. They're just jealous they didn't think of such a brilliant strategy. In past years we've heard grumblings and such but this year I think the pink feather boa deterred people from making snide comments about our system. Wise choice fellow shoppers, wise choice. This year even the cashiers were on our side and giving us inside information and being extra friendly to us. I'm telling you pink feather boa makes the world go round.
*While at our 2nd stop on the tour, Wal Mart, when it came time to checkout we split up into 2 lanes right next to each other. Heidi and I at one, Annette, Nita, and Abby at the other. Unbeknownst to Heidi and I, we picked the aisle w/ the slowest cashier on the face of the planet AND the most incorrigible, unsatisfied customer w/ the most complicated purchase! YAY US!!! Mr Incorrigible was right in front of us and I'm not kidding you it took approximately 20 minutes for the slowest cashier ever to ring him up, and I believe he had THREE items. Seriously. As you may or may not know, on Black Friday time is of the essence as many stores have limited hours for their specials and doorbusters, and we had NOT budgeted to spend 20 MINUTES WAITING IN LINE AT WAL MART. Heidi and I took the high road and instead of getting fighting mad as some were behind us in line, I started humming a moving rendition of "Jesus, Take the Wheel," you know, my calm me down song. FINALLY, the cashier got the guy all squared away and as he left the 56 people in line behind us CLAPPED. We of course, are much too classy for that, so Heidi did cartwheels instead.
*Did I mention I had a CLIPBOARD this year? I did, I really did. I always have so many lists and spreadsheets going that it's hard to keep track and usually by the end of our shopping tour I've lost them, so this year I put them all on my clipboard. And yes, I carried my clipboard in to every store we went to and as I purchased things from my spreadsheet I marked them with my highlighter. And yes, people gave me some very strange looks. I'm Type A, what can I say? Next year my clipboard will be decoupaged to coordinate with our shirts.
And you think I'm kidding....
*Nita was on the hunt for a 40" flat screen. She attempted, unsuccessfully, to get one at Wal Mart, and had resolved that she probably should've camped out in front of Best Buy in order to get one. While at Target (stop #3) Annette and I were scoping out the men's section when lo and behold, we happened upon a stack of 40" flat screens, just sitting there with no one around, no tickets being handed out to obtain one or crazy people boxing over who got the last one. So we called Nita who said "YES! Get it for me!" and with that we began our trek to the front of the store to meet up with our lineholder. The only cart we had was saving our place in line so Annette and I got to push a GIANT AWKWARD BOX all the way from the back of the store to the front, while trying not to run into anything or anyone. It was quite a sight! Wish I had a picture of that but all of my appendages were being used on the TV. We were kind of Nita's unofficial heroes for the day for snagging it for her.
*I wish I could tell you all the stores we went to but it's really kind of a blur. We took a much needed lunch break at around noon to reenergize. which was good since we hadn't eaten anything in the 9 hours we'd been up and about, and then kept shopping. When I finally took Annette back to her truck at about 5:30 and Heidi's husband met us there so they could head out of town, BOTH Princess Mobiles were filled to the brim. Notice it's now SUNSET. Then I took Nita home and my mother in law KEPT SHOPPING. We took a supper break at about 7:30 but on the way home from the restaurant we stopped at another store and finally left the last store of the day at 9:06 p.m. I'm not good at math but by my calculations, starting at 4am shopping til 9pm-a couple hours total eating time=approximately 15 hours of shopping. That's gotta be some kind of record right?!? It was glorious and I wish every Friday were Black Friday!
*When I finally got home at about 9:30 that night I sat down on the couch....and then couldn't get up, or walk to my bedroom or keep my eyes open. I slept like a baby that night but when I woke up the next morning I had a major shopping hangover, complete with headache, achy throbbing muscles, the works.. When did I get so old? Next year I may have to do a little "training" in preparation for the big day.
All in all the day was a smashing success with a lot of shopping, laughing and most importantly GREAT DEALS!!! Annette, Roxanne, and Abby have all been approved for the 2010 Sunrise to Sunset Shopping Tour and I'm already counting down days and thinking shirt designs. Only 356 more days!!!