There's so many negative statements all over social media in regards to "Black Friday". It's contributing to greed, hoarding, and over-consumption; it's cutting in to Thanksgiving and the importance of family time; it brings out the ugliest of human nature; and it's forcing employees to be up all night working away in the stores selling "slashed-price" products (and don't even get started on the people killed in year's past from a deal-hungry stampede). But, for our family, it's a tradition - and as such, one of the most cherished days of the year. It's not that I don't recognize some of the arguments listed above, but everyone bashing on partaking in the event's festivities, I want to just say, "Do you not know that it is on this special evening that my mom, my sister, and I laugh more in 18 hours than we probably do all year?" -(For sure that's true if you count the time laughing in the same company.) For our family, it is a WHOLE LOT OF FUN!! =)
First, I'll address the guys' Black Thursday/Friday choice of activity - The Woodburn Company Stores. This year, (as in years past), John and Brayden joined Travis and Kristen & Brian (Travis' sister and bro-in-law) to drive up together and cruise the 9pm opening outdoor outlets. Word is, they had a lot of fun, scored some great deals, and enjoyed each others' company immensely. In fact, at one point, while eating at Jack in the Box, John and Brian were laughing so hard Brayden said, "If I didn't know better, I'd totally guess that you two were drunk". =) Nope....just happy! Following their adventures, John and Brayden headed to the Schillings where we'd all end up for the rest of the weekend.
Now on to the girls' adventures-
I was left with a bit of a quandary. Many of the most significant deals I was looking at occurred at Walmart beginning at 8pm. Having dealt with their unique "already open" scenario, I kind of knew what to expect, that I'd be stationing myself in front of the pallets of merchandise that would be opened at 8pm. As Michele would be driving down from Dallas, her arrival time wouldn't be until about 8:30. This was a bit of a problem as Michele would also bringing Nati and Ellie with her, the cousins Mikayla would be hanging out with through the night while we were out shopping. Hmmm, what to do with Mikayla in the meantime so she wouldn't be hanging out alone while I saved our place at Walmart? Well, per her enthusiastic request, she came along. There'd been discussion in the past of her wanting to be a part of Black Friday, but her lack of perseverance in staying up along with the "adult only conversation/humor" that Mom, Michele and I share were all major deterrents. So, this was the perfect compromise. One store, special time between just her and I - ideal. And, yes, for the record, we did dress alike on purpose....why not!?! =)
A little after 8:00pm, Mom joined us - and then Michele - and after getting through the check-out line, we dropped off Mikayla with her cousins and headed to Target for their 9pm opening. Even though we arrived about 20 minutes after opening, they were still filtering the line through single file (I really admire the way Target handles the crowd and is so organized), so it was worth it for us to file in at the end instead of waiting for it to completely dissipate like others in the parking lot were doing.
It was at Target that we experienced one of our only "ugly happenings" of the event. We were filtering through the store long check-out line (which always moves surprisingly swiftly at Target and maneuvers you through the aisles where you can conveniently stock up on needed necessities....there's no marketing ploy there, I'm sure!). We were positioned behind a woman that was trying to handle a large tv in her cart so she appreciated our help as we moved along. At one point, as we rounded a corner, us girls were lolly-gagging and a rude gentleman decided he'd use that opportunity to cut in front of us with his couple of items he was holding without a cart. I saw it happen, but was in no mood to be confrontational, so I merely passive-aggessively commented on it loudly to Michele and Mom. Well, the woman in front of us WAS in the mood to be confrontational - and she nailed him and when she discovered his presence behind her (on her own, she didn't hear me). She made it clear that he had cut and that we were in front of him, and even grabbed our carts to move us in front of him. She accused him of lying when he said he'd been there all along and he of course denied any deceit. (What a jerk!). It was one of those scenarios where you just felt so awkward, and tried to do anything to avoid eye contact. Eventually, he positioned himself behind us and ended up calling the woman some very unkind names when he got on his cell phone with a buddy. Of course, those names became fodder for some laughable moments later in the evening between us three girls, but at the time it was mighty uncomfortable.
After Walmart and Target, we waited a very long time for coffee at Dutch Brothers and then placated Michele with a stop at Shopko. Traditionally, this store is the antithesis of Target (as Michele said, "Where Target's line moves like a freeway, Shopko's moves like a back-country dirt road") - we waited over an hour in the car for Michele to purchase about $20 worth of merchandise. While we verbally gave Michele heck for her making us wait, I will say the conversation with Mom in the car was extra enjoyable...definitely not anything I can repeat, though!
From Shopko, we ventured back over to Kohls' midnight opening and made our way through there with surprising efficiency and success. After Kohls we went to the Valley River Mall where they were having their Midnight Madness event. This picture was taken after purchases at Macy's - when we wandered in to the Calendar store (at this point, all urgency was gone). Michele tried unsuccessfully several times to take our picture with her arm extended. Eventually, an employee took pity on us and took the picture (I'm sure in an attempt to get the crazy ladies out of his store that much quicker). We were so "punch drunk" at this point, everything was making us laugh - A LOT! (Which doesn't look like the case with mom's expression - ignore that, she was having a blast!)
We cruised through the mall, made a few more stops, and then ended up in the food court eating Arby's and Panda Express at 3:30 in the morning. Oh, how our digestive tracts are hating us this weekend! The punch-drunk euphoria was ebbing into zombiness, so Mom and I didn't argue when Michele suggested we return to Walmart to let her shop for a while and us nap in the car until the 5am opening of Bi-Mart. Even the napping was laugh-worthy between Mom and I, trying to find comfortable positions to sleep and not even having the clarity of mind to determine the most obvious solution to the problem.
By the time we got to Bi-Mart, we were done in. I couldn't even park the car I was laughing so hard at my ineptness. We were wandering aimlessly through the candy aisles trying to select stocking stuffers and decided it was time for a real nap in a real bed.
Ten minutes later, we were opening the door to my house, only to be greeted at 6am by three very exuberant girls. They had stayed up all night! (To their credit, Mikayla had texted asking if they had a certain bedtime and we had said, "no"). They were SO EXCITED, having felt like they'd crossed off a "Bucket List" goal. I guess that throws my reason for not taking her out on Black Friday out the window.
This was the scene in the living room as we went to the bedroom to get some much-needed shut-eye, girls still going strong:
And, this was the scene when we woke up 3 hours later. Poor Mikayla appeared to be the last hold-out, literally falling asleep with her hand on the computer. (Also for the record, they did a lot of playing off the computers through the night - Barbies, Wii, etc....) I moved her to a more comfortable location and she was so disoriented - staying up all night WRECKS your mind and body!
Mom had napped at my house, but because of a lack of communication about when we planned on waking up, took off about an hour before us to go to the 9am opening of Costco. We ended up meeting up with her there - and then she went on her own way home. It was necessary for her to get some real sleep as she had the "Festival of Trees Gala" to look presentable for later Friday night.
While we were at Costco, we ran into Kari and Kristi - high school buddies of ours and fellow twins. As Michele captioned on Facebook, we couldn't help but take the "Double Stuff Oreo twin pic" with them.
Michele and I then shopped hard at Michael's, Starbucks (got a not-so-great deal on Salted Caramel Mochas (new favorite!) and coffee cake), Ben Franklin, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Old Navy, J.C. Penney, and finally JoAnn Fabrics. We didn't return home until about 3pm - where we found all of the girls still asleep. (Later on, in the car on the way to Michele's Mikayla proclaimed "Mommy, I never saw the sun today" - and then they all chimed in saying they are now nocturnal). We unloaded, cleaned up the house, and packed to return in Michele's car with Sydney to join the rest of our family for the weekend.
I was "shot" by the time we arrived - and headed to bed around 8pm. There's just no use trying to do anything at that point but sleep. And what do you know, but by 6am this morning, I felt like a brand new person again. Ready to take on Saturday's event....The Civil War....