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2005/11/25 21:10 EDT
Shopping Lunacy
Today is so-called Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving. The term "black Friday" apparently is because retailers traditionally made their way out of the red and into black (profit) on this day. Seems like kind of a problem if you can't make money for the first 10 1/2 months of the year, though.

Anyway, yes, we were one of the crazy ones. Got up at 4am to try to stop at Circuit City and nab a 19" Sony flat screen monitor for $250. We got there at 5:05, 5 minutes after they opened but it was already a madhouse inside. Needless to say, the monitors were gone. In fact the line for the registers was already to the back of the store. I think they must have opened up earlier than 5am. There wasn't anything else we wanted bad enough to look for and wait in line so we left.

From there, we headed to another shopping area 15 miles away. Around 6am there was already a line started outside ABC Warehouse, a local appliance/electronics retailer and they weren't due open for another two hours. Two hours in below-freezing temps. Yeow. We went into the CVS next door -- where there was no line -- to grab a snowman yard decoration that was a pretty good deal. Then we went up the road to Dunham's Sporting Goods to look at some guns that were on sale. We'd been thinking of getting into shooting clays for sport but since I don't have any friends that are into it, I never knew what kind of gun to buy. But, I finally said, screw it, we need to get a gun and start from there. We can always trade it in later if need be. Anyway, I got a Remington 870 Express Super Mag 12 gauge. It was my first gun purchase and didn't realize that there was a background check. I had to wait around until 7am so they could call the ATF and confirm that I was clear. The guy ahead of me looked like he was also new to buying guns, at least in this country. He was young, probably 25 or younger and as the store clerk was helping him fill out the form, I overheard him telling his place of birth which was Baghdad, Iraq which kind of surprised me. I guess legal aliens can buy guns too... We grabbed some more clothing items while we were waiting and left Dunham's around 7:30.

As we headed down the road, we noticed an Office Max and decided to stop even though we didn't have a sale for it. The staff was ready for a big crowd but the store wasn't much more crowded than a normal day. I don't know if their sale didn't get distributed or what but it was lucky for us. I got the last DVD Recorder which was $69 after rebate and several items which were free or almost free after rebate.

From there we stopped at Staples just down the road. They were crowded but still had some good deals. They had 1GB SD/Compact Flash cards for $15 but unfortunately we use memory sticks exclusively now so we didn't get any. However, we got a 19" Samsung 914v LCD monitor for $199 which seemed like a great deal. They didn't have one on display but I figured I could return later if it's crap. Also picked up a 200GB Maxtor hard disk drive for $29. Awesome deal. Plus we got various free or very cheap items such as blank DVDs, a laminator, surge protector, universal remote control, etc.

One might think it might be time to head home but no, our day wasn't even half done yet. After Staples, we headed back up to ABC Warehouse to see if the crowds had died down. It wasn't too bad and we ran into get a $10 pizza stone bakeware. We already had one but we needed another. Then we stopped at a nearby Walgreen's to pick up some small sale items. By that time it was about 10am and we stopped at a nearby McDonalds for breakfast. There was a TV inside and they had CNBC on showing crazy shoppers getting injured at a Walmart in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Speaking of crazy shoppers, after breakfast we headed out to the nearby mall.

Needless to say the parking lot was packed. After finding a spot, we started at JC Penneys. Picked up a piece of luggage that we hadn't been shopping for plus a couple other items. We headed back to the car and drove around to the other side and checked out both Lord and Taylor and Sears. I was looking for a sport coat but nothing caught my eye. We killed several hours in the mall but didn't end up getting anything else.

But was our day done yet? No way, baby. Headed back in the general direction of home, we stopped at Target where we picked up several items, many of them for charity. (We had committed to getting gifts for two underprivileged kids from the office gift tree.) By the time we left Target it was 3:30 and we were ready for lunch. We went to try a new Japanese place called Samurai. From the name, we were pretty sure it wouldn't be real Japanese but we wanted to try it. Doh! They wouldn't open for dinner until 4:30. We were hungry but we decided to kill an hour at Costco.

Finally it was time and we headed over to Samurai. As we suspected this was the kind of place you won't see Japanese people eating in. The staff were Chinese and the decor was faux Japanese. Food was "ok" especially if you didn't expect "real" Japanese cuisine. But it's unlikely we'll go back.

By that time we were pretty much beat and it was time to call it a day.

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