|This year was possibly the best Black Friday yet. I got some good deals without getting up crazy early and waiting out in the cold. Actually last year was perhaps even better because we had a newborn baby so I got to stay home and sleep in while my wife went out.
On Thanksgiving day we drove on the freeway past the Best Buy at Great Lakes Crossing at 2:30pm and there were already a couple of tents out front! On the way back around 8pm there were more tents and the line was already around looped around the corner of the building! This is Michigan, remember. There was snow on the ground and temperatures were at the freezing point. I wanted to go over there with a bullhorn and say something like "You are all DIPSHITS!"
On Friday, I had a vet appointment at 8:30 so I got up at 6:00 in order to stop by Office Max when they opened at 7:00 (rather late by other stores' Black Friday standards). I got there at 6:50 and had to wait out in the cold for 10 minutes. The line was only about 30 people long by that point. I got a what I came for, a new shredder for my mom. Even though I have one, I picked up a new one for myself. $29 for a 10-sheet shredder that can do credit cards. I also picked up 100 DVDs for $15. I wasn't intending to but I also grabbed a Mio C220 GPS navigation unit for $99. Perhaps the best thing about the Office Max deals was that they were instant rebates so I don't have to send in rebate forms later.
I still had time before the 8:30 appointment so I stopped at Walgreens looking for the photo keychains ($10) but they were all gone already. After that I headed to Aco Hardware but it was 10 minutes before 8:00 and they weren't open yet. So I went next door into the Radio Shack and asked the friendly salesgirl if they had any deals left. She enthusiastically said yeah, they had a Navigon 2100 GPS unit for $149 and a TomTom One 3rd edition for $139. They only had two Navigons but only one went. Probably because Staples had them for $99. Still for a Navteq-based GPS with text-to-speech and lifetime traffic, it was a great deal so I grabbed it. So now I have to figure out what to do with the Mio. Maybe return it, give it to somebody for Christmas or sell it on Ebay.
By that time Aco was open and I went next door to get an $88 patio umbrella. It's the offset kind that you can set to the side of your patio table. It was normally priced at $160. Also a good deal. From there I headed over to the veterinary hospital to drop Alpha off for a teeth cleaning. On the way back from there, I stopped by Office Depot to see what leftovers there might be.
Office Depot had 500GB external hard drives for $99 but I have enough space for now and I'm planning to get a new computer soon so I held off. They had a pile of Brother PT-1010 handheld labelers left for $10 ($40 at Amazon) which I didn't really "need" but I picked one up anyway. We can use it to label our file folders, the baby's bottles, etc. I also got a $5 optical laptop mouse, photo paper and free (after rebate) Hallmark Scrapbook Studio Deluxe 3.0. Just for the heck of it, I asked them if they still had any $349 Compaq desktop computers and they did! So I picked up a Compaq SR5214X with Vista Basic, dual-core 1.6GHz Pentium, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, and DVD RW, PLUS a 19" LCD screen. Now before you laugh and tell me that this PC doesn't have enough power to do anything, let me tell you, this will replace my mom's exactly 10-year-old Dell with 2GB hard drive running Windows 95. So it has far more power than she needs. I may need to buy MS Office for it although maybe MS Works will be sufficient. In any case, it's a great deal.
After returning home we went out again. Staples was on the way so I stopped just in case they had the Navigon for $99. Of course they didn't. In fact just about everything in the sale was wiped out. I picked up some CD cases ($3 for 25) and then we stopped by Target and got some digital photo ornaments. Later on, on the way back from the vet, I stopped by Lowe's and picked up some Friday tool deals for gifts (and for myself).
Once again, I saved so much money, I'll be paying it off until Good Friday. ;-) At least the task of sending out the rebates was much reduced this year (though I still ended up with 6 to send out from the Office Depot stop).