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Dispatches from 'Black ThurFriday'

Now that Black Friday 2012 is past us, this blogger has a few observations from the experience.

It was early on a balmy, sunny Thursday Thanksgiving morning. This past Thanksgiving was like so many before it.  I usually work well ahead of the early afternoon meal coordinating several dishes alongside the bird. I enjoy the experience whenever I get the opportunity. This year, there was more to Thanksgiving than just the meal. After gobbling up everything by 4 p.m. My teen daughter and I rested for several hours before heading out for “Black ThurFriday.” It’s well-known by now that Black Friday has crept into Thanksgiving night. The Targets and Walmarts opened up in the 8 and 9 o’clock hours while other retailers like Macy’s opened up at midnight.

Cami joined Caitlin and me for the midnight extravaganza at Macy’s. When we pulled up to the suburban mall, we noticed a crowd in front of the store’s entrance -- similar to crowds that typically gather for general admission concerts. We waited in the car for a few minutes before we heard cheers of joy. C’mon, really folks? You’re screaming for joy over Macy’s opening up at midnight? You’ve got to be kidding. What’s in the water in Alpharetta, Georgia that gets people excited about shopping for things that they don’t need – at midnight? It doesn’t take much to get these suburbanites excited. I’ll drink what they’re drinking. This is just a store opening up at an incredibly ridiculous hour to get you to buy the stuff that retailers are attempting to unload. Without knowing where we were, one would think Prince Harry showed up to “wow the crowd.”

After hearing the screams for this “shopping nirvana,” we joined the excited crowd. Within minutes, the understaffed Macy’s crew unlatched the doors and the crowd rushed in for the bargains.  Caitlin had a plan to make a beeline to Forever 21 in the mall to get some free gift cards worth about $10-big money for budget-minded me and any teen. After Forever 21, there were some much-needed items she wished to purchase at H & M.  There was no luck in that plan after Caitlin was not one of the first 100 people at Forever 21 to receive the gift card.  Next, she had a list for H & M. Caitlin stayed within the budget, got what she needed and made another beeline back to Macy’s to make the exit. Well, it wasn’t a quick exit. Cami and I had to check out the very-understaffed jewelry counter. We determined that the department store was not exactly “giving away the store.” We both opted out of getting those nice earrings for her and that beautiful watch for me.

"Black ThurFriday" continued well into Friday when I took Caitlin and her friend to an outlet mall where all participants stayed within their budgets. I treated everyone to lunch and then it was back to the local outdoor shopping mall where gift cards were purchased. I couldn’t resist going into my favorite store, Banana Republic. I only wish I could have bought the entire store, but kept myself to just buying some socks.

The choice to not purchase much was wise as I soon learned that I needed to make a huge repair to my ailing furnace. A new circuit board is not nearly as exciting as purchasing a new iPad or blazer, but at least we will stay somewhat warm for a while.

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