Friday, November 25, 2011


Before I had kids I worked in the financial industry. The only holidays we had off were the ones when the NY stock exchange was closed. Since they were open the day after Thanksgiving I always had to work, but I drove by one of the biggest shopping centers in the state every day on my way to work. Every Black Friday, I would notice the usually empty parking lot full when I drove by around 8 AM and think, "Those people are crazy! Who in their right mind would get up on their day off, at the crack of dawn, to go shopping with a million other people?"

Fast forward a few years and I am now one of those people!

The first year I went was shortly after we took Jacob home from the NICU. He was 7 months old and had been home for almost 4 months. He was sleeping through the night, but that night I just couldn't sleep and since everything opened at 4, 5 or 6 AM I decided to go to the Mall to check it out and see what all the hoopla was about. I wandered through the mall and picked up a few things at a few name brand clothing stores, but as soon as I entered Target I immediately backed away and ran for my life. That place was a MADHOUSE! The line snaked through the store and I saw two women almost attack each other over a DVD....A DVD!

Each year that has passed, I venture out a little earlier as the malls seem to open their doors earlier every year. This year, that large shopping plaza that I used to drive by every year was opening at midnight as well as Toys R Us! I thought how perfect! I will go at midnight, get what I want and be home by 2 or 3. Then I can sleep for a few hours before Eli wakes up. Well, I arrived at midnight, but the one store I expected (and heard) was going to be open at midnight never opened its doors. I was disappointed, but I hit up a few children's retailers that were open and one store for myself. I had driven by Toys R Us on the way up there and the line was crazy. People were camped out in lawn chairs with blankets and coffee and two carts each. All I wanted to take home was this:

which was on sale for $99!!! It is an interactive, 3 foot tall pony named Butterscotch. It whinnies, eats a carrot, you can brush her mane, she makes galloping noises when you ride her, etc. Jacob has the boy version, Kota the Triceratops, that I also scored for $99 a few years back and the kids play with it everyday! I knew Grace would love to have her own Pony version.

Once I left the Plaza around 2 am I decided to stop at Toys R Us on my way home. The line had to be gone by now since they opened at midnight. I drove by and the line was still WRAPPED AROUND THE BUILDING. Due to fire codes they were only letting so many people in at a time. Our local mall, which is rather small, also opened at midnight (select stores) and was right next door so I decided to stop there and see if maybe, just maybe, Gap had opened yet. Nope. I drove by Target and to my amazement it was empty! I guess everyone had come at midnight and left already (it was now around 4 AM at this point) so I decided to venture in and have a look around. Nothing spectacular and nothing worth purchasing and it was now almost 4:15. Gap opened at 5. Could I hang on that long? I had now been up for almost 24 hours. I was getting tired. I decided to go catnap in my car and figured instead of sleeping maybe I would drive by Toys R Us just ONE more time. I was sure all the Butterscotch Ponies were gone by now, but if I didn't check I would never know. That is the one thing I wanted to go home with.

To my surprise, Toys R Us had cleared out. I entered the store and approached the first person I saw who just so happened to be a manager. I asked her if there were any Butterscotches left where would I find them? She informed me that they were a ticket item and tickets were handed out to the first however many people in line that wanted them. They were long gone. I thanked her and was about to walk away when she stopped me. She explained that she had informed all ticket holders that if they hadn't turned in their tickets to pick up their items by 5 am they were being re-released to the public. Could I be so lucky?! She said if I wanted to hang around until 5 she would check with people already waiting in line and if there was one left out back it was all mine! Just as she was telling me this another employee walked by and heard her. She told us that someone had actually changed their mind and turned in their ticket for Butterscotch at Customer Service. Now I was getting giddy! She told me to hang tight and in 45 minutes to check back in. I sat myself in the corner of the store and didn't move for 45 minutes. One of the security guards commented that I was the calmest and most patient Black Friday shopper he had ever seen. I told him I would wait two more hours if it meant that I could get Butterscotch. I also explained that at this point I was way too exhausted to be anything more.

At 5:01 am (I went easy on them) I approached the girl who was supposed to help me. She paged the manager who went to check the stock room and everyone left in checkout line (which was STILL snaking through the store). Fifteen minutes later she emerged and shook her head yes. IT WAS MINE! I asked her where to go and the security guard who had commented on my patience let me skip the line and go right to the next available register. He said I had waited long enough.

As I drove home the sun came up. I couldn't believe I had been out that long and Eli would be up in an hour. I was so tired and ready for a nap, but I drove Butterscotch home, quickly assembled her head onto her body and waited for Grace to wake up. It was worth it when I saw the look on her face!

I am happy to report that Butterscotch has been a huge hit. I am happy I got the one thing I was hoping to get or I would've been seriously disappointed. Especially since I was out 7 hours and Gap was a huge letdown. I only bought one thing there!

I can't wait for next year! Maybe someday when Grace is older and likes to shop we can make it a mother/daughter tradition.

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