By KATIE DOUGLAS
(ST. LOUIS, digitalBURG) – The clock is ticking over my head and the heater is humming steadily outside of my room. I can hear the muffled sounds of my sister’s TV upstairs and every once in a while I catch a commercial about a Black Friday sale.
This isn’t working, I can’t sleep. I run the ads from the stores I plan to visit through my head – Bass Pro Shops, J.C. Penney, Old Navy, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Gordmans – and the list goes on.
Just as my mind is about to succumb to sleep, my brother, Andrew, 18, decides to text me.
“There is a bunch of spots open to park at the mall, you should come up,” he said.
I look at my clock, 3:30 a.m. There is no way I am getting up now. My alarm is set for 4:30 a.m., and I plan to stick to it.
Black Friday has been a tradition with me and my mother and sister for the last 12 years. In the past, we would wake up Friday morning and grab the ads that were just released. We would then head to the nearest McDonald’s to dig through them and decide on our plan of attack.
Now Black Friday ads are released weeks in advance and stores are opening earlier and earlier. This year, we decided we would stick to tradition…bad idea.
Realizing that sleep is not going to happen for me, I decide to get ready and eat breakfast. I was not the only one who couldn’t sleep. My mother and sister were both sitting upstairs and ready to go.
My sister, Kelly, 13, ready to embark on her second year of Black Friday shopping, can’t take her eyes off a pair of $25 boots in the J.C. Penney ad that we both decided were must-have items.
“These boots are the only reason I am getting up this early,” Kelly said. “Otherwise this would be pointless.”
As we sit around and discuss the plans, my phone alarm goes off, 4:30 a.m. – that went by fast. We gather our ads and head for the car. I can see my breath and I am glad I decided on the extra coat.
As we arrive at Bass Pro Shops, the parking lot is a nightmare and there are people already coming out with merchandise in tow.
“It just opened 10 minutes ago,” my mother, Tracy, said. “Hopefully we can at least find a place to park.”
Despite the hundreds of people who are literally running through the store and the checkout line that extends all the way to the back, we are in and out in 45 minutes. This is a personal record.
Back in the car and on the way to the mall, I get another text from Andrew.
“I am never going Black Friday shopping ever again,” Andrew said. “I was seriously one of the first people in line at J.C. Penney and they were out of everything that I wanted. How is that freaking possible?”
This, of course, didn’t sit well with Kelly and I, considering that the boots at J.C. Penney were our big-ticket items.
When we arrive at J.C. Penney, it appears we should have gone there first. It looks like a bomb had gone off in the shoe section. There are shoes sprawled all over the place and people ducking under one another to get to what they want.
There are barely any boots left – at least none of the ones we were hoping for. I turn to my sister in a look of defeat.
“This was pointless,” Kelly said and walks away to find our mother.
The rest of the day seemed to follow in the same pattern. Every store in the mall after that was either picked over or out of stock. We unanimously accept that this was not our year for Black Friday shopping and head home.
Despite the fact that we didn’t get exactly what we wanted, the day was not a lost cause. We had a lot of fun fighting through the crowds and watching people who were dressed in homemade Black Friday T-shirts cheer as they found that perfect item they had been searching for.
So what does this mean for next year? Now that Black Friday isn’t actually on Friday, to get the deals a shopper must either order online or go out Thanksgiving night. Websites like blackfridayads.com will help you search ads in advance to come up with the best plan of action.