Did you know that Americans go crazy over Black Friday?
I mean crazy.
I don’t like to lump myself into the “American” category (not because I don’t like Americans, I love American! I just like to think that I’m unique and Canadian), but on Black Friday (or more accurately Black Thursday), I went crazy.
There is an art to Black Friday shopping. There is strategy, direction, shoving (jk) and most importantly planning.
You must have a plan!!!
Otherwise, you will be aimlessly wandering around, going to the wrong stores at the wrong times, and pondering whether this is even worth it.
Is it worth it?
For me, yes.
Here’s the full story:
On Thursday morning I saw on my Facebook page that the Instant Pot was on sale at Walmart. If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is, click right here. There was an option to buy it online. So I set out to convince Husband that I should get an Instant Pot. He thought that this was just another kitchen gadget, and had his doubts about whether I would use it. Which is fair, because I have a lot of kitchen gadgets.
I set out to convince him otherwise. I knew that my friend at Thanksgiving had an electric pressure cooker, so I thought I would talk to her while we were eating and then use it as ammo to convince Husband that we needed it.
She was extremely helpful and convinced both Derek and me that this was a good investment. Basically what won us over was the fact that you could cook frozen meat in it without thawing it out. Someone (ahem, me) forgets to take the chicken out of the freezer the night before approximately 90% of the time, so this was a huge bonus!
But by the time I convinced Husband that this was a good idea, they were out of stock on the Walmart website. Shoot. I was going to have to get it from the store.
I’ve never truly gone for the doorbusters since I’ve only had a couple years of experience Black Friday shopping. I’ve been more relaxed, but because of the stinkin Instant Pot, I decided to be all in this year.
So our friends, that had so kindly invited us to Thanksgiving, were going shopping so I went along with them. We hit a couple stores, didn’t find anything too exciting, and then we went to scope out Walmart. Walmart, the store with the magic Instant Pot that NEEDED TO BE MINE.
Walmart has a unique way of doing Black Friday. They are open normal hours, but they have all the doorbusters on display in the middle of the aisles with a plastic sheet over it. Then, to make sure that no one rips open the sheet they have Walmart staff standing guard over the product. It’s like a full operation. The real deal.
We get to Walmart and scope the place out. We find the magic Instant Pot, and see where we need to head next, I plan a mental route in my head and then… we wait. I started to see people lining up by the Instant Pots. Nu uh. I am getting the Instant Pot, it’s not optional. So I get in line behind these people and I’m the second person. Oh man. It’s going to happen.
But here’s the deal. When you have the product in the middle of the main aisles, you kind of have to line up in the aisles next to it, so that your not in everyone’s way. It would be rude to just stand in the middle of the aisles while people are walking, or so you would think. I am clearly there, the second person in line, waiting for the pressure cooker of my dreams, and these girls decide that it’s ok for them to stand in the middle of the aisles. Basically, it ensures that they get there before I do.
I’m trying to be a nice person, believe me, I am. But I am kind of subtly giving the stink eye to these girls who think that they can just cut in front of us. I start to complain to my friend, and she tells me that there are enough Instant Pots and I have no need to worry.
OK fine. People can cut. It’s cool.
So my friend and I are waiting in line, and she turns to the people beside us and asks them what they are waiting for. This guy was super nice, and smiled and was a pleasure to be around. But he was big! There’s no way that he wasn’t getting what he was going after. Turns out he wanted the Ninja beside the Instant Pot. Whew.
Here’s a pro tip: make friends with the people in line with you, so you guys can help each other out.
Pro tip #2: it helps if the people you are in line with are bigger than you.
By the end of our hour wait, the guy we had been talking to, and this other guy were going to make sure that we got an Instant Pot. It was like extra insurance. There was no way we were leaving without it.
By 5:45 we decide that we should go stand in the aisle beside the product to make sure that we go one. You could feel the tension in the air. The plan was for me to get the coffee maker beside the Instant Pot, and my friend was going to grab the magic item. We decided this because she is a bit more aggressive than I am. She would get the job done.
So we all decide to stand in the middle of the aisle. You could feel the excitement and the tension in the air. It’s an incredible feeling. You are counting down the minutes until you can rip this plastic off and get what you want.
Side note, isn’t it kind of ridiculous that we all follow rules so well? The only thing in our way is this thin sheet and we all sit there, waiting for it to come off like it’s some sort of barrier. Ridiculous.
Then I heard it.
People further down from us were tearing the plastic. That must mean that it’s time for us as well, right? So the lady, who had been in front of me, started to tear the plastic off, exposing the magical pressure cooker. The Walmart employee tried to tell us to stop but by that time there was nothing he could do.
It was complete madness.
There were hands and bodies everywhere. Everyone wanted something and they were sure as heck going to get it.
I grabbed my coffee maker as quick as I could (which was completely unnecessary because I had almost no competition) and darted back to my cart. When I looked back I saw my friend, victorious, as she confidently walked back with what dreams are made of, a pressure cooker.
Turns out, we had ripped the plastic off before 6. So we had enough time to get what we needed and go to the next portion of the store just as they were taking the plastic off.
I went to clothing department, and as I arrived, the plastic was being whisked gently by an employee. There was almost nobody there and I could easily pick out the items I wanted. It was the calm before the storm. I got my stuff and waited in the empty area of the store and watched in amazement.
It’s hard to describe what happened next. There was no room to think or breathe, there was only grabbing. People were grabbing stuff everywhere. The massive amounts of people that fit into that area was outstanding. I’ve never heard so many people say “Excuse me,” and “Sorry.” I haven’t heard that many people apologize since I left Canada! Everyone was bumping into everyone.
Finally, we got through the line and we got home. We stopped by Target after, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Walmart experience.
I called both my parents and my husband’s parents to show off the grand prize, the Instant Pot. It could have been a pile of gold and I would’ve been just as proud of it.
The next morning (on actual Black Friday) the plan was for Husband and I to go to Home Depot. All we wanted was a shop vac that was on sale there. Husband knew he would have to get there early to get it done, so he woke up at 5:09 to get there by 5:30.
You read that right, 5:09. That was the number he chose. Weirdo.
I’m very very very bad at waking up at 5:09. Actually any time before 8 I’m bad at waking up. I attempted to get out of bed, but it just didn’t really work. Husband went on his own, which he was fine with.
Husband got to Home Depot and found everyone sitting in their cars. Weird, right? At exactly 5:30 everyone got out of their cars to go stand in line. Husband was the 5th person in line. Unlike us Walmart shoppers, Home Depot gave their waiting customers doughnuts and coffee. I was slightly jealous until I remembered that I got to wait inside, and I didn’t have to wake up at a ridiculous hour.
So Husband is in line, and he’s following the pro tip, he’s making friends in line. He was talking about how he wanted to get the ladder on sale, but he didn’t have a truck so he wouldn’t be able to get it. The lady behind him offered to take the ladder to our house! When he told me that I was like “Yeah, but she just wanted to steal it.” and he was like “No! The ladder is in our garage.” I was shocked.
But the BEST part of the story, is that while Husband was waiting in line, this lady behind him was telling him that yesterday she went to Walmart to get the Instant Pot, and she waited in line for it (was she the lady ahead of me that ripped the plastic? We will never know). Then another lady went chimed in that she went to go get the Instant Pot yesterday and they were all gone!
I’m going to be honest with you, I made Husband tell me that story twice because I was so proud of myself that I got an Instant Pot.
He was entirely successful and got more than he bargained for. He and that lady would watch each other’s carts while they ran back and forth, and then the lady dropped the ladder off at our house.
So MAKE FRIENDS! You won’t regret it.
For my first “legit” Black Friday, I would say that it was altogether successful and I would do it again. I guess I am becoming more “American.” But only slightly more, let’s not get carried away.
What did you get on Black Friday?