Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday: Kicking off the Season at the Edinburgh Outlets

I've always been a big fan of Adbusters, healthily critical of our conusmer culture. If I ever have kids, I'll probably be one of those "mean parents" who won't pony up the latest trendy toy every Christmas, who'll substitute books for gagets as gifts. Once I became a homeowner, my level of consumption dropped dramatically, and that's a good thing.
That being said, I'm hardly the "dirty hippy" that Roommate claims I am. It's still been too long since my last trip to Disney World. I think Martha Stewart has just about perfect taste. I have "consumption crushes" of my own: sigh... Roomba... some day, you will be mine... oh yes, you will be mine!!
Honestly, though, it wasn't until I spent my first Thanksgiving with Roommates family, back when we were dating, that I was ever introduced to this thing call Black Friday. And I thought it was utter lunacy. And mostly, I still do. And Roommate's family isn't even hardcore-- I think we got up at 5am or so that first year.
But now that I'm in the habit of scouring the Black Friday ads, I realize that "Buy Nothing Day" is all fine and good if you happen to be a rich anti-consumerist. But what if you happen to be on a limited budget? What if your kiddo really, really wants that 5-speed bike for sale at Toys R Us at 6am for $100 off the regular price? On principal, you're going to forgo the $100 saving? Forgo getting the bike entirely or spending $100 more on Saturdays? That's lunacy.
Anyway, so Roommate and I went to Indiana for Turkey Day and the family happened to mention that the Edinburgh Outlet Malls were opening at midnight with all kinds of early bird specials. We joked about it a bit, but 11pm rolled around and found us parked in the lot watching cars flood in.
The Coach outlet was the biggest draw. We were floored that the line at 11p already wrapped around the building. Later we'd heard that some folks waited more than 2 hrs just to get 10% off. I find that hard to believe. Aeropostal, Gap, Nike, and a couple other stores had amassed significant lines before the doors opened.
Roommate and I played it cool, ducked in the stores that were less crowded, got a crappy hot mocha from the chocolate store, and basically treated it like any other trip to an outlet mall. When we walked into our first store-- the Bass Outlet-- Roommate said, "Okay, my brain just reset. It's no longer midnight."
"I'm in a shoe store."
If I was in the practice of giving clothes as gifts, I could have made out like a bandit, but as it was I bought one thing for my mom (and did save close to $50, so yay me!), and a skirt and sweater for myself. Roommate batted zero in the tis-the-season department and came away with just a pair of shoes for himself. In the end, we spent two hours, but it was a goofy, fun way to kick of the Christmas vibe.
That being said, I don't think I'll ever be the kind of person who can wait in line for hours for a store to open. When I saw the line at Coach, I said, "Okay, if Bono were signing the pocketbooks, I might. But otherwise never." Perhaps if I lived in South Florida and could start camping outside of Best Buy at 10pm for their $15.99 DVD player doorbuster in the comfort of 70+ degree weather, my feelings would change... but last night it was in the 20's!!! Lunacy, I tell you!

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