Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Tis the Season- for Bargains!

Its the weekend before Thanksgiving, and while I'm trying to figure out when summer even ended, my family is gearing up for the holidays.  The lit candy canes are already lining the driveway and my mother has begun ferreting away mysterious packages that have arrived.  And we have begun to prepare for Black Friday.

My sister is a serious bargain hunter, which means Black Friday to her is better than Christmas or her birthday.  At the beginning of November she begins scouting out sketchy copies of ads posted online.  Once the ads show up with the paper, it's serious planning time.  She makes lists of what she needs from each store, clips coupons and devises a schedule.  For my sister I think it's more about the experience and the savings rather than having to get that perfect gift.  For me, there isn't really anything that inspires me to wait in line all night, hoping the crowds won't get too crazy, or to hope that there is enough in the store.

Until we started going to JoAnn's.  How can you ignore flannel at $1.50 per yard?  Black Friday at JoAnn's is unlike any other store the morning after Thanksgiving.

My sister and I started going to JoAnn's five years ago.  Fearing long lines, we arrived two hours early.  We ended up waiting in the car for an hour before anyone else arrived, and even then it was the employees.  The line begins to form about an hour before the store starts, and we've made friends with other regulars who we've stood next to in line for the past few years, discussing what we're shopping for, swapping craft ideas and sharing knowledge.  We go every year for flannel for my grandmother who makes baby blankets to donate.  Another woman gets fabric to make Christmas gifts for her family.  Someone is always there for the Cri-cut deal.  The line remains orderly, and we help people scope out where trees, the Cri-cuts and other various deals are, and people calculate how many people ahead of them want the same item to determine their odds of getting the deals.

Once the doors open, everyone gathers buggies and begins shopping.  I've never seen anyone snatch anything from another or snag something from someone's cart, rather they ask others if they could have the bolt once another got their piece of fabric cut.

Yes, the line to cut fabric is long.  And it is even longer as several people (like ourselves) have carts (yes, more than one) overflowing with bolts of fabric to get cut.  The best solution is to shop with more than one person: one waits while others shop, bringing fabric to the cart and making decisions as you wait.

In the end, buying about a hundred yards of flannel at JoAnn's does take us about four hours, but the savings of more than $5 per yard is more than worth it.  And of course we always walk out with some other wonderful deals on fleece and scrapbooking supplies.

We've already started making our Black Friday list.  Where do you shop and what are you planning on buying this year on Black Friday?

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