The Queen of Coupons Reigns......


Monday, November 21, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle!!

The countdown to the biggest shopping day of the year is just a matter of days away. It's been fashionably deemed "Black Friday" because that's when, supposedly, retail stores are back on the profit side of their financial ledgers. But what it really should be called is GREEN Friday! Because that is what the stores are hoping that you roll in with. Well. Black is the new green, right?

Getting a great deal sways many a harried customer between the volumes of mercantile contenders. In the past, I've been a leader amongst the packs of pre-dawn shoppers. No lion--(deliberate spin on words)--the thought of beating the sun up this year makes me positively want to roll over and take a cat nap! I must be becoming an old lioness, because the thrill of the hunt has slightly waned for me (possibly due to awesome Internet sales and savvy coupon purchases throughout the year)...but I'm still driven to chase the odd deal, here and there. So--with a widdled down game plan and goal in mind, it's still amusing to see those with more prowess and vigor angling and planning their saving frenzies!

I used to look forward to that fat Thanksgiving newspaper to pour over all the store ads and post-Turkey day deals. Mass media has come a long way...and most store ads are available online a long time before the newspaper even hits the driveway! I've already scoped the ads via the Black Friday websites, and I've narrowed my shopping plan down to a total of four stores--and possibly spread out over 2-3 days, no less. Stores are getting bolder with their solicitations and self-promoting; going as far as to open earlier and earlier on Friday, if not an actual day or two before.

The super sales used to be the highlight of just the Friday after Thanksgiving. Fiscal cut-backs and shake-ups have turned many into savings predators in the hopes to help make their financial ends meet. It has also driven the retail stores to not only slash their prices, but lure you in earlier and earlier, in the hopes that you will spend all your money in their store before the competition even wakes up!

Stores are stretching their sale days from one, to two or three.  Some still have sales that are limited to just hours.  So plan your excursions in accordance to the times of the sales.  You don't want to miss the great sock-fest at Freddies' because you are in the eternal line at Wal-Mart!  Back in the day...the day after Thanksgiving sale at Fred Meyer was advertised as a "four hour sale"--because it started at the store opening of 7am and ended at 11am. But somewhere in the mid-90's, it went to 6am...and finally, now 5am. It's now a "six hour sale"...with the same standard items on sale every year; like 50% off of all socks, Rubbermaid, towels, and certain household items.

My man doesn't mind being my get-away driver at stores that I can run in and get out quickly or to ones where we may also be having a joint adventure. But if any of the stores are: Michael's', Jo Ann's, or some other crafty store--I'm must hunt alone because the King of my jungle can only handle one crazy woman at a time! The rest of you make him want to RoAr!!

With many stores moving their opening times back, earlier and earlier, some as early as Thanksgiving Day or even midnight--it would be helpful to create a shopping strategy to maximize your savings and return for the money spent! There should be a method to the madness and desire to face mobs of people for the latest and greatest gadgets or toys. Where are the best deals? Target. Wal-Mart. Shopko? The Mall? Oh...the choices are limitless.

Strategize and limit your time to the stores that really have what you want. Is half of the city going to one store? Great! But I don't even want to go there! Google the stores where it's predicted to be a madhouse. See what people are going to be fighting for.  Are they what you are wanting as well?  And just remember...People literally die for flat screen TVs and handheld attention grabbers. Was that worth the savings? No thanks. Too painful and annoying for this old lioness.

Tips: If you are determined to be a great hunter...make a plan or a map. I suggest you walk the stores that you are going to shop for the Black Friday sales ahead of time. See where they are stocking the items you want. Create a map (in your head or on paper), of the best way to navigate the aisles if every one of your neighbors and their relatives are also there. Unless you are buying gifts for the entire orphanage--skip the cart and go on foot. It's faster that way. You will get caught in huge pile-ups of cart pushers and lose time if you become lane-locked! You will be able to get in and out of strategic locations faster. So--if you plan on purchasing a lot, take a shopping tote and run through the jungle without wheels!

Sometimes it pays to have someone watching your back or waiting in the line for you to pay. Shopping in twos with a game plan will save lots of time and frustration before the sun even rises! Walkie-talkies? Maybe in the good 'ol days. Cell phones are a must if working in teams to score the hottest items.

Limit your stores to a selected few. WHAT? Did I just say that it's insane at the crack of dawn? There's going to be LONG lines, grouchy people, and empty shelves. Pick your battles and you might stand a chance of staying nice sane. I'd rather wait an hour in one line for everything I want, then 3 lines for an hour each, for only a couple of items. Think of your wasted time in terms of how much your time is worth compared to what you are really saving. If it's only a couple of dollars savings--don't waste the hour! But if you are saving just might be worth having someone along to talk to while you watch the rest of the shoppers making their way to the front of the store!

Where am I going? Process of elimination has concluded...Fred Meyer, Costco, Rite Aid, and Walgreen's.  I know there are deals at the "man" stores, the mall, and most retail hijackers! But with limited time frames and sell-out pricing...they just aren't worth my sanity or dollar, especially with my mad couponing skills! While the lioness is getting lazier in her old age, the lion has an even less tolerance for retail chaos. So Fred Meyer and Costco are his limit, and only if accompanied by his soothing lioness.  I already know that I'm going to be a lone hunter shopper on Thursday morning (if not accompanied by a cub or two) Rite Aid and Walgreen's. I'm hoping that the radio ditty will hold true and that there won't be long lines or a full parking lot!  I have no patience with being less productive--especially if dinner's waiting!

Yes!! The drug store chains are open Thanksgiving Day--or at least from 9-6pm. So while many of you will be busy in the kitchen on Thursday morning...I'm going to be busy at the cash register because there are some deals that are just too good to pass up.  Walgreen's' has almost 20 items that will be free after Register Rewards. I can handle that. I'm also hoping to accrue a lot of those little marvels to use the following week so that I can generate some Jingle Cash in a hurry.

Last tip of the day: pre-assemble or pre-mix your casseroles and side dishes on Tuesday or Wednesday, so that they are ready to bake on Thursday. I'm using Glad Ovenware for my casseroles so that their uniform shape will take up less room in the fridge beforehand. The "work" done ahead of the big feast will save so much time and effort getting the food from the oven to the plate--especially if I'm out shopping before dinner. Less chaos in the kitchen equals a more pleasant meal and celebration.

So, to all those savvy jungle bargain shoppers--Happy Thanksgiving--and here's to having a grateful heart and helping hands--this Holiday season!

No comments:

Post a Comment