Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Like many others, I'm unhappy with the fact that so many businesses have pushed Black Friday into Thanksgiving Day. I always enjoyed those two days fully, but, when forced to choose, Thanksgiving will always trump Black Friday for me.

We decided not to let it ruin our fun, so we went out as normal (for us) early on Black Friday. The first stop on our list was JC Penney for the free miniature snow globe. They opened sometime on Thanksgiving evening, but they advertised the snow globes would be given away at 4am on Black Friday. We got there at 3:45am, and the giveaway was in full swing! We got our snow globe and coupon and ran back to the car to Cabela's. Cabela's is new to Denver. This is their first Black Friday here! Their ad said they would be giving away free prizes to the first 600 people there before 5am. We pulled up at 3:55, and the line was long. Phuong and Aminta sprang from the car to the line while I went to park. The line was insane! It completely wrapped around the large store. Phuong held our place in line while Aminta and I went to count. Some parts were dark, but we estimated that we were about number #550 in line. We worried that wouldn't be good enough, as some people hold spots for family & friends to warm up in the car or to go use the restroom or get coffee or whatever. Still, at 4am, we had nothing better to do and decided to wait and see if we made it. At 5am, someone came around with a counter and told us we were about number #650. We wouldn't get a door prize. We decided the store would be way too packed to enjoy without the free gift incentive, so we left and went to Sports Authority.

Oops, I almost forgot. Here are Phuong & Aminta at Cabela's! They're going to kill me for this photo. I told them to look cold & miserable. Hehe.

Sports Authority did a double opening. They did a gift card giveaway on Thanksgiving evening, which I didn't go to, but they had another scheduled for 6am on Black Friday. We got there at about 5:20am, and there were just 2 people in line. The first 80 customers got a free gift card. When the doors opened, there were about 20 people in line. I won free $10--which I used to get some gifts for Oliver--and so did Phuong and Aminta's aunt. Aminta and her mom each won $25! We took our time shopping. It was about 6:30am when I went to check out. There was still an employee at the door, waiting to give out gift cards. I chatted with her for a minute, and she told me the other stores in Denver had given their gift cards away. She said the $500 gift card still hadn't been given out... implying it was one of the cards in her hand. Holy cow! I called Andrew and my parents and pleaded with them to go to Sports Authority. It's like a half mile from the house. I tried every trick in the book, including using birthday guilt (Black Friday landed on my birthday this year). They weren't having it. I couldn't believe they would pass up the opportunity. If they'd gone, I bet they had about a 1/20 chance of getting $500. Those party poopers.

From Sports Authority, we went to World Market. They had free samples of coffee and cookies, and they were also giving away free coffee mugs to the first 100 customers (we all got one!). After that, we went to Park Meadows Mall. We just missed their free pancake breakfast, but we entered their sweepstakes. Aminta ended up winning an American Girl pet set and book, and her aunt won a nice water bottle! We drove over to Furniture Row, as they were giving away free pillows to the first 50 customers there at 8am. The line was surprisingly long for it! I'd say there were about 20 people in line. Imagine our surprise when the doors opened, and there were no pillows or numbers or anything. An employee told us we'd have to go down to the Denver Mattress area, so about a dozen of us trotted off to make sure we got our free pillows.

Phuong is very excited about her free pillow.

We then went to Costco to get our free cookbook. They give out a cookbook to members every year on Black Friday. There was a Minnie Mouse book there that I knew Oliver would love. Phuong got it for me, and, in exchange, I gave her my free $10 coupon to Kohl's, which she used to get a Baby's 1st Christmas ornament. So, I indirectly got a free book from Costco for Oliver!

Stein Mart had a cool giveaway this year, too. I'd never been to a Stein Mart before. Their ad in the Thanksgiving paper was a scratch card. It said to bring in the unscratched card on Black Friday before noon, and an employee would scratch it off to reveal a free $10, $25, $50, or $100 gift. Mine was valued at $10. I picked out a wooden car toy for Jo that was originally $15 but 30% off, making it $10.50. So, i got a nice, wooden toy for under a dollar!

Here is my final loot from Black Friday, minus the free cookbook from Costco that I forgot to photograph. Everything below cost me about $2 total. Not bad!

Of course, we also can't forget about Small Business Saturday! I was a little disappointed that American Express changed the incentive from a $25 statement credit to $10, but I guess we can't complain about free money. Andrew went to a local toy shop and got a $10 board book about monsters that Jo will love. After the credit, it's practically free. I went to Ace Hardware and picked out little stocking stuffers for my siblings. After my credit, they're practically free, too!

Not a bad haul for the first round of Christmas shopping, ey?

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