The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 28, 2012

Black Friday: A well-planned shopping mission

By Angie Bicker
Lifestyle Editor

CLINTON — On your mark, get ready, set — shop.

If you were one of many shoppers who braved the crowds to get a good bargain on Black Friday, you can identify with those words.

As my co-workers will attest to the fact, I was one of those whacky shoppers out and about on Black Friday getting some of the best deals of the year.

My Thanksgiving morning started off by jumping out of bed when my alarm went off, throwing some clothes on, masking my wild-and-crazy hair with a baseball cap and hopping in my truck to go buy a Clinton Herald with one major goal in mind — to get the ads.

After bolting into the convenience store, I felt a heavy burden being lifted from my shoulders when I noticed there were still some papers left on the shelf. I could have sworn I heard angels singing, “Alleluia.”

After my first mission was achieved, I headed home to collect the eggs, finish combing my crazy hair and prepare a salad to take to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. I managed to get everything done before diving into my next James Bond-filled assignment — tackling the ads and preparing a battle plan.

For anyone who has ever been part of Black Friday shopping, you have to have a plan or your shopping mission will end in disaster. Dreams of saving a buck here and a buck there will simply go “poof.”

I studied the ads like I was cramming for a college final. I circled items and wrote down sizes with a red marker so I would be sure not to miss anything.

I have discovered that shopping is an art and can be molded and perfected over time.

Black Friday is the one and only shopping day that I can spend money without feeling guilty.

I save up for my shopping spree all year long by tucking money away each week in a Christmas Club account. So, when it comes time to buy Christmas gifts for family and friends, I don't have to worry how I will pay off a massive credit card bill. I can, with no hesitation, enjoy spending money.

Since I had to be at the Herald by 5 a.m. Friday, I knew my shopping escapade would have to start early. Since I wanted some sleep before starting my work day, I went to bed around 10 p.m. and woke up around 2:30 a.m. to go shopping. My dog looked at me like I was nuts. I managed to get myself and my dog ready for the day by 3:15 a.m. After that, I bid Cordy goodbye with a hug and an “I love you,” and I jumped in my little brown truck to conquer my Black Friday list.

When I arrived at my first store around 3:30 a.m., there was a lull in the action.

There were a few shoppers walking around, but for the most part the hysteria had subsided. There was no pushing or shoving — just a quiet shopping experience. Since I was on a bit of a time crunch, I had to make every moment count.

I was rockin’ and a rollin’ down the aisles throwing my circled sale items into my cart. I was on a mission, man — just like James Bond.

Even though I didn't get to the stores when they first opened, I found everything I was looking for on my list.

I managed to hit three stores in 90 minutes and saved about $200. Now that's some major shopping. I just might frame those receipts to help gear myself up again next year.

Even though I only had about four hours of sleep, I managed to get through the day on two cups of coffee and adrenaline.

What can I say, I was on cloud nine with all of my good buys.

Now that my money is almost gone, I guess I'll have to look forward to my tax refund before I can go on another major shopping spree.

Watch out James Bond, here I come.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.