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Column: Buy Now

The phenomenon of Black Friday shopping has been largely lost on me for the better part of my existence. The scouring of the newspaper ads for deals, the waking up early, the battling it out for kitchen appliances and flat screen TVs has just never appealed. My idea of enjoyable shopping is the Buy Now button on Amazon and having the item show up on my doorstop two days later.

However, in the spirit of trying new things and only living once, I decided to invite our teenage girls on a Black Friday shopping trip. They were 100 percent game from the get-go. After combing through The Des Moines Register and clipping one lonely coupon we made a plan for the early morning hours. We decided we wanted to arrive at the mall at 6 a.m. which meant the girls wanted to get up at 4:30 a.m. to put makeup on and curl their hair. Ahhh, to be a teen again.

Despite my best efforts to arise at this ungodly hour, I rolled out about 5:09 a.m., discovered the girls were nearly ready and scrambled to pull myself together within a few minutes. Thankfully, I have a wash my face, dry shampoo my hair and brush my teeth routine down pat. Soon we were off to the big city fueled by caffeinated drinks and the wonder of what we might encounter.

As we approached Jordan Creek Mall, it was apparent traffic wasn’t going to be an issue. Neither was parking, it was painfully available. Although we weren’t there for the doors opening it didn’t appear the rushing of the doors would have been all that exciting.

The lack of Black Friday excitement is of course due to retailers shifting to the evening of Thanksgiving Day to kickoff of shopping. I really, really, really dislike this. I worked in retail long enough to find out the holidays are devilishly brutal. I can’t imagine having to clock in on a holiday — that’s just wrong. (As a sidenote, I loved an email I received from Raygun last week promoting some of its products and concluding with a brief statement “like a normal store, all locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.” They don’t call it the greatest store on the universe for nothing.)

As the girls and I shopped around on Friday it was much like a slower weeknight at the mall. They found about one million different items of clothing they wanted for Christmas and I had little trouble maneuvering through short lines and making use of my plastic. It is a great relief to have the girls’ shopping nearly complete and to know they are happy with their selections.

We faced our largest line at Scheels (shout out to this store for also remaining closed on Thursday) but even it wasn’t so bad. By about 10 a.m. we were done shopping and found ourselves in a serious state of hunger. Craving a cheeseburger at this hour is a sad ordeal when no restaurants are open. We finally made due with a café and a plan to go home and nap.

Losing sleep was probably the most difficult part of this venture. I napped for about 2.5 hours after our trip and then slept about two nights worth of sleep that evening. On the plus-side was being geared up for day two of shopping, this time just nine minutes into town in Newton.

Shop Small Saturday with the entire family (we added the boys for good measure) was so much fun. With beautiful weather and good deals at our local stores we spent more time “shopping small” over the weekend and with more success.

With a few tweaks to our schedule for next year, I think I may have discovered a shopping routine that works just as well as that Buy Now button.

Contact Abigail Pelzer

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