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Park Resident Swears Off Toy Store After Black Friday Chaos

Manassas Park resident Rachel Kirkland takes on Black Friday and lives to tell about it. Oh and she only spent $100.

The game plan: My plan was really loose.  My son's birthday is Oct. 29.  Shopping for Christmas always starts right around then.  I have some stuff from Toys R Us' Big Book and a layaway from another good weekend sale.  Today was about random deals and clothes for the boys.  Fair Oaks is my mall of choice.  My mom always meets me, driving in from Silver Spring

The deals: Fifty percent off at Abercrombie before 9 a.m., Macy's $10 off coupon, 30 percent off at Gymboree, $10 jeans at JCPenney.

The recap:  I hit Abercrombie's 50 percent off sale for a couple of shirts for Jacob.  He gets a lot of hand me downs, so I splurge on names for him here and there to fill in.  He calls Abercrombie "the oose store" and likes their shade of green in tees and sweats.  Both mom and I picked up a few things for him there.  

We went to JCPenney, which had me unimpressed initially, but won favor when we found jeans for my older one, who recently had a growth spurt.  Jeans I had initially put away as Christmas gifts have been pulled out and I know we will need more, so she picked up three pairs and I picked up one pair to tide me over.  

Gymboree is a store we are aging out of rapidly in both size and sensibility, but we found great deals on the clearance rack with an additional 30 percent store wide.  

The older one again is getting lots of clothes from grandma, as well as a pair of Timberlands from Stride Rite, which ran 50 percent off booties as their doorbuster.  Bath and Body Works was a sea of humanity.  I nearly turned around and walked out, but I needed hand soap for my bath.  I found two seasonal hand soaps that were 50 percent off as well as $5 wallflowers.  

I worked at BBW years ago at Pentagon City and their floor plan is so packed you can't stir people with a stick.  I wanted to buy more, but I couldn't physically make my way around the store to browse.  Macy's was the big deal.  I am going to Paris in the spring and every tourist website will talk about acceptable footwear and the collective disdain for the clodhopper, boxy things our running shoes are.  

Now, I don't completely agree, but I know that I have been looking for an appropriate pair of Puma ballet flats for a long time.  It keeps coming up as acceptable atheletic footwear (probably because it is European line...)  Using the $10 off a $25 purchase, I got $78 pair of Puma off the clearance rack down to $18.  I am breaking them in right now and I must say I am pretty please.

After a lunch break at Cheesecake Factory, I split from my mom and went to the Fair Lakes Toys R Us.  It was not part of the plan.  Absolutely chaos.  Most of the sales staff had a deer in the headlights look, didn't know where anything was, and couldn't adequately answer any questions.  I did find my doorbuster of choice, the Hex Bug set, but it was not signed as a special and I wasn't sure until I got a copy of the flyer from a shopper who was leaving.  

The line to cash registers wrapped through one side of the store.  The guy who was running was yelling, not solely for volume but out of complete frustration, at customers.  I did 13 years of Black Fridays as a sales person and cashier and I  know how difficult the day is.  But his behavior (it was pointed out to me that this guy was a manager) was beyond the pale.  I left with what I came for, but it will be a cold day in you know where before I set foot in that store again.  I can buy toys at Target or Walmart with less drama.  


You know, all told, I only spend about $100 today.  I might have spent more if it hadn't been so insane.  I got a ton of stuff for the money.  I have only two major gifts to pick up now over the next month and a whole lot of baking to do.  I can live with that.  The tree's up, the shopping is mostly done, and I am ready to enjoy the month.

Rachel November 26, 2011 at 01:29 AM
The resurgence of layaway is one of the great things to come out of the recession. I am paying the Manassas Toys R Us (not the location of today's event) $5 for storage so things don't get discovered! It's great thing, especially since the youngest is questioning Santa now! It is helping keep up the illusion.
Kris Day November 26, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Rachel, I enjoyed your article! I have never ventured out to shop on black Friday! What I can say is that you are one very brave woman!
Margaret Park November 27, 2011 at 02:51 PM
I went out with a neighbor to Potomac Mills and then to the Gateway Center in Gainesville. We left the house at 7 and were home by 1. We both came home unimpressed. We did get some great deals at the Carters outlet, but other than that the "deals" weren't worth the hype. I'll remember the day for the time spent with a great friend rather than items bought.
Rachel November 28, 2011 at 02:01 AM
I think that's what I like most about the day... time with my mom. This was also the first year ever that I have gone without the kids, so that was a nice break. I hope they do away with this Thursday shopping thing. It's one of the few days where you can spend the day with family without everyday distractions like the mall being open. That's a good thing! I almost resent Walmart, Best Buy for spilling into Thanksgiving.
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) November 29, 2011 at 01:01 AM
You're right Margaret, sometimes the company is the best. I did the Black Friday thing late in the day in my hometown of Florence, South Carolina, but I didn't see any blow-your-mind deals. My mother purchased a flat screen TV for $98 but by 2 p.m. I had convinced her to take it back. She didn't need it—there are four TVs in the house and it's just my mom and dad there. She claimed she was buying for their new deck just because it's wired for cable. I told her she still didn't need it; if she wanted to watch TV on the deck then get one out of the guest bedrooms. I think she was just caught up in all the Black Friday Hype. :D
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) November 29, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Really Kris? Why haven't you done Black Friday?

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