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  • Writer's pictureKelly Cave

Black Friday Shopping Tradition

Updated: May 31, 2022

As we enjoy Thanksgiving Day with family, friends, and food; some dedicated shoppers are gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year. Today’s blog is written by Sheila, my sister-in-law, and her lifelong friend, Sharon. Sit back and enjoy with a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

The Black Friday Marathon- And so it begins Each year my bestie and I begin in July making our reservations with the Marriott at Grand Dunes and prep for what has become our Thanksgiving ritual for 20 years now. Thanksgiving starts with our individual family traditions on Thursday. After the dishes are done and we have said our goodbyes we head the 4 and 1/2 hour trip to South Carolina. Typically that week we have tried to gather our plethora of tempting flyers and emails from the businesses that have created marketing to tempt us to include them in our marathon day of therapy. While at our family gatherings we have circled back confirming the wish list and typically have it finalized on the over 4-hour trip.

The back story is that we have been doing this since our boys were in low single digits and since the beginning, we left them with our husbands in the hotel and the guys did their thing but joined us at breakfast but the rest of the 24+ hours is full of shopping adventures. Our typical itinerary begins by arriving at the hotel some time and getting a quick refreshing shower. We pack our lists, coupons, and a snack in our crossbody bags and head off into the night for our early finds. When and where has evolved over the years especially in light of COVID 19 Pandemic (but it didn’t stop us, only changed our itinerary.) Historically NO ONE opened before midnight, now each year it seems to creep earlier almost giving no reverence to the day of Thanksgiving. We are “old school” and resist shopping before 10 pm on Thanksgiving Day but each year the stores threaten to take away the all-night shopping spree by only including typical day hours or maybe extending until midnight or opening a few hours before their regular timing and now some even are opening all day Thanksgiving. No, we are not falling for that! In case you haven’t guessed we are night owls. After years of burning the midnight oil in corporate jobs, this all-night shopping opportunity magically presented itself to us and allowed us to finish most of our annual Christmas shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend.

We typically begin our shopping at the Tanger outlets on 17N since our hotel is closer to there. We try to complete our time thereby meeting our guys for a late breakfast and caffeine refuel. Our favorite shopping spots over the years have evolved but included GAP, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Coach to Kate Spade, Loft, Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, Alda, Vineyard Vines, Tommy Bahama, and Tory Burch. Our regular staple refresh has been at Hanesbrands. As a rule most of the stores especially the higher-end tend to have a 50% off for the very very early or twilight hours. Every year we can’t wait for our finds at the high-end purse stores or deals at Ralph Lauren or Under Armour athletic wear and for Nike shoes to name a few. Each year our lists evolve and change and the latest monkey wrench may be the guinea pig that has made it to the list.

After our Tanger finds and breakfast with our husbands and sons it’s off to Coastal Grand Mall for our next sprint. Mind you, at this time we have been shopping for some 12 hours. We scour the mall from Dillards to Belk and everything in between. Dillards sometimes has even better deals on Polo shirts than the outlet. Belk always has their extra off-timed deals but we usually don’t choose to be there with the early bird crowds and still manage to find what we are looking for there which many times are more in the household sections and missy sections. This stop has been known to include a quick message from one of the best massage therapists. They are typically in a kiosk location in the mall. We grab caffeine refreshment pretzel bites that we share and finish the CGM location around 5.

The next stop is typically an early dinner and then off to TJMaxx and Home Goods and usually, we also have to circle back to Dicks Sporting Goods.

We are slowing down as the hour's roll by but we have been at it almost 20 hours by this time of the day/ night. The next stop is a Lowe’s Hardware drive-by for a quick gift card and we usually bring it home with our final toy, electronics, gift cards, and stocking stuffer run at Target. By this time it’s typically past 10 pm and we are on our last legs and sometimes last nerves depending on our ability to strategically dodge the crowds. We have been known to hit a drive-through for fries and a cold drink before heading back to the hotel for our final crash anywhere between 10 and 12 am.

Remember we started this before phones had trackers or robust cell service and one particular year we may have continued on to Walmart for a bicycle close to 1 am and sent our hubs into panic mode but for the most part they have been troopers and go on with their golf and sports bar rounds and know they will see us when they see us.

As we close in on 60 our bodies may hurt a little more but this trip is sort of our resistance to getting older. We have friends and even much younger family and sons girlfriends that have given valiant effort to hang with us but in the end, it remains just the two of us. Here’s hoping for great finds this year and the Lord's blessings of another 20 years of therapy/fun with our Thanksgiving shopping Marathon. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sheila Wilson

Sharon Joyner -Payne

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