Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Shopper Showdown

Everybody loves a good bargain, but just how far will you go to get one?  On our way home from spending Thanksgiving in the city, we strategically timed our trip so we would be coming through Central Valley, New York.  There, you'll find the mecca of all outlet malls:  The Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets.

One of the largest continuous outlet malls in the world, Woodbury Common has about 220 stores occupying 880,000 square feet!  We remembered hearing about it on the national news when stores there opened last year at midnight.  Greyhound tour buses sell round trip fares from the city to take shoppers to the big sales.  ABC reported that this year more than 1,000 shoppers came internationally for the big sales!  In 2007, the outlet mall backed up traffic more than 10 miles on the New York State Thruway when shoppers arrived for the midnight madness Black Friday sales.

Normally Black Friday sales start on, well, Friday.  Most stores will open at 6 a.m., the really hardcore ones might open the doors at 4 a.m. for the super crazy shoppers.  But it seems like every year retailers are trying to up one another and cash in on the media fueled madness.  Woodbury Common is right in the thick of it. 

This year, most stores at Woodbury Common cranked up the Black Friday festivities on Thursday, opening at 9:00 p.m.!  Our return home put us on a collision course with some of the most serious sale finders in the Northeast.  When we finally found a parking spot, we discovered stores with folks waiting behind velvet roped lines and security letting shoppers into stores on a "one in, one out" policy.

The line in front of Coach...we think they were handing out gold bars.
With  most of our Christmas shopping done for other people, we decided to try to hit the Spyder outlet in search of deals for ourselves.  We waited in line for about 30 minutes before the store opened and made it into the first round of admission.  Once we were inside, it was like watching locust devour a field!  The pristine store was destroyed in a matter of minutes.  We were able to grab what we wanted and then got into an hour long checkout line.

Mr. Ants-in-His-Pants Brett wanted to check out the deals at the Polo store so he left Heather with the pile of bounty.  Afraid to take off the Spyder jacket she had worn into the store for fear someone would try to charge her for it (or try to buy it), she stood in line slowly sweating to death.  Guess what?  The line at Polo was so long Brett never got in and when he tried to return to Spyder, he got stuck outside when security wouldn't let anymore people in.  About to pass out (from the excitement & heat) Heather didn't even notice when she ended up over paying for a t-shirt, getting charged twice for a hat and actually buying two of the same hats until she checked her bags and the receipt the next day.

Whoops purchase!  Look for me to be on eBay soon!
We didn't leave the mall until 1:00 a.m. and didn't get home until after 3:00 a.m.  (We started the day around 6:00 a.m.!)  But we scored some amazing deals on our Black Friday Thursday and are already strategically planning for next year.  After all, isn't that what the hardcore shoppers do?

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