So, uh, about the outlet mall. Yeah, that was a really bad idea. The next time you guys hear me say something like that, just backhand me. It was honestly comically bad and jparks and I spent the better part of the night giggling to ourselves about how awful the whole situation was.
me: "Well, you can't say this isn't an adventure."
jparks: "Yeah, adventure might be an understatement"
The stores all were set to open at midnight and before leaving the house we debated if going right at opening was the best option or if waiting until 3am was smarter. We finally decided to just bite the bullet and get the trip over with early. As we approached the exit off of 101, traffic came to a stop. At first we thought it was an accident, which it was, but it didn't clear up after that. We figured it would take an hour just to get from our spot to the traffic lights at the end of the exit, and figured it was a better bet to pass the exit and try to navigate surface streets, in a town we've never been to, at 12am, than to wait in line. This plan was our only success of the night.
When we finally got to the outlets, parking was a joke. We ended up parking in an abandoned WalMart parking lot, which was a decent walk away from the stores. There were lights powered by generators throughout the parking lot, but the hike to the mall was not lit at all. Nothing says fun like walking down a dark road in the middle of the night.
Once we approached the actual stores we could see that many had lines to get into the door. Basically any store I had an interest in had a line: JCrew, Gap, Nike Store, Aldo, and Banana Republic. Seriously, when we rounded the corner on the Banana Republic outlet, I nearly died. Their line was probably the longest and the wait was easily 45 minutes, as was the wait at the checkout lines. I quickly learned that my time is worth more to me than my money, because we decided not to wait. I just couldn't imagine waiting that long to get in there and then not finding a single thing to buy. Or worse, finding one thing that I love and then having to wait another 45 minutes to check out.
The only stores we ended up going in were kitchen stores. And the Gold Toe store. By the end of the night our joke was that we were there to hit all the stores that only people over 70 would shop in. "Look sonny, the sock store has 30% off all their merchandise! Let's go stock you up and then see if we can find some underwear for the rest of your Christmas gift!" Besides buying jparks three packs of socks, we also bought an oven thermometer, a set of poach pods, and a griddle. Basically all things we could have bought on any other night of the year, at a normal store, where we were fearing death by stampede if we stopped moving for one second.
We didn't leave the outlets until 2:45 and, while traffic coming into the area had disappeared, the sheer volume of people had not decreased at all. Basically, even if we had waited to leave our house until 3am, we still wouldn't have made it into any of the other stores. I'm so sorry that I didn't listen to all the people that have been telling me what a bad idea going to the outlets was. Yes, jparks and I had a lot of fun laughing about the situation, but it also would have been nice to be in bed at a normal hour.
On our way home we stopped to get gas and saw a Best Buy. Jparks didn't believe me about people camping out at them, so I made him cruise through the parking lot. Sure enough the line of people started at the front doors and wrapped all the way down the side of the building. We both agreed that it's one thing to be up and walking around an outlet mall at 3am, but camping out at Best Buy is another thing entirely. The people waiting had chairs, coolers, and sleeping bags, which I guess if you're going to wait in line, you might as well be as comfortable as possible.
We've already decided that next year we're skipping the midnight madness outlet mall trip, in favor of camping out in front of a store. But we're not camping out at Best Buy, Target, or WalMart. No, we're going to camp out some place unexpected. Maybe the Vitamin Shoppe or Leslie's Swimming Pool Supplies. I just think those stores are really overlooked on Black Friday.