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Black Friday Camping
Each year, my wife has meticulously plans her Black Friday shopping experience. Last year, she narrowed down most of what she wanted to one store: Best Buy. The sales were the motivation, but what I didn’t realize was that the camping experience would be memorable for my whole family.
Black Friday for My Daughter
I quickly realized our dilemma. I tried to write it off and tell her that we didn’t have anything we wanted. Truth be told, though…we did. There were 4 or 5 things we wanted. Even worse, when we mentioned to others we were considering it, they usually said two things: First, that we were crazy. Second, could we get them something while we were there?
Committed to Camping
I realized we were committed. So we brought down the tent the night before Thanksgiving and set it up. By our calculations we were about the 25th in line. My daughter was ecstatic. We spent the evening as a family hanging out in the tent watching children’s movies on the laptop. It was great fun. We decided, though, that one of us would stay the night and the other would go home with the smaller kids. My wife opted for the bonding moment and stayed the night with our daughter.
The Benefits of Store Camping
So I slept cozy at home while my wife and my daughter had a fun filled night. There were a lot of unexpected reasons for this. For one, there were a lot of other kids camping out and they had a blast together. If a case of the munchies set in, there was a convenience store, a McDonald’s and a buffet all within walking distance. Even better, though was the free WIFI they got by being right next to Best Buy.
The next morning proved even better for me as I realized that this would get me out of an extended visit with the in-laws. I’d spend most of the day in line while my wife would go to her parents for Thanksgiving. I’d just drop in later after we rotated, eat turkey and leave. My wife happily got to maximize the time with her family and I got to maximize the time not with her family. (I should say I love my in laws, but 8 hours with them is overkill for me.)
By the time evening rolled around the line swelled around the building and beyond. The 25 people in front of us had swelled to 200. We still got in, though, and got what we wanted. My wife realized that some sale items had no limit on how much you could buy. Lets just say we got most of the couples we know got cheap $50 flat screen TV’s from us for Christmas. For me, I got my coveted tablet. For my daughter, she got a memorable experience that inspired a seeming undying love for camping. Whether I want to or not, I’m willing to bet that will will be doing it again this year.
My Tips for Black Friday Camping
- Possession is 2/3rds of the game. Get your stuff there early. People reserve their spots with their camping equipment. Some I didn’t see until the night of the event.
- Make friends with those around you. They’ll save your spot and you’ll save theirs when you need it.
- Plan a list of things to buy and don’t expect to get them all. If it’s too good to be true, they probably don’t have that many to give out. Other products they will have more than you could ever want..if you are up close.
- Group it. If you have family members, rotate them through and show up for that night. More hands get more items faster when the door opens.
- Bring Good Shoes, a warm jacket, and something to read. There will be A LOT of down time and a good book, a charged phone, etc will get you through a lot of boredom.
- An RV is a possible option worth considering. You’ll need chairs to stake spot, but an RV nearby is great for rotating out people waiting, for bathroom stops and for inviting new friends.
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