How was your Black Friday shopping experience in the States?? This was mine!
We departed Milton on Thursday evening and arrived at the Peace Bridge at 9PM. Traffic was light and it took under 1.5 hours. It took us less than a minute to cross the border as there was no lineup. Ate dinner at Mcds and arrived at the Millcreek Mall area just before midnight. On the way, we saw a line of 100-200+ deep at Best Buy. We didn't bother checking out Walmart. We went to Toys'R'Us, which was around ~100 deep, and waited for ~45 minutes to get inside (and they opened at 9PM WTF!). Once inside, the deals weren't that great.
I left for Millcreek Mall around 1AM and walked around for ~2.5 hours. The deals were cold. Half the stores in the mall were closed and the mall was full of kids that had nothing to do. Lines at Bonton and Macy's were long but I'm not sure why because their deals did not look great. Typical American clothing stores (Hollister, A&F, AE) prices were very comparable to Toronto. Overall, the Millcreek Mall experience was a complete waste of time...
Next up, we dropped by Best Buy at ~4AM-ish for fun. The crowd had long dissipated and the store felt almost abandoned. This is where I scored my first big purchase. The 42" 1080P $200 TVs and 3TB $100 drives were all OOS but by pure luck, I was able to snag the last Asus EEE Pad Transformer and keyboard docking station for $350! I didn't need one, but how could I say 'no' to a deal like that?!
When 6AM hit, it marked 24-straight hours of "uptime" for our brain so we napped for 2 hours. Woke up, had breakfast, and went to my Kinek point in Erie to pickup my parcels. I ordered 4 items in total and used a third-party parcel receiving service called Kinek. I chose Kinek because they were open during BF weekend (unlike CBIUSA), they offer cheap, competitive rates, and they have convenient locations all over the States. I was happy with the service. All my items came in one piece. I showed ID, picked up my stuff, paid ~$40 and left in under 5 minutes. I would not hesitate to recommend Kinek.
We killed the next 4 hours by checking out Target and Home Depot. There was nothing special at HD but Target was actually interesting. I loaded up on Ricola/Halls cough drops ($1.69/$1.29 vs 2-3x the price at Shopper's) and other household/bathroom items that are normally 30-40% more expensive in Canada. Although these items are relatively inexpensive to begin with, it still felt good knowing I wasn't overpaying and getting ripped off like we do in Canada.
It was around 1230PM now so we had lunch and drove to the Grove City Premium Outlets. Boy, it seemed like yet another complete waste of time. Prices at Nike were normal and I expected way more "additional discounts". Still, I bought what I needed to buy at Nike because I had to and a small discount is still better than no discount at all. Couple hours later, we checked in at our Super8 hotel and decided to nap for a bit. I reserved my room at the Middlesex location for $74.99/1 night weeks ago. Despite being only a 1-2**, the Super8 was actually quite decent; bathrooms and bed looked clean and they had a nice 42" Samsung LCD (no crappy tubes).
It was dinner time and we all scored this time. We walked into a Mcds and saw a box of 50 chicken nuggets for $9.99 plus 2 large fries + 2 large drinks for $5.00! What a steal! I consumed 35 nuggets and felt sick afterwards haha. We all went straight back to our rooms after such a gourmet meal. Next morning (Saturday), we went back to the outlets for a full day of shopping. I was personally looking for work clothes, nice shoes, sports wear, and a winter jacket. More disappointment. Under Armour had select-item sales, Timberland was BOGO 50% (And WTF??? their boots were cheaper in Buffalo by 30-40% 2-3 years ago), GAP and Banana Republic did not impress me, Rockport was garbage, and overall the deals were just cold.
My wallet was safe... until I randomly walked into a Woolrich store and found steal #3 (aside from the Asus EEE Pad and Mcd nugges). Discontinued Canada Goose-style bomber jacket/parkas (80% goose down/20% feather, authentic coyote fur, Made in USA) were being sold at a fraction of a normal CG jacket so I picked up 3, one for myself and 2 more for friends/families. What a steal considering CGs go for $550+ and these high quality Made in USA parka/jackets were going for a fraction of that price. Just my lucky day as it was very random and unplanned.
With 48-hours fast approaching, we finished up our shopping, ate dinner, then drove to the border. We got to the Peace Bridge around midnight and once again, traffic was virtually non-existent. There were zero lineups at the border and we managed to cross into Canada without paying a cent of customs/duties on ~$3,000 worth of items purchased via 3 people. Can you say lucky once more?