Shopping Discussion

How was your Black Friday shopping experience in the States?? This was mine!

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  • Nov 30th, 2011 1:25 pm
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Aug 15, 2003
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How was your Black Friday shopping experience in the States?? This was mine!

I've been to Niagara/Buffalo outlet shopping two to three times before, but as BF virgins, we decided to trek to Pennsylvania to see what all the "madness" was about. My personal agenda was not to doorcrash, but rather pick up goods I had ordered online and hopefully land some decent deals on shoes and clothing at the mall/outlet. Millcreek and Grove City were both ranked in the Top-20 for best shopping malls in US and the majority of people we talked to prior to the trip had great things to say. It seemed like the hype was justified, so why not experience it ourselves?

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?
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Nov 18, 2003
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Only steal I came across was a pair of Asics Gel Frantic 5s for $29.99 at Foot Locker... last one they had, and was my size.
[OP]
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Aug 15, 2003
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InvisibleSoul wrote:
Nov 28th, 2011 1:20 am
Only steal I came across was a pair of Asics Gel Frantic 5s for $29.99 at Foot Locker... last one they had, and was my size.

I didn't even get a chance to visit FL. How were the rest of the sales?
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May 23, 2003
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GTA
MtX wrote:
Nov 28th, 2011 1:10 am
. 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?

I.e you declared the goods and weren't required to pay anything? Or you managed to sneak the stuff across the border?

My favourite part of your story was your excitement about McDs Chicken McNuggets being so cheap, and you getting sick.. haha

I didn't go over for Black Friday but happened to go over on Saturday night to Niagara Falls, NY/Buffalo for dinner/movie/etc with friend that lives in the area. Border wait time was about 10 minutes around midnight but we saw a HUGE wait when we were heading over to come back into Canada.
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I lined up at Best Buy in Chelsea (NYC). Got in line around 10:45 PM and there were already 200+ people in line. I didn't get any big ticket items though I had a chance to get a coupon for the Transformer.

We got in to the store around 12:45 AM and snagged some video games, Blu-Rays, 3D Blu-Rays & a portable hard drive.
[OP]
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YLSF wrote:
Nov 28th, 2011 5:11 pm
I.e you declared the goods and weren't required to pay anything? Or you managed to sneak the stuff across the border?

My favourite part of your story was your excitement about McDs Chicken McNuggets being so cheap, and you getting sick.. haha

I didn't go over for Black Friday but happened to go over on Saturday night to Niagara Falls, NY/Buffalo for dinner/movie/etc with friend that lives in the area. Border wait time was about 10 minutes around midnight but we saw a HUGE wait when we were heading over to come back into Canada.

Border agent asked us some general questions.....then came the "how much did you spend in total?" question. My two passengers in the front replied "around $900" and just as I was about to declare $1500, he waved us through. I had my items all tallied up plus receipts in my hand and the agent didn't even bother waiting for my response! I was soooooooooo lucky!

I guess it also depends on which bridge you take as well. Less Canadians going to Pennsylvania = no waiting at the Peace Bridge.... Coming from Buffalo/Niagara? different story.
psyko514 wrote:
Nov 28th, 2011 9:41 pm
I lined up at Best Buy in Chelsea (NYC). Got in line around 10:45 PM and there were already 200+ people in line. I didn't get any big ticket items though I had a chance to get a coupon for the Transformer.

We got in to the store around 12:45 AM and snagged some video games, Blu-Rays, 3D Blu-Rays & a portable hard drive.

That 3TB deal was great.... BB reps had no clue hard drive production ceased!!
Sr. Member
Jan 5, 2009
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Toronto, ON
Your adventure sounds like one of those "remember that time?" haha

I think your story was the true deal heading down there, cheers for a good read
Deal Addict
Nov 11, 2008
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Toronto
MtX wrote:
Nov 30th, 2011 12:13 am
Border agent asked us some general questions.....then came the "how much did you spend in total?" question. My two passengers in the front replied "around $900" and just as I was about to declare $1500, he waved us through. I had my items all tallied up plus receipts in my hand and the agent didn't even bother waiting for my response! I was soooooooooo lucky!

I guess it also depends on which bridge you take as well. Less Canadians going to Pennsylvania = no waiting at the Peace Bridge.... Coming from Buffalo/Niagara? different story.



That 3TB deal was great.... BB reps had no clue hard drive production ceased!!

Without fail, every time I crossed the border over a certain amount on a day trip, they automatically asked me to pay tax / applicable duty.

Has anyone else actually been let through without paying after stating that they're bringing back $900 or more?
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Feb 10, 2007
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MtX wrote:
Nov 30th, 2011 12:13 am
Border agent asked us some general questions.....then came the "how much did you spend in total?" question. My two passengers in the front replied "around $900" and just as I was about to declare $1500, he waved us through. I had my items all tallied up plus receipts in my hand and the agent didn't even bother waiting for my response! I was soooooooooo lucky!

I guess it also depends on which bridge you take as well. Less Canadians going to Pennsylvania = no waiting at the Peace Bridge.... Coming from Buffalo/Niagara? different story.



That 3TB deal was great.... BB reps had no clue hard drive production ceased!!

You know how nice they can be if you're honest. It's the liars they love to catch. They have absolutely full authority to let you go without paying a cent. Nice purchases!!!
BlackJays wrote:
Mar 13th, 2010 6:02 pm
shame has been acheived
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May 9, 2009
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MtX wrote:
Nov 30th, 2011 12:13 am
That 3TB deal was great.... BB reps had no clue hard drive production ceased!!
I would have had to wait in line for another hour in order to get the 3 TB drive. I settled for the 750 GB drive instead. I had no clue that there were supply issues for hard drives until a co-worker mentioned it yesterday.
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Mar 3, 2008
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all I keep thinking is 35 Nuggets? That is a crazy amount.
Think much, speak little, write less.

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