Just a few years ago, I only had the faintest idea of when American Thanksgiving occurred. In Canada, we get it out of the way in early October while Americans get around to it in late November. I did not realize how important or long a holiday it was for them.
Besides my secret impression that Vancouver is a very American city, it just cannot be faulted for being located very close to the border, right? Another reason why I love where I live: it’s like a straight line drive from my place to 99S which becomes I-5. Sweet.
And it was only within the past few years that I opened my eyes and learned about Black Friday sales. My first trip was an unambitious and eye-opening midnight trip to the outlets in Tulalip, just north of Seattle. The past two Black Friday trips were more extended and strategically planned affairs!
Last year, 8 of us rolled together a Vegas trip with Black Friday shopping. I had no idea the girls had such stamina when it came to shopping and NPY and I had not clarified our expectations with each other: that I would be out shopping for 12 hours starting midnight Friday and the boys should find their own entertainment (or sleep) at the hotel!
This year, we got together 10 people to go to Portland (tax-free shopping within a 5-hour drive!) for a more shopping-heavy trip. And the guys were prepared this year. ;-) (Hey, remember when I was there just a year ago for my 3rd marathon?)It was a perfectly splendid trip thanks to the organization and the deal-hunting primarily by Suzal and the shopping and immigration expertise of Odny. (It was easier to plan a trip when you create “Bennifer”-like names for the couples. However, NPY’s and mine is not nearly as cool.) And I was really happy that although Kitran couldn’t join us until a little later, we could still spend a lot of time together.
Although the outlets are a verifiable buffet of deals and labels not available in Canada, NPY and I could only muster the energy to visit a few before we were overwhelmed. So we scored at the most “important” ones: the Banana Republic Factory Store for work clothes (and my fun clothes are from there, too); Nike to load up on running gear–for him and me this year!–for dirt cheap; getting Old Navy jeans for their true value ($19) but, oh, I wish I had the energy to find a pair of Lucky Brand Jeans when we saw them for $34.99; Kate Spade for a stupendously fabulous bright green patent leather wallet for non-fabulous me; and Nine West for replacement shooties (pictured). I visited a DSW (shoes) for the first time but found the $50 new arrivals shoes expensive ;-) I spent just the last 10 minutes of our 45-minute visit in the clearance section and walked away with two pairs of shoes for $50! (Note: one pair is actually a really dark green patent leather!)
Our dining experiences were also particularly memorable from kicking things off with Sizzler practically giving away food (8 of us dined for $34, one of us accidentally for free, albeit it was a truly crappy meal) to free onion rings the size of your head at RingSide. Our best meal was taken in 30 floors above Portland at the impressive Portland City Grill (Wagyu tenderloin, yum). And the strangest food we encountered was Voodoo Donuts: donuts are common fare but the spin they put on it was different. I far prefer Tim Hortons and Krispy Kreme!
So, for (American) Thanks giving, however belated now, I am grateful for supremely organized and shopping-ambitious friends who pulled the weekend together, drivers who put in so many hours behind the steering wheel, and the privilege to be able to spend a weekend with good friends and get away.