Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Madness

Well, I'm back after a semi productive day shopping and taking care of business around the house. You cannot blame any economic woes in the NY Metro area on us, that's for sure.

We spent the day buying a reclining sofa and loveseat for the new house. Mrs. Lawhawk and I have been eying this combination for a while now, and decided to get it ordered and delivered before New Years. It was at the price we figured it to be and it [would] give us quite a few good years of use.

We also took care of some of our holiday shopping. By the time we hit the road for the shopping centers in Bergen County, it was after 2 pm. It must have been a good move because traffic wasn't bad at all on Rt. 4 East or West, even near the Garden State Plaza.

Target was quite busy, and their best television deal, a 19 inch LCD with DVD built in for $199, was sold out. We figured we didn't have much chance anyway, but we did get a few other gifts and some other needed items. We then headed over to Costco in Hackensack, and it was again busy, but not overwhelmingly so. No major deals to be had on the televisions we were looking for (under 27 inches for the bedroom), but did pick up a few needed foodstuffs.

From there, we headed to Paramus Park Mall, and the mall was busy, but it wasn't an insane asylum as it sometimes can be. We didn't buy anything there, but did head over to Pier 1 where we saw yet another gift, before calling it a day.

In all, excluding the sofa and loveseat, we spent a little more than last year to this point. Including the sofa and loveseat, we definitely spent quite a bit more than in past years. However, we're not quite done yet, and we do a combination of shopping online and in the stores because there are some items that you need to be able to see and feel to know whether they're a good item to get or not.

For those that aren't quite familiar with Northern New Jersey, Paramus is the shopping mecca of the region - and has the highest concentration stores of anywhere in the country outside of Midtown Manhattan. Four major malls (Garden State Plaza - recently completed major expansion including new restaurants, movie theaters, and more stores; Shops at Riverside - upscale; Paramus Park; and Bergen Town Center) and hundreds more stores line only a few square miles centered on the interchange between Route 4 and Route 17.

The Road Warrior notes that Paramus is also a speed trap mecca for police catching out of staters doing their shopping, but during the major holidays, finding someone speeding as they're inching through traffic can be tough. That said, do not drive on the shoulders if you think you're going to get ahead of traffic that way. Police will ticket you for unsafe driving, even if you were trying to get into a store parking lot just ahead (it's a similar story near the George Washington Bridge approach on Rt. 4.

There is one benefit of shopping in Paramus. The stores are not allowed to open by law before 7am. That means you can sleep in just a bit compared to the poor saps elsewhere who have to try and brave the 4am door busters. The Shops at Riverside didn't open before 8am, which is great if you're seeking out luxury items at that upscale mall.

UPDATE 11/24/2007:
Bill Ervolino provides his take on the Garden State Plaza Black Friday experience. The article also provides some statistics on sales over the past decade. Even a down year is still a year in which the year over year sales increased. The difference is that they aren't growing as much as the prior year.

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