Jolt to the economy

Thanksgiving. Time for family. Time for food comatose-s. Time for shopping!

DAY 1 & 2 : Thursday & Friday Nov. 26 & 27, 2009

We picked my Canadian aunt aka Ta Mai up from Newark in the morning. We hung out a bit at home, before leaving for my other aunt’s place in Wayne for lunch/dinner at 2 pm. The spread was mouth-watering. We had the traditional turkey, stuffing, a salad made of celery, tomato, almonds in a sun-dried tomato pesto, seafood and kilbasa paella, and french beans with mushroom and carrots casserole. After two helpings, we adjourned from the dining room to the dessert room and proceeded with our next course. This year’s turkey was extra moist and extra yum-o-licious. Dessert was peach jello, pumpkin and blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream, spicy and tangy cashews with lime, sweet potato chips and liquored chocolates. Phew!

The Thanksgiving spread

The Thanksgiving spread

Before we left the house for lunch/dinner, I made sure I wore my tightest jeans – so that I would stop when my gut started pressing against the waistline of the jeans. That brilliant idea didn’t work. We were all sitting on our sides by the end of the day, trying to distribute the extra weight evenly. Hubs left about 7 pm to go home to Jessie. While he was away, we convinced my Wayne aunt, to join us on our shopping excursion. With the blessing of my uncle, she too came along. Hubs finally returned from walking and feeding Jessie at about 9:30 pm.

We went straight to Woodbury Common hoping to miss out on last year’s traffic fiasco by taking a different more scenic route there. The plan worked brilliantly. When we got there at 10:15 pm, the parking lot was 80% filled. The first shop opened only at 9 pm. Upon checking the consensus, we found out that some were there since 7:30 pm, way before the first store was opened its doors. And so began the amazing race!


We walked through Off Fifth and slammed right into a bustling crowd, and headed towards A/X, quickly splitting from both our aunts. Hubs and I walked into Kenneth Cole on our way there, and Cheh branched off into BCBG, making her first of many purchases of the night. After a disappointment in KC, we walked towards A/X and happen upon a long and winding line that wrapped around the building of Gucci. There were at least 200 people on that line, and the store wasn’t even opened yet. Psychos! So we finally got to A/X and waited on a much tamer line, in the cold, to get in. When we neared the entrance, I texted Cheh for her to come quickly so that she too can join me without waiting in line. She came just in time to be ushered in together with me. While we were waiting on the A/X line, I saw a formidable line in front of us and wondered what store that line led to.

In A/X, I bought a few Christmas presents for friends we will be visiting in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur this December. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes after waiting in line for about 20 minutes.


I strolled up to the end of the formidable line from before and asked the last person which line this is for. “Coach.” Nice.  That would be my cue. Ten minutes into the wait, I told hubs I’ll check out the baby store (for two of my friends who will be first time mothers from home). Ralph Lauren baby store sucks. Why bother opening up shop when you’re not going to give discounts – I take that back – SHITTY discounts. The deal was to force you to spend $150 just to get 20% off.  I’m not THAT sucker. So I walked out of the store and went back to a waiting hubby. After standing there for 5 minutes, I told him I had to pee.

“Didn’t you JUST go before you left the house?!”

Yes, but…

So off to the toilet I went. There was a line, but it was a moving line. I returned to the Coach line, exactly where I last left hubs. Then it was his turn to go to the toilet. I guess HE had a longer line. After he returned, there were no more excuses to escape the waiting. As we hunkered down for the long haul “home” hubs told me I would have to treat him coffee for standing out in the cold with me for Coach. Fine. Next target – the coffee hut 10 feet up ahead. When we finally inched up there, we saw this sign, “Hot cocoa! ONLY $3.25.” He changed his mind. Night-time robbery at the Coach line.

As we moved up towards the snaking line, hubs told me to run up ahead to check out the other deals at other stores. I got to DKNY – 50% off entire store and strolled in after 5 minutes of waiting. Not too bad. Weaved in and out of the in-store crowd and almost got a brolly until I saw the paying line. I dropped it like a hot potato and went back to report to hubs about the jeans that were on sale for him. It was his turn to gallavant while I text both my sister and my aunts to join me on the Coach line. He came back empty-handed, but my sister already had a good three bags going for her. My aunt from Wayne too was only too happy to show her ware – a Michael Kors brown leather bag. Ta Mai said that we were mad, and walked off. Cheh then waltzed off to Calvin Klein and I split from the line after Wayne aunt convinced me to visit the MK store. I stood in line again, (surprise!) but only for about 10 minutes, before I left the cold for the warmth of the store. I left the store after one round of perusing.

As I ran back to the Coach line, disillusioned by how quickly the line would move, the links to my Un Apres Midi de Chien sling bag unhooked, hurling my bag two feet away from me, into the Coach line. Embarrassed, I hurriedly picked up my strewn bag and went looking for the “team.” Thank goodness for hubby’s height (standing out among the Asians surrounding him) AND the saving-grace-red-jacket he wore. Back to the waiting. As I pulled on my hoodie and hubs wiped off his leaky nose, Cheh scurried back in line only to run off to Cole Haan and back again to lament that they did not have her boots that she was looking for.

Two hours later, in the increasing morning cold, victory was almost ours. At 2 am just before we reached the finishing line, Canadian aunt stopped by to check on our status and we cajoled her into joining us – without the pain of waiting. She declined and went in search for Samsonite. We were ushered into a madhouse. Women and men alike had arm-load of bags hanging off their wrists. It was a crazy rush to find the best bag at the best price. At the last sighting of Wayne aunt before we left the store, she too had that similar image with bags upon bags draped on her arm/wrist. Hubs, after standing in line for so long, was determined to purchase something. He finally found an ivory leathered bag for his sister. I found nothing. He told me to look harder, ensuring that our 2-hour wait was not in vain. I found nothing to my liking until we walked up to the cashier and I saw another lady carrying an off-white medium-sized leather bag with buckles on the side. I asked her where she got it from, and she directed me to the clearance section, but mentioned that it was the only one there. Not wanting to believe that that was the only model, I dashed back there, searching frantically for a sign of that bag in the same area that I passed earlier. As I became the mad shopper, I saw a tiny white leather pouch sitting by itself. Not what I wanted but, I held on to it – just in case. Hubs too followed my lead and started flipping bags to find my elusive satchel. I even flagged down a salesperson to ask if they have an extra one hiding somewhere behind the store. After repeatedly describing the bag to a few salesperson, I received my bad news. THAT was the only one. Dejected, I told hubs we were leaving. As I stood in line, again, to pay, I checked the bags we were getting and found tiny cuts on hub’s bag for his sister. We went back to look for a replacement. While there, I picked up a similar bag to mine since I realized how cheap it actually was. First if was 30% off the Original MSRP. Then there was an additional 50% off of the reduced price. For standing in the cold for 2 hours, we got an additional “early bird” 20% off.  Not really satisfied, but not wanting to linger in the store anymore, we paid for our spoils of war.


Disappointed, we went to Chloé at 2:30 am.  And stood in line again. For a tiny store, with barely three people in at one time, there was actually a long line. So near yet so far. We must have stood out there for another 45 more minutes before a hurly-burly bouncer let us in. My legs and back were screaming by then. The sweater, scarf, long coat that weighed nothing at the start of our spree started to feel like stones. This store was SO NOT WORTH the effort and time. After we left, we made a quick stop at Furla, and by then I had no more patience for shopping anymore. Cheh still had the energizer bunny on her side. I called it quits and met the rest.

We finally left Woodbury Common a little after 4 am, with nothing to show for, except three Coach bags and some shirts from A/X for me. Wayne aunt and Cheh did better. A Michael Kors and six Coach bags for Wayne aunt. A jacket from BCBG, wares from Coach, CK, A/X and Furla  for Cheh. Ta Mai, on the other hand, came home empty-handed. After dropping Wayne aunt off, we reached home after 5 am.  Upon reaching home, when Ta Mai realized the actual price we paid for our Coaches, she regretted not going into the store with us. Her lost, my gain. Almost.

Unable to function at that hour anymore, we all dropped like flies. I finally woke up at 11 am, still tired, but not wanting to waste the day anymore. When everyone was up, we had lunch and went shopping – again – just to walk off lunch. We went to Target to try to get Ta Mai’s $88 Nikon Coolpix 10 megapixel camera, but it was sold out. Then we stopped at DKNY in the Secaucus outlet and, once again, Cheh found something to buy.

We did so much shopping those two days, that the days melded together so seamlessly.

DAY 3: Saturday Nov. 28. 2009

Off to more shopping. The day began at 7:30 am. First stop Loehmanns – first 400 customers receive $25 off a $50 purchase.  Good enough for me to hike all the way to East Hanover. However, it turned out to be another sub par shopping morning for me. All I got were baby clothes for friends. I can’t say the same for Cheh, who came out with two pairs of boots, two bags and more clothes.

The next stop was Jersey Gardens, the final outlet. It was slim pickings until we saw the Cole Haan store at the end of the day. Hubs was at AT&T trying to change his sim card. Ta Mai wanted to go to Kenneth Cole because Cheh showed her the luggage that she got. My duty was to take Ta Mai to that store, while Cheh waited with all our wares. But I saw Cole Haan. So the three of us waltzed into the store that screamed “75% off everything in store!” Ta Mai went looking for KC herself, as I dashed out of the store looking for her, only to see hubs walking towards me. When my aunt came back into Cole Haan, we each had a pair of shoe to purchase, not to mention a few bags we were deciding on.

At last call, hubs and I each got a pair of shoe and two bags. Cheh having bought two pair of boots earlier decided against another pair, but got a mustard-colored leather bag instead. Even Ta Mai got a bag too.

When hubs pulled the car around to pick us up, stuffing the wares into the booth was a challenge. There was the luggage. There were boxes for two pairs of boots and two pairs of shoes. There was a mountain of paperbags filled with wares.

The damage

The damage

Got home and had to put gas into the poor car, which started out with a full tank on Wednesday night. Reached home, checked out our goodies, and after walking and feeding Jessie, we left for dinner at a Korean Restaurant. Tired and full at the end of the day, I crept into bed finally at 10 pm – but not before packing and wrapping some of the gifts for our trip home, only to realize some of the baby clothes still had the theft-sensors on them. Great! Will have to return to Loehmanns to get the tags removed sometime next week. I think I’ve had enough of shopping for a while.  And I am going to give my bank a little rest.

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