Black Friday Shopping
While others were anxiously awaiting Friday after Thanksgiving Sales for the video games, electronics and other shopping madness, in the Aker household we had just one thought in mind - fabric sales. Now, keep in mind that we have been gradually introduced to the world of bargain fabric shopping. I have gotten signed up for the JoAnn’s weekly sales flyers and learned to check each Sunday for the weekly sales, hoping that the flannel or fleece would be on sale. We purchase Fleece and flannel to make blankets for the babies in NICU and PICU at University of Iowa Hospital. We have quarterly workgroup meeting were volunteers get together and sew as many as 200 blankets in a weekend. We are constantly on the lookout for the best prices on fabric. But, I have never before partaken of the Black Friday madness at JoAnn’s fabric. I had heard about the fabulous prices on Flannel on this day. I have been dreaming about it for a month. At least once a week I had a nightmare where I dreamed that JoAnn’s wasn’t having the sale this year. Where were we going to get all the fabric needed to make the 800+ blankets a year that we donate? Thank goodness it was just a dream
Laura and I convinced her boyfriend Brian and Dad John to go with us for this mad dash shopping trip, with the promise of a good breakfast afterwards. We pulled up in front of the store a few minutes later then I had wanted to get there. Since there was a line at each door, we each took a door in the hopes that one of us would be able to get our hands on a shopping cart. When the manager opened the door, I, of course was in the wrong line and had to muscle my way into the correct line. I could see Brian and Laura ahead of me. As Brian reported later in wide eyed horror, some ladies tried to muscle their way past him and he had to perform a tricky “block” as Laura laid her hands on TWO carts. I rushed ahead to claim one from her. It was off to the flannel.
The aisles were already so jammed that I could only reach in and grab from the ends. From the corner of my eye I could see nifty manuevers like Moms in the aisle without the cart, handing bolts of fabric over the shelves to their waiting daughters who loaded the cart up. We will remember that one next year. I was able to rush the stack of fresh bolts on the end and grab the coveted “Sun, Moon, and Stars flannel.“ When the height of the fabric was over my head, it was off to the cutting table. By that time my husband had joined me.
We waited in line and watched a much fitter Laura going down to a crouch and coming up with arm loads of bolts which she handed to Brian. The bolts were stuffed into her cart, on the bottom, the sides and stacked so high that her 6+foot boyfriend could hide behind it. She kept shouting, “Should I keep going?“ “Why not?“, I replied. It was truly a beautiful sight. She started to get noticed. People were asking her what she was doing with all the flannel. She explained about The Preemie Project. Then other shoppers started offering her choice cute bolts. Finally, her cart was past the dangerous point and it was time to ease it into the cutting line.
It took about 45 minutes to get my load of fabric measured. We just said, “We want all of it from every bolt”. John unrolled the bolts, the salesperson measured and I folded. Quite a good system. We got quite a few exasperated sighs behind us. When mine was done I wandered the notions aisle waiting for Laura to get her turn. Just in time, another cutter came to work. We don’t think her eyes were quite open yet. We tried to joke around with her but she was not having it for the first 30 minutes. When she finally got loosened up we were able to get the “system” working again. By the time she was done, she was the best of friends with John after learning that they both are nurses at UIHC. When the last bolt was measured, we had been in the store for 3 hours.. We all kept guessing how much we were spending. By that time, we had quite a following. Next year we will definitely have a camera and some Preemie Project brochures to hand out.
When it came time to check out, the manager was at the register with the cashier. They were desperately afraid that the computer would not cooperate and they would have to enter each cut of fabric by hand. Then we had the total - $1032.05. We had to all cheer. What fun, what fun! We figure that we got about 640 yards of flannel. Michele Hogue, our other fabric shopper got about 400 yards at the Cedar Rapids store. We heard that they were cheering for her there also. Way to go TPP We definitely have enough flannel to last the entire year!!!! Thank you to everyone that sends craft sale items, bakes for the bake sales, helps at the gift wrap booth to raise funds. Thanks to your help and commitment, we are able to continue our mission.
We did not even bother to bag up the fabric. Here is my over loaded Honda Pilot. This is two days worth of fabric shopping. I went back on Saturday to pick up on the fleece sales. I did not even have time to look at the fleece on Friday. As we unloaded the fabric today, we marveled at very cute patterns we did not know we bought.
We spent hours on Saturday organizing the storage area under the stairs. We had to invest in 8 more large tubs to hold everything. A place for everything and everything in its place. I feel like we are ready for a great year. See you all at the workgroup weekends. Lots of cuteness to look forward to.