Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cheap and Crazy Go Hand in Hand

I’d like to thank my sister for giving birth on Wednesday, so that Friday was open for me to give Cheap a big, wet smoochie. Once a year, a kids furniture company in the area holds a warehouse sale, and there is precious little that would have made me miss it. If my dear sis had been in labor at the time, I probably would have asked to speak with a nurse for a professional opinion on when I absolutely had to get to the hospital, is what I’m saying.

The first I’d heard of this sale was 2 years ago (so, 3 sales ago), when my mom noticed an ad in the metro section of the newspaper. Since we were just finishing up construction on the playroom addition to our house, it seemed like a good time to look into furnishing the place. I think I leisurely took Sammy over to the folks that morning and drove on over, arriving about an hour and a half after the doors opened. Oh wow, did they have the stuff. Everything from bookshelves and kid beds to giant play kitchens and dollhouses. The prices seemed good, but I didn’t exactly have a basis for comparison. I bought 2 cabinets decorated like refrigerators (already assembled), a toy box, and 2 storage towers (luckily NOT assembled and therefore in flat boxes). Did I mention I was driving a Honda Civic? With a giant car seat in the back? Yeah. I had to tote each thing out to my car, and force them all inside like clowns at the circus.

Over the next year, I came to realize 2 things: I probably could have gotten a lot more stuff if I showed up for the start of the sale, and oh my golly, were there bargains to be had. I did research on the company’s product, especially the stuff I’d seem at the first sale. We’re talking 70% and better. That’s my kind of sale.

So for the next one, I recruited help. My mom and I concocted a plan. We’d send my dad to be a placeholder a bit early. I knew from before that you got a ticket that listed Your Number, which you needed to claim Stuff as your own. You flagged down a worker who would mark Your Stuff with masking tape and Your Number. Then, they’d write up a ticket, and you could go merrily about shopping without anyone else staking claim to Your Stuff. We had no idea how many people would be shopping, and we wanted the pick of the little. So off Dad went. I dropped off Sammy at preschool and picked up Mom (or rather, drove to her house, and we took her van from there – no more Civics for us). We were shocked when we got there and saw the line. I have no idea how many people there were. Bunches. Parking was a small challenge. The bigger challenge lay ahead – I was 8 ½ months pregnant at the time. But color me shocked when I saw a hand waving at me from the front of the line – Dad! Sweet!

I’m sure I annoyed a few hundred people by excusemeing myself up to the door, but I hope my girth gave some of them pause. Anyway, we got in, and I lost it. I started grabbing things and carrying them, hoarding Stuff until I could get the blessed blue tape smacked on them. But I wasn’t alone. I had 2 people with me who went just as crazy. To the point where we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to fit everything into 2 empty vans. But, seriously, it was completely worth the concern to have 2 vanfuls of awesome, well-constructed kid furniture for a couple hundred bucks. After shoehorning everything in, I was still crazy enough to start planning the attack on the next year’s sale.

And so, 2009 rolled around. Mom called to find out when the sale would be a few months prior so we could be ready (and pray that Sale Day and Baby Day wouldn’t coincide). This year, I had to take the kids, which I absolutely did not want to do, but it was either schlep them along or not go, and you know what route I was going to take. I came up with a scheme to send Sammy off to spend the night with my folks, so Dad could bring him to the sale (as placeholder #2), and I would bring Sabrina, who I would carry in a backpack (no stroller!). I arrived about a half hour early, and felt my heart sink. The line was even longer than the year before. I got parked, shoved the baby in the pack, and started dialing to see where my folks were in line. There were 2 lines this year, and I got in the first one I reached. Mom joined me, and the boys stayed in the first one. Also new this year: thanks to a fire code violation, they let in small groups at a time (very irritating to move forward a few places and see the door shut ahead), but we got in with the 4th group. I tried to be even savvier this year, and brought my own tape, like I’d seen other seasoned veterans do the year prior. Yes, again, the Crazy hit. Mom and I went nuts tagging Stuff until we were out of breath. We collected Our Stuff together as best we could, and looked out the window to see my dad and Sammy still not inside. But they joined us a few minutes later for another round of Crazy. We flagged down a ticket writer, checked out, loaded the vans (after a lot of schlepping by Dad and myself), and got the heck out of Dodge, all the while staring slackjawed at the lines that were even longer than the start. I don’t know what those people were going to buy. Everything was pretty much tagged at that point.

What a rush. My adrenaline was pumping from the moment I woke up that morning, and it didn’t let up until I got home with the goods. And now my kids have a newly decked out playroom, and most of the toys are either organized nicely or behind closed doors. And I’m already plotting for next year.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see the stuff you scored! I desperately need to organize the girls toy room, but don't know which direction I want to take it yet.