A phenomenon seemingly unique to the US that occurs immediately after Thanksgiving Thursday i.e. midnight onwards, which also marks the beginning of Christmas shopping.
On this day, participating retailers mark down prices in the hope of increasing sales volume large enough to help them go back from ‘red’ (loss) back into the ‘black’ (profit). Items on sale (at the outlets) are typically out of season, for clearance, limited sizes or could be a tad faulty. But they’re all authentic, all new, and all genuinely cheaper.
Being Singaporean and completely fascinated by this, we decided that we ought to try and make one trip to North Carolina that coincides with this period. We’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving, in wintery November, and in a typical American neighbourhood; We’ve never gone shopping past midnight with our tummies full of turkey; We’ve never ever not slept because we wanted to shop for Christmas or any other reason.
We arrived at the Premium Outlets at Smithfield around 2am and left in the afternoon at about 3pm. We walked and walked from twilight till dawn and past noon, lugging around our bags of stuff, completely mesmerized by the discount labels hanging in our faces. We had one meal in between – pancake breakfast at Cracker Barrel (YUMS!!!) – and forged ahead till we finally broke and craved for rest.
This was a couple of years ago. Looking back, I think it must be one of the craziest things we’ve done. Not sleeping at night to go shopping makes you delirious and lightheaded. And it makes you lethargic the next few days.
That said, it was utterly fun and I would do it all over again.
[First published:3 Apr 2011]