Karl and I finally had a free weekend, so we ventured out for some camping! It was lovely. We grilled pizza...
We drank beer...
We shopped for bait...
We had ice cream several times...
And on Saturday morning, I got up early to drive back in to Madison to go to the annual American Girl warehouse sale. Karl was more than happy to sleep in a little bit in the tent.
American Girl is based just outside of Madison, in the town where I work. Every year, they sell off their catalog returns and overstocks at a big sale that benefits the local children's museum. I usually go to shop for out-of-state friends; this year, I was shopping for a couple of friends way out west in Washington state.
The sale is pure craziness, beginning to end. And I mean that in the best possible way. I always look for an excuse to go because for whatever reason, I love it. Shoppers order tickets way in advance, and each ticket is assigned an entry time. The earlier the better, because selection dwindles as the day goes on.
Arriving at the sale is like diving into a sea of minivans. Someone should schedule a minivan owners' convention for the same weekend. Our tiny little Yaris (with a canoe on top) fit right in. There is a shuttle bus to the warehouse in case you buy so many dolls you can't walk them all to your minvan.
Approaching the warehouse:
Vendors set up booths outside the warehouse to sell handmade clothing and other items for American Girl dolls. It always strikes me as odd that this is allowed, but everyone seems happy about it.
Ticket holders are corralled into a big tent and lined up by entry time. The entry times are every 15 minutes, and I think there are 100 ticket holders for each entry time. Which means that every 15 minutes, 100 additional people enter the sale. It works, though, because it really doesn't take long to shop.
Most people go in with lists, and the merchandise is really well organized. There is a running list by the door that lets shoppers know which dolls are still available; when one of them sells out, her name is removed from the list. It's a little bit like The Bachelor in reverse, as presumably the least desirable girl is the last one standing.
The check-out area is really impressive. Volunteers quickly total up your purchases and ring up the sale. The sale organizers truly have this event running like a well-oiled machine. A well-oiled machine with tons of minivans and frantic women, that is.
After dropping my American Girl finds off at home, I drove back out to the campsite to join Karl for canoeing, fishing, and more ice cream eating for the rest of the weekend!