We Operation Christmas Child shoebox packers pray all the time for items to put into our shoeboxes. And we pray all the time for God to provide our international and national and regional goals. It's always so exciting to see how He answers day by day.
On some days I miss out on the good deals that God is bringing to someone else in another city, but, in reality, the deals they scoop up are answers to my prayers for more shoeboxes. So there's no need for SDE (Shoebox Deal Envy) and hearing about the bargains others find may just be the catalyst God uses to bring you some of your own. That's what happened to me today.
Yesterday my friend Amy posted on Facebook about the great deals she was finding at the liquidation sale at her local Babies R Us. Because of her post I was spurred to go check our local store also. Our store announced it was closing months ago and, as often happens with these liquidation sales, the 'sale' prices in the beginning were actually higher. I'd long ago stopped looking there.
Amy mentioned her store was closing today so I jumped in the car to check ours and found it was on the same timetable. Surprisingly the store was full of toys for older children--not babies. Those Barbie dolls, trains, and plush animals would be great shoebox items but at 80% off retail they were still too expensive for me.
I did find a few great deals for my grandson, though--a $150 lightweight stroller for $27 and a few other items.
I resolved to be back at the store first thing this morning in hopes of items being reduced to 90% off. My hopes were even higher as I stood in line outside the store before the store's 9:00 am opening in front of the sign that said everything was reduced "up to 90% off". Yeah, those words "UP TO" make a big difference.
When the doors finally opened we found much of the merchandise that was there the previous afternoon had disappeared and the toys were still at 80% off. These Barbie dolls were $3
and so were these adorable Masha dolls that are really two dolls in one with the skirt flipping back and forth to change the doll's appearance entirely...
I wanted a bunch of them, but I didn't want to spend $3.00, so I asked the manager if he'd reduce the price if I bought all of them. He said he couldn't do that. "Everything is up to the liquidation company, and they have a plan." I hung around until 10:00 walking around the store with my cart and praying for a price reduction. Finally I went home.
I kept praying and at 12:30 I decided to head back to the store. Just in time. As I walked in they were putting up the 90% off signs and I rushed to fill two carts with dolls and Barbies and these cute plush 'Chipmunks' for .90 each.
I had my eye on some other plush toys that were a bit smaller, but I didn't want to pay .80 for them. I was praying and hoping the price would drop to 95% off but there was no way to predict that. I took my haul to the car and went back into the store to buy some greeting cards at 90% off.
Again, I walked around and around the store then finally left to do some errands. Two hours later I made my way back to the store again.
As I walked in I saw the pile of plush 'Floogals' in a cart, and the signs still said 90% off. I saw the man I believed to be the liquidator and asked if he'd give me a lower price if I bought them all. He said, "I can't negotiate with you, but they are 95% off you know."
Well, no, I didn't know...but now that I did I started loading my cart and grabbed all 61 of them. They ended up being .40 each--pretty good for brand new plush.
The day netted me 187 nice dolls and plush toys for a total of $171--not too bad. That's 187 children who will be blessed because Amy shared on Facebook. I also got the longest store receipt I've had in several years. Just like the good old days...
By the way, Amy and her husband, Will, scored many carts full of nice items on their FOUR trips to their store. That's a LOT of shoebox love! And who knows how many others were prompted to check their stores and found their own shoebox stashes growing because they shared the tip.
If your Babies R Us store is still at 10% off keep following because you may end up with some great shoebox bargains down the road. Next we need to keep our eyes on the Toys R Us stores as they liquidate, too.
And let's keep sharing those deals because every one is an answer to ALL of our prayers to bless more and more kids--it's all about the kids, right? Kids R Us!