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Holiday specials abound in out-of-the-way places

- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 22, 2012

Botox, booze and bulldogs. They're all among the oddball items that retailers will discount as part of Black Friday specials this year.

Department and electronics stores are typically among the most visited destinations for deal-seeking crowds who indulge in day-after-Thanksgiving shopping sprees, but that doesn't mean other businesses won't be offering atypical discounts.

The Washington Animal Rescue League will for the first time slash adoption fees for cats and dogs.

"We're always looking for a different way to try to increase people's interest in adopting a pet," said rescue league spokesman Matt Williams. "Most people are out and about on that Friday, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to try."

Adoption fees for all dogs six months and older will be 50 percent off the normal fee, which can range from $150 to $300, Mr. Williams said. All cats six months and older will be available for an adoption fee of $10, down from the usual $50.

With approximately 200 animals available for adoption at the District facility at 71 Oglethorpe St. NW, Mr. Williams said the rescue league is encouraging people to stop by the shelter between noon and 7 p.m., even if it's just to window shop.

"You get to see puppies and kittens and hopefully you will find a new family member there. But if you don't, still it's a great time," he said.

The National Retail Federation estimates that as many as 147 million people are planning to shop over the three-day Black Friday weekend. Predicting that weary shoppers may need a little something to take the edge off following their whirlwind shopping excursions, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is offering discounts on select spirits and wines. Customers who purchase $50 or more will receive a 10 percent discount off their entire purchase and certain items will be marked down by 25 percent to 50 percent.

"This is a unique opportunity for our retail customers to purchase quality items at reduced prices," ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley said in a statement. "For individuals interested in trading up to more premium brands for themselves or as gifts, the discount will help offset the higher cost."

All Virginia ABC stores will open at 9 a.m. Friday but two in Fairfax, located at the Fairfax Court and Fair Lakes Shopping Centers, will at 7 a.m.

Another Virginia retailer will be discounting art supplies, handmade ornaments and other goods made by local artists. The catch? The items and demonstrations for art forms such as glass blowing can be found at Workhouse Arts Center -- a former prison. The Lorton Reformatory, which operated as a prison and rehabilitation facility for the District from 1910 to 2001, was transformed into the art center in 2008. From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., it will be open to shoppers browsing for gifts or those simply interested in learning about the history of the former prison and its new tenants.

For those dragging Thanksgiving gluttony guilt around with their shopping bags Friday, a gym in Annapolis is offering discount memberships to those eager to burn off the extra calories consumed during the feast.

Premier Fitness boasts a Black Friday membership special that lets new members sign up for a two-year contract for $39 a month. For those who sign up for a one-year contract, the gym will knock $150 off the full-year cost of $624, membership consultant Brandon Bohonek said.

"There is definitely a surge of people coming in on Black Friday," Mr. Bohonek said, adding that people often are trying to make up for overeating on Thanksgiving or getting an early start on New Year's resolutions. "We always try to do something around the holidays, but this is the best deal we've had in awhile."

Around the country, other kooky deals abound. In case the post-holiday shopping stress has wrinkles setting in, a Beverly Hills, Calif., plastic surgeon is offering a few fixer-upper deals.

At Simoni Plastic Surgery, Botox injections are half off and other procedures are being offered at steep discounts to those who book them on Black Friday.

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