Were you one of the freaks of nature that was out and about between the hours of 12 am and 6 am on Friday? Did you power thru this morning ordering up a storm online?
As a veteran of the retail wars, black friday was our Super Bowl. The way we survived was to make a sport out of it. We’d have a pool on how many fights would break out, what product would run out first, or how many people would be at the door at opening time . If you were a rude customer, forget it. Let’s just say your day got twice as long and you didn’t get the savings that were promised in the flyers. I worked for Nobody Beats the Wiz, remember that outfit? Yep, whatever you heard about that place was true. We got the best of the best crazies.
For the past few years I would wander out into the fray at 4 or 5 am just for fun. It was great, Toy R Us, Walmart, Best Buy. More entertainment than a Creature Double Feature. Occasionally I’d find a cool bargain and pick up some Christmas loot.
This year seemed different. Could be a few reasons. The ante was definitely up’d. There were a whole slew of stores that opened up earlier, and those that used to open early were opening at midnight and some even opened Thanksgiving Day night. It was a fevered pitch between the flyers and advertisements.
So, this year, I actually had a mission to get some stuff. I woke up at 3:30 am. Not sure why, just happened that way. My wife, half awake, asked me what time it was. I told her it was almost 5 am otherwise she would have yelled at me to go back to sleep. But I was up, I was going to get there early and avoid the insanity I used to go and watch for fun.
- 3:45 am – Out the door
- 4:00 am – Dunkin Donuts , coffee, bagel
- 4 :10 am – Toy R Us
Here’s where I started to suspect things were not going to be smooth sailing.
- 4:15 am – was able to pull into the parking lot after a short traffic jam in front of the store
- 4:25 am – finally able to get a parking space, lot completely full
- 4:26 am – ambulance, police , and a fire truck show up.
- 4:30 am – I gain entrance to the store.
Now, I’ve seen crowded malls and busy stores, but this takes the cake. The main aisle is completely full of people and carriages. The left side of the aisle, they are facing the front of the store, the right side they are all facing the back of the store. Hmm …weird.
- 4:37 am – cops and paramedics push their way thru with a women strapped to a stretcher – A for effort lady, gotta admire those who sacrifice the body for sport.
- 4:42 – I finally make it to the electronics section. It’s literally wall to wall people.
I ask the one of the maybe 4 males I’ve come across so far what’s deal? and I quote” Dude, get while you can, see this line? I’ve been in for two hours. This line wraps around the store twice, I was in this spot two hours ago, but i was facing the other direction. ”
- 4:52 am – I make the front door and get out into the open, free !!! Free at last…
A bit dramatic, yes, but by the look of despair on my fellow man’s face in the store made me take a moment to appreciate the fresh air. Screw it, a $40 savings was not worth 3 hours of my life, and they probably were out of what I wanted to get anyway.
Ok, plan B, Best Buy , they had a killer Deal on a device I’ve been wanting to add to my pile of useless electronics, it’s right down the street. They open at 5am.
- 5:05 am – Best Buy Parking lot, looks like the tailgate party for any given super bowl.
- 5:10 am – I finish my quick guess count of people standing in line at the door. Approximately 300.
And it’s raining, freezing cold, easy decision, never even started to look for a parking spot, headed out……
Not sure what happened this year. Maybe it was the economic state of things that drove the buying public and retailers a bit mad this year and they all amped up their game for business and savings. Maybe it was just that I actually needed something and some perverse universal law kicked in and said you have a plan?! well not so fast.
- 5:39 am – back into bed
Maybe next year I’ll have better luck. Hope your Friday went better than mine. And it’s now the holiday season officially.
- Merry Christmas
- Happy Hanuka
- Habari Gani
- Happy Festivus for the rest of us.
- and a Happy new year