Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday - A Consumer's Perspective

Notice the timestamp on this post. Yes, I was one of those idiots out in the wee hours of the morning shopping. I actually felt bad about myself but I couldn't pass up the deal. 'The" gift for our son was on sale and was 60% off. This means we could do more for him for Christmas and stay within budget. That is worth getting up at 4:30 AM to go shopping. YES 4:30 AM! The last time I got up this early I went deep sea fishing but I came back home with less.

I was already up at 4:30 AM so I got dressed, wet down my bed head, and headed out. We are in Charlotte with some friends and our son (who now has an awesome Christmas gift) was not sleeping well. When he woke us up I decided to head out. Off the L' Walmarto I went.

Okay, when I say L' Walmarto it is a little racial profiling. (Lord, please forgive me.) It is the Walmart in Charlotte that is in the Hispanic and poorer side of town. It is not as nice as the one in Thomasville or the one across town, but the deals were the same and it was the closest.

I arrived at 4:50 AM and people were lining up around their prey. Since this was a solo mission, I decided to mark my prey. I found the two items I was there for and at 5:00 AM when they released the hounds, I picked them up and was back at my car at 5:10 AM. My adrenaline was pumping a little, that happens when you are surrounded by people and you were remembering headlines from last Black Friday; Woman Dies in Walmart at Black Friday Shooting. I got back to the car and realized, "I'm wide awake!" I text from my wife told me that our son had taken my spot in the pull out sofa, so I had choice; (A) Go back to the house (B) Hit Target while I'm out. To Target I went. I found more deals and about 60% of our shopping is done. YEAH!

As this was my first Black Friday, Shopping at the Butt Crack of dawn, experience here are some of my reflections from this experience (and to really impress you all, I still have yet to have coffee, but that is only because I don't know where our friends store their coffee filters, may hunt for those after this post).

1. There are crazy people out there. Like those packs of "Coupon Coyotes" that circle during Triple Coupon week at Harris Teeter, there are friends who are there making this an event. They have showered, put on make-up and have coffee in their hands. They have intent and determination in their eyes and I simply got out of their way!
2. People are still selfish. When 5:00 AM hit I was near "THE GIFT" ready to grab a box but I seemed to be the only one. Two box towers down though there was a fight, well it never got to fists but people were grabbing them like crazy. These were big wheelish riding toys and 20 of them were gone by 5:01 AM. People were reaching for two and three and boxes were falling on people. This was a Black Friday moment but it ended peacefully.
3. People are nice. As the isles got smaller because of the carts and mass of humanity, people still said excuse me and thank you. People were not pushing others out of the way but then again I am in the polite South. I had some fun conversations to the sales associates and they were all polite and certeous towards me as well.
4. Stuff is not gone in the first mintue. I think I rolled into Target at 5:45 AM, they opened at 5:00 AM and there stood a cop and two associates with carts already packed with TVs in them and even more stacked behind them. It looked like there wasn't a huge crowd hunting those down like there was at Walmart. I was able to find everything I was looking for and nothing was picked over.

Would I do this again. Yes, if I know what I am getting people for Christmas ONLY. I am not going to head out without a list. That would not have worked well at all. The list simplified things and I only bought it if it was on sale.

I am tired though and in need of coffee. The house is starting to stir so maybe soon. GOOD MORNING!

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