I usually try to post an image that’s cogent to the blog topic but in this case I don’t have one. I posted this image just cause I like it. But I digress….
I’m seeing all the ads on tv and in the print media for Black Friday. For those of you who have been living in caves for a while, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is usually the highest grossing day for retail sales of the year. I’m not sure when it started or when it became such a big deal but the ads now are overwhelming. Stores opening at 3:00am….4:00am….heck, some stores are even opening on Thursday which is seemingly unprecedented. In recent years there have been lots of “doorbusters.” Special deals available in limited quantities for a short period of time after the stores open. A marketing ploy designed to attract some folks to even camp out for a week in front of the store in order to be one of the first people in line to get the doorbusters. It’s gotten completely out of control.
I participated in Black Friday. Once. And will never again crawl out of bed at Dark-thirty to stand in line for hours on Black Friday. Here’s the story…
Back in the day when my kids were younger we always strived as parents to be as generous as possible around Christmas. Both Judy’s and my immediate families lived at least 500 miles away. We were too poor to fly the whole family to Wichita or Tulsa or Edmond or Rapid City for holidays. And for you youngsters, the speed limit at the time was 55mph on the Interstates. Even taking a chance and driving a little over the speed limit, 500 miles was a full day of travel. Which led to a conscious effort to over-indulge at Christmas despite trying to stretch our dollars.
One year the unthinkable happened…I didn’t have to work the Friday after Thanksgiving. We spent Thursday morning cooking turkey and fixins and going through the Thanksgiving Day sale ads from the Rocky Mountain News. I was so excited by not having to work that I temporarily lost my mind and agreed to be part of the Black Friday shopping excursion. That was my first mistake. We spent a good bit of time plotting our strategy. It was a big year for electronics so Judy and I came up with a plan of action that would send her to Best Buy and me to Circuit City for various bargains. I was the lucky one in that I was only tasked to get a couple stacks of blank cd’s (remember those?) and a small surround sound system for one of the kids. 2 items…no sweat. CC opened at 6:00am on Friday so I figured if I got there around 5 I would be in good shape…what a fool I was.
Friday morning I rolled into the CC parking lot around 4:55 and got my first surprise of the day. The parking lot was full and people were lined up nearly halfway around the building. My plan to be one of the first 10 or 20 people through the door was already off the rails. But I dutifully put on my gloves and beanie and joined the other pre-dawn lunatics waiting for the store to open. The doors opened exactly at 6:00 but I was so far back in line it took nearly 30 minutes for me to get in the door.
Once in the store I had an easier time of it. I’d been in the store before and knew exactly where to find the stuff I had come for. The crowds were fierce but in about 20 minutes I had my stuff and was standing in line for checkout…and standing in line for checkout….and standing in line for checkout. This particular store had only 3 registers. They were all opened and staffed but the sheer volume of customers checking out was overwhelming. I was in line for over an hour waiting to check out. I was a trooper though. After all, it’s for the kids.
Ultimately I got out of the store 3 1/2 hours after I rolled into the parking lot. I got the merchandise I went there for and secured the ability to make one of my kids happy at Christmas. But…..I got out of bed at 4:00am on a day when I should have been sleeping in. I stood in line over 1 1/2 hours waiting to get through the door and spend money then stood in line another 1 1/2 hours waiting to check out. And saved (drum roll please) $20. 4 hours out of my life…to save 20 bucks. That’s $5.00 per hour. Sorry, I haven’t worked that cheaply since 1972. There is nothing out there I need badly enough that I will ever participate in Black Friday again.
What’s your favorite (or least favorite) BF story?