My brief, woeful foray into Black Friday

To the best of my memory, I’ve never shopped on Black Friday before.  For all but a handful of the past twenty years I’ve spent Thanksgiving in Philadelphia, and so it didn’t make much sense to go shopping there, only to lug it back home here, and though my family is no stranger to American consumerism, they never seemed much interested in braving the crowds.  But I know a bargain when I see it, and when I found myself inexplicably awake at 6AM, I decided to head on down to Fry’s to grab a 19-inch LCD HDTV for only $178, and maybe a couple of digital picture frames.

Jesus Christ… I had no idea.

After walking a quarter mile from the nearest open parking space, I found the aisles of the giant warehouse store clogged by a daunting check out line that made the Bataan death march look like a slow day at the 7-Eleven.  A seemingly endless parade of dazed bargain hunters, their shopping carts as engorged as their turkey filled bellies, slowly snaked around empty palettes of sold-out sale items, their contents long picked clean of their advertised prizes.  It was reminiscent of the scene in Lawrence of Arabia where the Arab forces loot the Turkish train… only more chaotic and less beautifully photographed.  As I stood there inspecting the carnage, I imagined a splendidly robed figure strutting atop the overturned shelving that once housed the 52-inch screens (1080P, 120Hz, “major name brand,” only $1198) while the warehouse echoed with the thunderous roar of shoppers triumphantly chanting “Awrence!  Awrence! Awrence!”

The 19-inch HDTVs?  Gone.  The picture frames?  Gone.  The 32GB USB flash drives, which I didn’t really need, but how could I pass one up for only $29.99? Gone.  Not that it really mattered, as there was no way in hell I was going to append myself to the end of that interminable line—assuming I could even find it—all for the sake of such trifles.

“Three hours… maybe four… who knows?” a stunned store clerk estimated when I asked how long the wait might be, and that alone was more than enough to send me home empty handed, no matter how enticing the bargain.  It was only then, as I trudged back to my car, that I noticed the piles of refuse littering the sidewalk, clear evidence that the line inside had once wrapped around the building’s exterior, where eager shoppers had obviously camped out, hours before the store’s ridiculously early, 5AM opening.

So this is Black Friday.  I’d heard about it.  I’d read about it.  I’d watched it on TV.  But I never knew, until today, how black a Friday it could really be.

By 7:30AM I was back at home, a cup of hot tea in hand, browsing for bargains from the comfort of my own living room.  Oh look… a 19-inch LCD HDTV, only $199, with free shipping from Best Buy.  Sure, it’s a little more money, but it doesn’t require a four-plus hour wait in line.  And given my experience this morning, that’s what I call a bargain.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Six months from now you’ll be able to buy a 52-inch TV for $500 at Fred Meyer and street corner vendors will be hawking them (along with wood carvings) out of their vans for $375.

  2. 2

    YLB spews:

    An interesting odyssey into the American nightmare.

    For this our military men and women die in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey You Global Warming Deniers!

    2008 was one hell of a hurricane season that smashed records right and left! To wit:

    “Six consecutive named storms … struck the U.S. mainland, something that had not been seen in recorded history. It’s also the first time a major hurricane … formed in five consecutive months …. And Bertha spun about for 17 days, making it the longest lived storm in July.”

    “Georgia Tech atmospheric sciences professor Judith Curry … said this year’s large number of Category 4 storms indicates a ‘signal’ of global warming.”

    Quoted from Associated Press under fair use.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I wonder if that poor guy was trampled by Sarah Palin trying to return clothing? Her stuff comes from Wal-Mart, you know.

  5. 5

    Daughter of RCR spews:

    Any season of the year, the only time to go to Fry’s is M-F before noon. Any other time you’re waiting in line for at least an hour. Every weekend is almost as bad as this morning.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Now the election is over, there are fewer troll comments (colloquially known as “terrorist chatter”) on this board.

  7. 7

    shitty, shitty economy spews:

    Folks are just looking for bargains, and Black Friday shopping is a way to be social without spending too much.

    We’ve all got to stretch our dollars these days. Nobody’s working, and the big uptick in local job openings due to infrastructure spending won’t happen for a couple of months.

    We’re going to get some pump priming soon. The Times reports the City of Seattle just sold over $200 million in bonds for water/sewer work, and that’ll translate into 6,000 or so really excellent new jobs. Just wait until the Evergreen Point Bridge Replacement project gets going!

    Until then Goldy, we’ll need to make do with what we’ve got. Don’t recommend folks buy on-line from anyplace that has a brick and mortar store in the State (like Best Buy). That’s one way they can save 10% right off the top.

    And you can save big by eating lots of beans. Beans can be purchased in bulk for about $1.25 per pound, and they provide great nutrition for the whole family. Here’s an excellent way to prepare them, for the tough times caused by the Repukelicans.

    Cover 1 lb. navy beans with cold water and soak overnight. Next morning, boil beans in same water. After beans come to boil, add 1/2 teaspoon soda, stir, and boil about 5 minutes. Watch carefully as this boils over easily after soda is added. Then drain and wash beans once in clear cold water. Drain again. Using a colander is good to wash and drain beans.

    Put beans back into the kettle, cover beans again with clear cold water, bring to boil, then add 1 med. onion, chopped, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. brown Karo syrup, 1 tsp. salt,
    1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. ginger, and kosher pork flavor (we use this kind, and buy it in bulk:

    Paste Flavor 92027 – Natural Vegetarian Flavor – Taste Of Ham, from

    http://www.summithillflavors.c.....avors.html).

    Bring to boil again, then add the whole mixture to baking dish and set oven at 350 degrees. When mixture boils, turn oven to 300 degrees, and add 8 oz. tofu chunks to simulate meat. Then towards last turn oven to 250 degrees. Bake until done.

  8. 10

    palamedes spews:

    I did Black Friday sales for four straight years, back when a good friend ran the holidays for the needy programs at my then-place of work.

    The first time was just pure luck – I was visiting a friend in Newport, Oregon, for Thanksgiving and woke up extra early on Friday. I didn’t want to bug everybody else in the home, which was crowded with her friends and relatives, so I got out and drove just to get a better feel for the town. I saw a huge crowd at the local Fred Meyer, went inside, and found medium-sized teddy bears for $3 each. I bought as many as I could stuff in my car and made that my contribution to my co-worker’s efforts.

    This year, I let it all go by. Both my friend and I have moved on to other jobs, and the folks in charge of their program now are a bit less fun to help. I’ll give what I can (one consequence of this financial panic is that I’ve found some great bargains for non-electronic games worth buying, and have a tidy stash to give away), but my experience is that Black Friday is for those who want the adventure more than the bargain.

  9. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    7. shitty, shitty economy spews:

    We’re going to get some pump priming soon. The Times reports the City of Seattle just sold over $200 million in bonds for water/sewer work, and that’ll translate into 6,000 or so really excellent new jobs.

    How does that translate into 6000 NEW jobs???
    I will create some work at the taxpayers expense….but a lot of this work for people who have been temporarily laid off due to no work. I suppose you can call them NEW jobs…but they are project-based.

  10. 16

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    WTF!!
    What an idiot…you actually couldn’t figure out that Fry’s would be insane???
    Had you spent that time working, you could afford to shop on-line instead of standing there like a f*cking idiot in a mass of other f*cking idiots trying to save a few bucks.
    Sheesh……….
    This is symptomatic of the fringe lunatic left….you tell them the fire is hot, but because it’s a CONSERVATIVE telling them that, they need to jam their hand onto it anyway.
    Same thing with Obama….it’s hysterical watching him back-slide on ALL the promises he made you KLOWNS. And now you KLOWNS are sooooooooooo invested in Obama, you cannot even cry BULLSHIT on him! Hysterical.

    Have a good Black Friday Goldy…what’s left of it. I already went mule deer hunting this AM with a neighbor and we just finished hanging his kill. More meat for freezer #2.

  11. 17

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    7. shitty, shitty economy spews:

    And you can save big by eating lots of beans. Beans can be purchased in bulk for about $1.25 per pound, and they provide great nutrition for the whole family. Here’s an excellent way to prepare them, for the tough times caused by the Repukelicans.

    Thanks for contributing to Global Warming Mr. Fart Machine!

  12. 18

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    PS–
    I’m eating Elk, beef tenderloins, salmon, halibut etc….and you are eating beans.
    And it’s who’s fault??????????
    What an idiot you are.

  13. 19

    Steve spews:

    @6 “there are fewer troll comments”

    We’ll always have the completely insecure and utterly inadequate Mr. Cynical to kick around.

  14. 20

    Steve spews:

    @6 “there are fewer troll comments”

    We’ll always have the completely insecure and utterly inadequate Mr. Cynical to kick around.

  15. 22

    YLB spews:

    Thanks for contributing to Global Warming Mr. Fart Machine!

    The ignorant Mr. C. wouldn’t know you can minimize that by changing the water from time to time as you soak the beans.

    Beans are healthy eating.

  16. 23

    YLB spews:

    16 – What a mean spirited jerk!

    To remind the amnesiac:

    Rossi? Lossi!

    “O-blah-blah”? That’d be Mr. President-Elect, fool!

    We kicked your silly ass to the curb, Mr. Irrelevant!

  17. 25

    slingshot spews:

    Goldy, you don’t need no stinkin’ flat screen TeeVee. Cast off the chains of your global, corporate overlords. “Resist”, I cry.
    Buy seeds and garden tools before it’s too late!

  18. 26

    uptown spews:

    I’m a fan of Fry’s from back in the day, but the lines are always bad.

    Highly recommend these –
    Video Only has stores all over, with real salespeople.
    B&H Video is an excellent online NYC store with lots of info about the products they sell.
    NewEgg.com is great and probrably beat all of those prices at Fry’s, signup for their email flyer if you want the best prices.

  19. 27

    correctnotright spews:

    Cynical hardly qualifies as a troll – his comments are so transparently and pathetically stupid that making fun of cynical isn’t even fair – I feel like I am picking on the mentally disabled.
    It almost makes me feel dirty afterwards – but if cynical is the best that the conservative Bush lovers can come up with – that explains why they lost the election by such a large margin.

    Cynical is kind of unique, in that he can barely put two sentences together without an obvious falsehood or logical contradiction. also, it is very clear that cynicals talking points come directly from the BIAW or some such right wing nuthouse.

  20. 28

    michael spews:

    You might want to ship some of the money you saved by observing Buy Nothing Day down to Georgia to help out Jim Martin out. Money wise this race looks pretty David V. Goliath and David seems to be keeping up pretty nicely.

    It warms my heart to see the right have to spend big to keep seats that used to be cash generators for them.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....893/667294

    * Chambliss raised $1.6 million in large contributions — amounts of $1,000 or more — from Nov. 13 through Nov. 21 compared with $462,000 for Martin. * Independent groups such as the National Rifle Association’s political action committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee spent $2.5 million from Nov. 8 through Nov. 26 in support of Chambliss — more than twice what outside groups have spent for Martin. * Conservative and pro-business organizations, such as Americans for Job Security, have spent $1.8 million on issue ads this month that stake out positions aligned with Chambliss.

  21. 30

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Decided not to even leave the house today until I have to leave for my courier route. The wife and I did all our shopping online between regular retail sites (you really should check out Overstock.com) and eBay over the last few weeks, and probably spent less than we’d averaged over the last several years.

    BTW, I like Fry’s as well, but since the closest one to me is in Sacramento, it ain’t worth the drive unless it’s something that I can’t get anywhere else, and is worth the 250-plus mile round trip (though being able to grab a burrito at a Chipotle is a damn nice bonus).

  22. 32

    me spews:

    @ 4.

    “Roger Rabbit spews:

    I wonder if that poor guy was trampled by Sarah Palin trying to return clothing? Her stuff comes from Wal-Mart, you know.
    11/28/2008 at 9:57 am”

    Your are now showing your lack of intelligence with this comment – even if you were trying to be a humorist. Your previous comments about hurricanes made sense but to spew netroots nonsense only shows you are a rabbit with a simple diet of carrots and as you put it – too much wine.

  23. 34

    Jessica spews:

    I was a big fan of Fry’s until they screwed me and my sister with our extended warranties. I also took my Fujitsu laptop to get fixed and they botched that multiple times. Forget ‘em.

    They will never get my business again.

  24. 35

    spews:

    Ugh, I worked Black Fridays for years – I would never, ever go out on Black Friday voluntarily. It’s pure madness.

    Forget it, I stay in and get fat eating leftover Turkey and pecan pie. Mmmm.