November 24 2006

Black Friday

As much as I despise Wal-Mart, They were having some decent Black Friday sales this morning, so I headed out…at 4 AM. Why don’t they do these things at 12:01 AM? No no, they have to do them at a time you don’t want to stay up until, but far earlier than most people get up. Oh well, I went. I was after the 1GB thumb drives for $13.87, some 30″ x 52″ towels for $2.50, and the original theatrical cuts of the Star Wars movies for $9.72 each. Only thing I missed out on was some sheets I needed…oh well.

The amusing thing to me was the “land claimers” as I called them. Wal-Mart had brought out everything on pallets, wrapped in plastic, placed them around the store, and promptly at 5 AM, they cut the plastic and let the mayhem start. Well, before that time, people would go stand by the pallet for the item that was their top priority, makes sense, no problem with that. What killed me were the guys who felt the need to lean on the pallet, or fold their arms and rest on the pallet. Sure, that sounds like laziness, but it was the look in their eyes if you came near their pallets that was the funniest thing. It was a mixture of a snarl/threat, like a wolf protecting it’s den. This was their territory, and by golly, you were doomed if you were to come near it.

After that, my friends I went with and I tried to go to Pancake City to eat before we went to Hastings sale that started at 8 AM. It was about 5:30 at this point and PC had closed for the holiday and would be opening at 6. So, we drove down to Country Kitchen…also closed. So we went back to PC and we sat in the parking lot until they opened. We stayed there until 7:20 and then headed over to Hastings to watch the shocked people who couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t get in yet. They weren’t opening until 8! Oh well, it provided us with amusement.

We got in the line about 7:40, and this is where we encountered our only real ugliness of the morning. At about 7:55 some Mexicans (you’ll see why their ethnic background is important in a moment) pulled in, got out of their car, and walked to the front of the line to talk to a friend. There were three women in front of me who were very displeased by this, but said nothing to them directly. When the doors opened though, they did say they needed to go to the back of the line, and cutting wasn’t fair. They mumbled something about having been there and they had only gone to their car. One of the women called them liars and then added “Instead of going back to your car, how about going back to your own country!”….oh there’s that holiday spirit I love so much.

Now here is the only time I got pissed off. One of the deals was for a 1GB Sandisk Cruzer. Price was $30, after mail-in rebates it was going to be $4.99 plus tax. I walked in, found the rack, the sign was there, I grabbed a Cruzer and the other items I was after, good to go. I go to check out and it turns out it was 2GB I had grabbed and it wasn’t on sale. I asked if they had any more 1GBs, they said no. I asked why they had 2GBs on the sale rack, clearly marked, and mixed in with the 1GBs. The clerk’s reply was “Oh…I guess we messed up. Sorry about that.” That was the extent of it. Now, I’m not one to get whiny, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why they racked non-sale items on the sale shelf, mixed in with the sale item. If you’re going to run a sale, make sure you rack sales items clearly, not mixed in with non-sale items. Idjits.

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  • I think the reason they mixed them up was that they know the psychological pull of getting something that you want is often greater than the desire to save money. It’s one of the reasons that companies will run sales on a limited quantity of an item knowing they will lose money on the first 100 they sell. They know people will get all worked up for something and be disinclined to walk away empty-handed.

    I don’t believe for a minute that it’s an accident. Marketers are very adept at manipulating the consumer. This experience should give you yet another reason not to go to Wal-Mart. ;-)

    I must say that the whole Black Friday thing and the behavior it brings out in people really bothers me. It just says bad things about consumerism and materialism. I’m glad to hear that you went for very practical items and didn’t engage in the territorial behavior you witnessed.

  • Yes, it was all practical things I went after. I live on thumb drives at work, and never seem to have enough of them. And towels, well, with 3 puppies in the house who know no fear of rain and puddles, there are constantly towels in the laundry. The Star Wars DVDs…well, not exactly practical, but damn it, they were cheap!:-p

    The racking “mistake” was at Hastings, and most times I would agree with you, but their employees tend not to be brain surgeons. In my defense though, I *did* tell them to take it off my bill and told them I would not be taking it. I can get a 2GB for far less than $89.95 on Amazon. (I just looked, $48.62 on Amazon, the SRP is only $79.95!)

  • Roy

    Food and water in Africa. PS3 and $13 thumb drives in the US. Human beings will kill for anything considered scarce.

    Anyway, who needs thumb drives when you got gmail with ftp via firefox! yey!!

  • hehehee I still like thumb drives as I move computers a lot, so sometimes it’s a bit quicker still to use thumbs.