Monday, November 26, 2012

The Truth About Black Friday

by Jill Kemerer, @jillkemerer

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Since you're reading this, I'm assuming you either skipped shopping on Black Friday or survived it. I did not go shopping this year because...well...the truth?  It's scary!


On Black Friday, shoppers all over America set their alarms for 3 AM, throw on a pair of sweat pants, and, if they live in northern states, they wrap up in fifteen layers of scarves and coats before trekking to the mall, Target, Walmart, Kohls, and every other store brave enough to open its doors in the wee hours of the morning following Thanksgiving.

I've participated in this crazy tradition a time or two. It wasn't pretty.

First, you have to get in line with hordes of zealous shoppers, all pumped to grab every item on their lists. You're typically waiting for hours outside, and the line-keeping is based on the honor system. This means at least 50 people will "cut" in line by mysteriously seeing someone they know.

Let's face it, your odds of getting that TV on sale go down with each extra person joining the line ahead of you.

As if that weren't enough, it's technically still night out, it's cold, and the store will not open a minute before the appointed time. Someone behind you will be snapping an extra large wad of gum in your ear. The people ahead of you will start fake-wrestling. At least one flailing arm will catch you in the back of your head, and the wrestlers will bump the rest of your body numerous times.

Steam will start to pour from your ears as you mentally count how many people have technically cut in front of you by joining groups already in line.

If you're not the best shopper on a good day, well, it's about to get worse. Once the store does open the doors, you're jostled and shoved into the store like a blocked ketchup bottle that suddenly gets popped. There will be no rhyme or reason where the main items in the ad are placed in the store. Electronics will not be in the Electronics department. You'll practically need a map just to find a single item on your list!

The hot toy on sale? They'll have 3 of the one you want and 174 in the wrong color. It won't matter--they'll all be gone by the time you find the display.

At one point, you'll stop and just stare, circling in wonder at the sights you're seeing. Grown men laden with arms full of children's pajamas. (I don't know any men who buy children's pajamas on a normal day--why are they so pumped about cornering the market on Black Friday?) Women slinging four or five game systems on their shoulders. Carts crashing into each other on the way to the camera aisle.

And then the worst...you've grabbed everything you could find on your list, which sadly might only be one item, and you head to the check-out lanes.

Prepare yourself. It will be a doozy. These lines will weave in and out of aisles ALL the way to the BACK of the store. Hope you had a large coffee earlier, because you are going to need every drop of the caffeine just to stay awake long enough to pay for your stuff. Oh, and the gum snapper you thought you'd shaken? A new one will be standing in line right ahead of you. A screaming two-year-old will be behind you.

If you can't tell, I don't like Black Friday. In fact, I might need therapy after my experiences! All I know is this year I slept in, lounged in my pj's, and sipped coffee.

For all you Black Friday shoppers--I salute you! Hope you got what you wanted and the lines were short!

Did you go shopping on Black Friday this year?

Have a happy Monday!

27 comments:

  1. Nope, didn't shop on Black Friday for all the reasons you detailed. I hate shopping to begin with. Hate the crowds and trying to find the last parking spot in Nebraska. Standing in line with the screaming two year old behind me would have me saying something like, "This is why some animals eat their young!" I point and click my way through shopping and I make some of my gifts.

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    1. Wow, I've had the same thought about animals eating their young!! Ha! Ha!! :)

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  2. I'm not normally a Black Friday shopper, but this year I made an exception. Our college daughter came home for Thanksgiving but had to start work at the Target store in her college town that night at 11:30 p.m. She wasn't due to get off until 7 a.m. and had planned to crash at her apartment before returning. I could tell how bummed she was to miss our day-after-Thanksgiving tree-cutting tradition, so I surprised her by telling her I'd drive her to and from her university town (about an hour away).

    I shopped, hung out in the Starbuck's inside the store (where she's a barista) for a while, and got a couple hours sleep in my truck, so I was ready for the drive home. She was able to go to the cut-your-own tree lot with us before she crashed. I spent the rest of the weekend feeling jet-lagged, but our daughter really appreciated what I did for her, making my self-deprived state well worth it.

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    1. Aw, Keli, this totally made my day. How sweet!! Hopefully, you both were able to fit in a nap over the weekend. :)

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  3. Nope. I live in Canada and the concept is now catching on here. I refuse to get caught up in it. I don't like shopping at the best of times. :)

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    1. It's horrible. Fight it, Stina, fight it!!

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  4. I don't enjoy shopping so Black Friday really is darkness to me. Stay away at all costs. Hibernate.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Yes. Hibernate. Stay away from the stores!! Ha!

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  5. I've been Black Friday shopping for the last like 8 years or so. It used to be more fun, when they opened the doors at 4 am and only the truly serious shoppers went out. Then, they started at midnight or sooner. That meant more people. Last year I went to Kohls at midnight and could barely move through the store. I said forget it this year, at least for the midnight shopping. Mike and I got up at 4:30, went to Target, JC Penney, and several other places. We didn't really encounter lines at any place and got the stuff we wanted. :) So it was a success for us.

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    1. Didn't encounter lines? That's a dream come true! Target, Kohls, Walmart are all nightmares around here. *shivering*

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  6. We never go shopping on Black Friday...never have. We usually spend the Saturday before Thanksgiving up in Chicago. It's the Festival of Lights w/parade and fun stuff down the Michigan Ave/Mag Mile. The day after Thanksgiving, we spend the day relaxing -watching movies-eating turkey. I watched some of those crazy clips on the news of people biting, pushing, and hitting each other. Nope, not for me.

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    1. Ooo, now that sounds like fun! Chicago is so pretty at Christmastime. Nice!

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  7. Hehehe, this was funny. I've only done true Black Friday shopping (up at the crack of dawn) once or twice. And mostly it was for the entertainment of it, not to actually buy anything. This year, my sister and I shopping on Friday, but we waited until late morning...we avoided all the craziness and still got sweet deals. Good times. Of course, some of the stores looked like they'd been rioted...the worst was the shoe section in J.C. Penny...seriously, it looks like a mob had gone through!

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    1. Melissa, I was here at JC Penney when the store opened...that one was a bit cray cray!

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    2. Melissa and Lindsay--our Penny's shoe department ALWAYS looks like a mob tore through it! Ha! Ha! But, I like the advice that going later on Black Friday still scores good deals. Hmmm... ;)

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  8. Black Friday IS scary! I've never gone before. But this year? There were some stores that opened Thursday evening and my sisters and my dad wanted to go. So, I went with them. It was really organized and it was the nicest other shoppers have been to me in a long time. EVERYONE who bumped into me said "excuse me", there was no line cutting (that I saw), and people were really nice. Actually, a pretty good experience. It was still kind of crazy, though :)

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    1. Maybe shopping on Thanksgiving is the key! It's wonderful to hear stories of people being nice. And I hope you got some great deals!

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  9. I live in Canada, but I know lots of people who go down. Like Stina said, it's catching on up here (trying to keep Canadians from going to the US), and I mistakenly went to the mall on Friday. It wasn't even a tenth of what it is in the US, but I hated it. So I'd rather pay extra.

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    1. Same here. I'm the worst when it comes to crowded malls. I actually tuck a can of Coke in my purse for the inevitable emergency melt-down I have. It helps!

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  10. No WAY! I don't go out! I stay cozied up at home with my laptop if I need to shop:) I'm in one of those Northern states and I am not willing to trade an extremity to frostbite for an electronic.

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    1. I'm with you. It's terribly cold here. I'd rather cyber shop anyday!

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  11. I was sleeping peacefully in my nice, cozy warm bed on the morning of Black Friday. In fact, the only time I even left the house over the 4-day weekend was to get groceries on Sunday.

    You won't catch me doing Black Friday - my introverted nature screams in protest at such a scenario.

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    1. Ooo, nice! We went to my sister's and stayed inside most of the time. It was really relaxing! Sounds lovely!!

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  12. I usually shop Black Friday with my mom and sister but we shopped on Veteran's Day this year. Still sales, maybe not as good, but it was more relaxing! We are casual Black Friday shoppers anyway, and get to the mall at 9:30am and leave by 2. I feel bad that America is so crazy with the insane hours that people have to work and even leave their families on Thanksgiving so people can shop. All the same items will be there whether it is midnight or 7am!

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  13. I don't do Black Friday. A couple of decades ago, I'd head out on the day after Christmas with my mom and aunts to buy fifty percent off Christmas merchandise. We developed a system for all of it and had a lot of fun. The world was a kinder gentler place back then and no one had to get up at three am.

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