I gave up on Black Friday a long time ago. There, I said it. I have come out of the shopping closet and showed my true colors. There really is nothing I find appealing about Black Friday, and the deals these days simply are just not worth it. I would love for someone to convince me otherwise, but I just don’t care anymore.
That said, my wife this year braved the crowds, and very cold weather, to stand in a line to get our kids a Wii game console. We have avoided any sort of gaming device for our kids for years, but this one has won us over from the active play standpoint of their games. At least it requires them to get off of the couch and be involved in the game. Trouble has been, though, finding any in stock. The Wii’s popularity has far outpaced the production capacity, so finding one has been trouble. Fortunately my wife’s choice of store and diligence paid off and we have a box under the tree that the kids are going to be ecstatic about.
Me, I was ready to pay the premium graft on eBay to get a console without having to deal with finding one in the stores. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was better than the alternative I guess.
So what is it I hate so much about Black Friday? Here is a fun little list for you.
Yes, I hate people. Not really; that is too broad and makes me sound really bad. What I hate is people in that mode. The vast majority of people out on Black Friday morning are out for a bargain and will do anything to get it. Proof positive as they join the line at 3 am or even the night before in the hopes of saving a few bucks on something might actually want. These people will drop all previous ethos they might live by and take on a new Mr. (or Mrs.) Hyde while they hone in on their anticipated purchase.
I have witnessed the acts of these types, and it has driven me away from the “fun” experience of the shopping moment.
The front of lines bulges with new people joining just before opening where their supposed place was saved in line. Outright cutting in line is sure to happen. The running of the bulls has nothing on these people as they stampede through narrow entrances and rush to the bargain points they have planned out in their SWAT-esque meetings the night before. Voices are raised and new levels of cursing emit from the mouths of the most unexpected sources.
2. “Limited Quantities”
This phrase is true, yet the most deceiving of the advertising for the blessed events. Limited could otherwise be defined as “the bare minimum quantity we have to have at this price to avoid regulatory involvement and penalties for false advertising.” That amazing laptop deal for half the typical retail price? Don’t plan on seeing more than a handful per store. It is expected and we all know the chances of getting any are slim to none, yet there are hundreds in line with hopes similar to winning the lottery brimming with anticipation.
3. Do You Really Want It Anyway?
Is it just me or have the “deals” they offer in recent years fall well short of motivating a shopping expedition? There have been a few little items here and there that get me to say “well, I guess that is a bit of a saving” but otherwise I am left clearly wanting. Not only do I not really want most of what is listed as their doorbusters, but the rest of the items listed feel like the discount also offered just really isn’t a deal. The price off of retail they are offering is no better than what I could find somewhere online anyway. Sure I have to pay to ship, but usually, that is awash with the tax I would pay locally along with the time invested in getting my lazy butt to the store in the first place. Don’t get me started on the cost of gas factored in as well.
4. Insufficient Checkout Capacity
Once you have made it inside and chosen the loot you acquiesce to take home with you, then you have to brave the long lines to fork over your money. Depending on your store of choice, the number of checkout counters offered is meant to handle average traffic in the store; there is just no way it is going to deal with the influx of 10x the buyers all at once pushing their way forward in hopes of jumping over to the next store before all those great deals are gone too.
I know these checkout people are dreading the day as well, and hopefully, they are being compensated to put up with a tired and unruly group that patronizes the retail mania that is Black Friday. I do wonder though if they bring on their “best” checkers in these situations, because in years past there hasn’t seemed to be any rush to get people checked out and out the door. Checkers paid by the hour don’t have any motivation, so why move it along? I am sure some enterprising store manager could have the bright idea to research how to really move along the process for days like this. Staff up, get extra people involved, and maybe even figure out how to speed this process along and you might get people back the next year simply because you are the store that didn’t waste their time on this day of glut.
5. Just Not Worth My Time
This last point is likely more a commentary on my attitude more than anything else. The savings offered, even if on an item I want, is just not worth my time. The hours required to put in, aside from the discomfort and inconvenience, simply are not worth it. I would rather put in some extra time working on a project and earning the extra money than waste my time doing nothing more than standing in line with the outside hope of getting the bargain.
I like a bargain as much and perhaps more than the next person, but I measure the return on my time very carefully these days and have found it just plain is not getting me out to the big day.
Cyber Monday is more my style these days, and even then I had most of my online shopping done several weeks in advance of the big weekend. So much for the hoopla.