Hello folks. I thought I’d drop a Saturday Special on you, just for the fun of it. I had something a little different in mind but after considering it and getting started on it, I thought differently about it. Maybe some other day for that one.
By now, we’ve all gorged ourselves on Turkey with all the trimmings, the pies, cakes, and other goodies. Many of you, after doing so, then went and stood in a line at some big box store for the big bargains. The day is known as Black Friday. People line up for $200 computers and flat screen TVs. They do so as if these ‘bargains’ will never be seen again. Those with kids hit the toy stores and spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars (that they don’t have) on a pile of junk that will be broken or otherwise trashed by New Year’s Day. Then, the bill comes. The more wise folks pay cash for their goods so that at least, they aren’t later paying for stuff on credit card bills, that is long gone or long forgotten.
Now, these until 15 or so years ago, I had never heard of ‘Black Friday’. I knew that the stores were always crazy the day after T-day and would never shop on that day but, I never knew it was called Black Friday. In reality, I think the term has something to do with the financials of the stores But it has also become a marketing term. This is my memory of it, yours may differ. The big box stores get people into the stores and can even program the time of day they go with the promise of a near giveaway ‘bargain’ at specific times. People crowd into the stores, crowd around the ‘limited quantity’ item and count down the seconds until the cover is taken off of whatever is being offered. Here’s an example. In this case, the item being offered is head phones for $5. I don’t know what kind of head phones, it really doesn’t matter. The ones I want are noise canceling Bose, wireless, headphones and that bargain on those is the ONLY thing that could get me into a store on Black Friday. Never going to happen, those run about $300. Some guy took his kids to watch the mayhem of the people getting these ‘limited quantity’ headphones, for $5. Don’t worry, the kids were at a safe distance. Here’s the video he recorded.
For many, I suppose this is more about the thrill of the chase while they bargain hunt but I will bet good money, I can find those same ones, online, and have as many sets as I want delivered to my home, shipped free. The dirty little secret of that video is that the store likely has 10 more pallets of these things in the warehouse. These aren’t once in a lifetime bargains, they are once a day bargains. As Black Friday videos go, that one is pretty tame. Note the security guard (or policeman) watching over all of it in case it gets out of hand. Here is another. I’m just amazed at the crowd, of mostly women, piling into this place to get drawers and brars at a discount.
Now, I’ve had girlfriends and I’ve paid for this type of stuff for them so I know it can get expensive but, Really? Most of them probably think it’s all in fun and if they manage to get what they went after, they’re happy they went after the items. Again, as Black Friday videos go, that one is pretty tame. I think you get my point.
Last year, in a similar situation, one woman was so hell bent on getting what she was after, she Mace’d the crowd. None of these items or types of items are worth fighting over. You would think that they were there to get a morsel of the last side of beef on the face of the planet after all the available food has been consumed. As the last resort for something to eat before resorting to cannibalism. Well, maybe that’s a stretch but I think you get my point.
The potential for a fight has brought about another black Friday activity. The watcher. That’s the person(s) who go to the stores at opening time or bargain reveal time, hoping to see a fight and capture it on video to post it on youtube for our entertainment.
Not to be outdone by Black Friday, we now have Cyber Monday. That is MY shopping day if I decide to actually buy gifts. Usually, I give cash so if I buy anything on Cyber Monday, it’s a gift to me for me from me. At least a week before that day, my inbox is flooded with announcements of coupon codes and such. If you’re online at the right time, you can get a 60 inch television, shipped free, for under $600, for a limited time and there are limited quantities. No crowds, you pushing or shoving, no need to put gas in the car, no need to stand in any lines with people you can’t stand the sight of.
It takes a hard fast bargain shopper to participate in this black Friday activity. I mean, after you’ve gorged yourselves on the big dinner and put everything away so you’re eating leftovers for the next week, you willingly make your plan, and go get in line for whatever treasures you are after. For all of you, I really hope you didn’t walk away disappointed. Further, I hope you walked away from it unscathed. Getting beat up over a $5 pair of headphones or a $20 phone, seems like it would take the fun out of it.
There are a lot of different ways I could have gone with this post but I just chose to focus on the madness of it all. This isn’t meant to psychoanalyze people who enjoy this activity, just to chuckle at it a little bit in a shaking my head sort of way. While you’re out shopping this season, be safe about it, and don’t let the retail aspect of it spoil your season.
Until next time, Peace.