Thursday, December 3, 2009

What's worth the Prize is worth the Fight

For the first time in my life, I participated in Black Friday. Yes my friends, I survived the grueling fatigue, wait and fight for the killer deals and avoided the outrageous rampage of customers. My decision in participating in such a life threatening ordeal began the week previous to Thanksgiving. One of my parent’s daughter’s, child’s, father’s wife. . . also known as my sister. . . told me Wal-Mart was selling a 32” flat screen for only $245. Woweee! Whadda deal!

At the time, I currently didn’t own a television. (The loaner my parents gave me died about three months ago. I think it was getting tired of all the Obama coverage, depressing news and shallow sitcoms I would watch. It decided to pull its own cord and die.) I knew eventually I’d get a flat screen tv, but I had more important purchases to add to my materialistic life. A piano, new carpet, a puppy, (obviously before the carpet). However, I could not pass up on this kind of deal and neither could my sister’s husband. (Also known as my little sister’s, grandmother’s daughter’s sister’s brother-in-law’s wife’s son-in-law.) I didn’t think two of us should stand in line for the same item, so I told him I’d pick his up while I’m at it.

I investigated the sale and found out it was from 5:00 am to 11:00 am on Black Friday. How did we get the title Black Friday anyways? For people in retail, I’m sure this day is truly a day of mourning and depression. I was told by a co-worker that during the great depression, local stores and companies worked jointly in advertising huge sales the day after Thanksgiving. The small electric shock to the economy revived the heartless economic body and it was the first time ‘we came out of the red and into the black.’ I don’t know if this is true or not, but I like it because to me, Black Friday is the color of capitalism. Snop it for me.

So. . . back to the 5:00am sale. Now really. . . .do you think if I were to set my alarm at 5:00, leave the house, drive to Wal-Mart, find parking, walk inside and pick up this tv they would still have them in stock? Nope. So I negotiated and thought maybe I would just pick up a good book and head out at 3:00 am. . . (Eeeh! I have a hard enough time getting out of bed for work!)

When preparing for battle, one needs to know the battleground and come up with a game plan. I decided to learn about the Wal-Mart procedure 6:00 at night the day of Thanksgiving. As I entered the mega supercenter, I was overcome by an eerie silence which filled the store. It was the calm before the storm. Not many people were roaming the isles. It was hard to imagine in less than 12 hours this place was going to be a Soccer Mom slaughter house. I consulted with the electronics manager about the Black Friday procedure. He informed me by giving a map of the store with all the major hot items. Evidently, they bring all of their major ticket items out on pallets in less popular sections of the store, (perhaps like the cooking and baking isle or refrigerated section of the store) and hand them out to people standing in line. “Even though we don’t officially forming a line at midnight,” he said, “there’ll probably be one at 10:00 pm.” You’ve got to be kidding me. . . 10:00!?!

So I went home, debating if I really wanted to this. I mean, for 50 bucks more, I could walk into any other store and buy a tv without the crowd, fight or sleep deprivation. But hey, I’m the adventurous type and like to try new things. . . like fighting mobs of people for a Tickle-Me-Elmo.

I went to bed at 8:00 pm and woke up a few hours later to stand in line for a flat screen. . .and that’s where all the adventure began. Before I knew it, I found myself standing in line, in the middle of the refrigerated section at 12:30 in the morning. Luckily, I had a camp chair, a decent book and my Blackberry. And because I was thinking ahead, I borrowed my parent handicap pass to get ultimate parking. Muha, ha, ha! (Some days it really pays to have that perk!)

The funny thing about waiting in line is the people you’re waiting with. Sometimes they’re either cool or chill. (Due to our location, I guess everyone in this line was a little bit of both. . . I got really cold, really fast.) And sometimes they’re really weird. . . and with my luck, I had the opportunity to wait for 5 hours next to the strangest kid. Ever. He really reminded me of this guy. He had a speech impediment and would tell me about “da days he wood wook in Calif’onia duing Black Fuydays and it was just teao-uable. But now, he was a BYU unda-guad and loved his sega game.” I could tell it was going to be a long, long, l-o-n-g morning.”

1:00 came. . . .and I was cold.

2:00 crawled by. . .

3:30. . . . beat my highest score on my blackberry. . .

4:00. . . . “Oh man. . . Calif’onia is da best place in da whole entire Wold! It has Disney Lan an’ big Pauks an’ gweat food an’ oceans and ‘ouda stuff like that.”

4:15. . . still cold, but now I have to go to the bathroom. . . .

4:30. . . .lots of more people starting to show up. Glad I was 3rd in line.

4:45. . . you can feel the anticipation and sweaty palms all around you.

4:50. . . people start to stand up, stretch and start to inch forward in the line

4:55. . . Employees start to man their stations with more protection and zeal as they prepare for the announcement at

5:00. . . “Good morning Wal-Mart Customers. Welcome to Black Friday!”

And all madness broke loose. I had no idea what I got myself into. I knew it was going to be messy, but not maniacal! Only because I was in the beginning of the line did I get two televisions with ease, now it was getting out which I feared.

I could see the lights of the cash registers, but a person stuck in downtown Boston traffic had more movement than I did in this Utah Wal-Mart. I decided to let my aggressive Utah driver into the front seat. (It’s easier to pull a card in crowded places than push it. However, you do run the risk of people stealing stuff out of your basket with your back turned.)

I landed a spot at the ‘Under 20 Items’ cash register swiped plastic and headed out to my car parked in the closest spot to the store! Even when I was loading up my purchases, two people came up to me asking for my cart.

And that was my Black Friday experience. I was out by 5:12 am, with the goods in the back seat of my car and on the verge of wanting to be a narcoleptic. Now as I look at my new tv, I’m reminded of the beautiful color of free enterprise, ‘cwazy Calif’onia sto’ies’ and a long morning in Wal-Mart.
PS If you know of anyone needing an Entertainment Center, I'm selling this one. (TV's not included.)