Black Friday: The worst day in retail.
Traditionally, I have avoided this day with outspoken fervency, not wanting to get caught up in the deluge of hungry American consumers. I've thought only craziness of those brave or stupid enough to get up at unreasonable hours to wait in line for special discounts at their local whatever store. Its simply insane, and now I know from experience.
When I arrivedat Best Buy in Monroe, NC, at 11pm Thanksgiving night, there were already 8 people in line. Yes, 8 people in that small city crazier than I. The first five of them had been there since 8pm. They really, really wanted their $379.99 laptops. I can't blame them, I bought one too. In fact, I got the #9 voucher. I also bought a camcorder and a 30in widescreen HDTV, an Epson scanner, and various accessories for my list of low-priced-high-dollar items.
Six hours in the coldwas not fun. Fortunately I had some friends, and some blankets. Still, six hours did not pass quickly. In this time I had the opportunity to consider my position, and the mentality of someone crazy enough to sit outside in the cold for six hours to save a few dollars on an item that is unneeded. I bought nothing I needed, but my wife did appreciate the items and the gesture. I suppose that makes it all worth it. I came to the realization that I now had enough understanding to justifiably call someone crazy for doing this, but no place to, lest I confirm my hypocrisy.
By Five AM the scene had changed behind my back. Six hours bunkered down in the cold with my back to the parking lot did not reveal to me the hundreds of people arriving after me, or the filling of the parking lot. It was full. The line of people was wrapped around the building with people about to face the disappointment that they were twenty-one in line for twenty gadgets. What followed made the six hours in the cold seem like a good time: Two hours in a crowded, overwhelmed, Best Buy. Two hours on my feet waiting in line after line for item this and item that left me more physically exhausted than all the waking hours of cold winds. It had me considering abandonment: that part of me would rather the whole night's waiting been vain than wait another minute in that mob. Nonetheless, we got our toys, and we got home by 10am.
An Experience, to say the least. Part of me is glad to have gained experience for experience's sake. The other part of me, is glad to have convinced the first part of me there is no need to do it again.