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Black Friday War Journal 2010

Posted by NumberSix , 27 November 2010 · 458 views

NumberSix Black Friday War Journal, fourth annual entry.

Want list short this year. Currently saving for new car. All appliances functioning within acceptable parameters. Son saved allowance for game system, but found used version online for same price as in-store on Black Friday Eve. One online purchase eliminated one Black Friday stop. Only major item on list: laptop. Not an absolute necessity, but would be nice if desired product specs fall within specific price range.

0045: Have been trying to sleep for hours. So far, no luck. Son knocks on bedroom door to remind wife of her individual plan to be at Wal*Mart at midnight. Wife wakes up from formerly successful slumber, grumbles, leaves to verify viability of $298 HP laptop offer.

0115: Still awake. Pop in Mad Men commentary. Elizabeth Moss too interesting and peppy. Jon Hamm and Aaron Staton mumble, chuckle to selves. Mumbling is desirably soporific; peppiness, not.

0205: Finally asleep.

0400: Alarm sounds.

0410: Alarm sounds again.

0420: Finally arise for first half of day. Wife half-asleep on living room couch, reports of Wal*Mart fail. As of 1 a.m. employees of nearest Wal*Mart were 100% ignorant of management's product dispersal procedures. Wife abandoned plan A, returned home like typical sane person instead. Leave wife on couch, nuke breakfast sandwich, begin journey.

Local radio station 105.7 now switched to annual all-Christmas format. First track heard: perennial version of "Let It Snow" by Gloria Esteban accompanied by 10-year-old on Casio. Several overplayed tracks later, plan to drive with Christmas theme music is abandoned at "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree".

0455: Next-nearest Wal*Mart converted to dozens of Human Centipedes with carts. Products are stationed at random locations storewide. Large-screen Emerson TVs are situated in Bakery, guarded by angry black woman who bars anyone approaching within fifty feet without very special wristband. Baby clothing section cordoned off by several colonnades of cheap HP printers no one wants.

Unable to locate $298 laptop station. While passing registers, overhear lady holding $298 HP laptop while complaining of store bait-and-switch because she actually wanted $198 eMachines laptop. Several minutes later, find $198 laptop station in back of store in refrigerated section, at least two boxes remaining. Without wristband, am unable to bring two parties together and negotiate deal.

Acquired: One $5 BluRay copy of Batman Begins, four $8 BluRays, $12 copy of Burn Notice Season 1.

0540: Return to car. Rear window now frosted over.

0605: Drive to north side Fry's Electronics, largest such store in central Indiana, never tried on previous Black Fridays. All laptops within desired price range have midget screens. Fairly priced speaker system comes shrink-wrapped with unnecessary BluRay player. Disappointed by more enticing deals. Based on past experiences, had thought Fry's was all that. Acquired: $20 BluRay collection of all four Die Hard movies. Price is sufficient compromise to overlook the really terrible one.

0655: Decide to throw curve ball into schedule and stop for early breakfast at Panera Bread. Rest of population is either home in bed or standing in line with boxes, so only have to share entire restaurant with five other people. Other shoppers presumably coasting on coffee fumes and consumer adrenalin rush, likely to clog restaurants later.

0720: Venture toward Castleton Square Mall. Sit through stoplight at mall entrance four times until access finally granted.

0727: Toys R Us busy but deceptively calm. News trucks from channels 6 and 59 parked out front, alerting unsuspecting viewers WOW THERE ARE SHOPPERS YES REALLY. Acquired: $10 copy of Wolverine and the X-Men: the Complete Series and [classified].

Checkout line stretches to back of store, but moves briskly. Join line behind two young mothers pushing carts full of large toddler appliances. When line turns corner, second cart catches on protruding shelf. Bend down to pull cart away from shelf, to gratitude of young mom #2. Chubby man cuts in line behind both moms, shouts eagerly in Spanish to accomplice trapped outside of line with own cart. Rearranged shelves and yellow tape ward off accomplice and cart, who parks and watches perpetrator inch forward between us.

Several minutes later, reach unguarded perimeter hole where tape has fallen. Perpetrator gestures accomplice to bring cart over, steps to one side to permit cart passage. Young moms move forward, as do I, stepping firmly behind them and past the offenders. Young mom #1 smiles, says, "Nice move!" No idea what response from offenders was.

Once cash registers are in sight, young moms have brief argument with three grumpy older women, probable Tyler Perry fans, who attempt to cut in line at another breach between endcaps. Young moms muscle their carts past the snippy would-be offenders. Said offenders look at me -- six-foot, overweight, two-hours-of-sleep stern glare, unintentional Tank-mohawk bed-hair. They step aside and say, "You can go ahead!" Once again move forward, exchange glances of "Really?" with young moms, who then throw more choice words overhead at ladies behind us. Not thrilled to be caught in crossfire.

0810: Walk over to Best Buy next door. Store is comparatively calmer. Employees refreshingly happy, enjoying themselves. Cashier and other nearby employee dance, sing R&B back and forth. Would tip them if permitted. Acquired: Three $8 BluRays and $15 copy of Community Season 1.

0828: Now feeling brave enough to enter Castleton Square Mall itself, teeming with shoppers, coppers, and teenyboppers. Game Stop is predictably overpacked, staff gregarious anyway. Acquired: $15 copy of Ratchet & Clank Future: a Crack in Time.

0855: Walls and fixtures of Hot Topic now painted all-white, store glistens and gleams presumably to shed scary Goth image. Refuse to enter on sheer principled confusion.

0858: Have two Borders coupons to use. Coffee shop has 20+ people in line. Decide against using coupon for free latte. Acquired: 40%-off copy of Walking Dead vol. 4.

0912: Clothing and electronics sales at Sears are sad. Macy's is protected by toxic perfume cloud, keeps its men's clothing located miles away from entrance, frustrates with low prices affixed to monochromatic ugly clothes only. Snack shops all too overwhelmed.

0935: Unplanned browsing at FYE yields surprise results, despite bored clerk and floor reps who consciously evade pleasantries. Acquired: $15 BluRay copy of Full Metal Jacket, $5 copies of Superman vs. Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight.

0940: Penney's men's clothing likewise disappointing. Other items, not so much. Notice line on other end of store is half the length of nearest line. Happy to do extra walking in the name of time conservation. Store manager offers to remove tags while waiting, hands out free candy canes. Acquired: [classified].

1030: Return to home side of town, stop at Target. Random encounter with friendly face from church yields much-needed minutes of chat, note comparison, momentary grounding in What Matters. Confluence of overlong quiet drive and lingering caffeine buzz from Panera Bread accelerates speech to scary chipmunk levels. Acquired: two discounted movies and [classified].

1105: Stop at post office for stamps. Cannot completely neglect the mundane today.

1115: Return home, compare notes with exhausted wife.

1155: Drive with wife to nearest Best Buy, where wife earlier sighted acceptable laptop. Said laptop now gone. Spot second acceptable laptop at same time as another elderly couple. Sales reps checks computer, which locates two such laptops still in stock. Several minutes later, sales rep sheepishly apologizes because computer had not yet updated. Second laptop sold out at 8 a.m. Both couples turn on sales rep. Other husband mentions his gun permit. Second sales rep confirms second laptop available online for same price. Both couples let sales rep live, leave empty-handed.

1225: Return home with lunch from Penn Station. Kick son off computer, visit bestbuy.com.

1255: Eventually complete purchase after short site search and interminable, aggravating site registration process. Sandwich still slightly above room temperature.

1310: Set alarm for 1430, begin nap on orders from wife.

1430: Alarm sounds.

1530: Finally arise for second half of day, to be spent at Trek convention.

End Black Friday. Begin Starbase Indy 2010.

Wow... you guys are very impressive BF shoppers :yes:

Also, we in southwest Michigan also have a 105.7 radio station that switches to all-Christmas music early. Mind=blown. However, ours switches the day after Halloween, so it couldn't possibly be the same one.
Good lord man, you BROWSE on Black Friday?

... dang, I didn't see the Community S1 special at Best Buy. I might've tried heading out there if I'd known about that. :)

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