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Black Friday War Journal 2011

Posted by NumberSix , 25 November 2011 · 585 views

NumberSix Black Friday War Journal, fifth annual entry.

Best Buy Rewards Premier Silver status provided strategic opportunity to acquire largest items on want list on Monday before Black Friday. Additional objectives acquired via Thursday online sales. Normally avoid drastic measure of online pre-sales, but mission endangered by widespread acceptance of midnight store openings, which violate several Black Friday precepts, particularly the differentiation of Thursday from Friday. Days of the week need their individual identity, same as any human. Thanksgiving should not conform to Black Friday. Those who insist otherwise are the Enemy.

Remaining want list still has several items, mostly modest and inessential. Any failure to locate and/or procure sale items will be considered acceptable losses, not grounds for disappointed rage. Option to pepper-spray clerks and other customers is off-table.

0430: Alarm sounds. Immediately reset.

0445: Alarm sounds. Big-box stores opened hours ago to maddened crowds with no sense of boundaries. 4½ hours' sleep must suffice. Dog awakens as well, awakens wife in turn. She is not thrilled, but understands nature of situation.

0510: Cel phone shows one missed call from 2259. Return call to brother- and sister-in-law, who are now on their way home after all-night shopping binge. Tentative plan had been suggested Thursday for intra-family inter-store shopping coordination. Plan aborted due to sudden infeasibility. Their impatient excitement makes them the Enemy.

Nuke breakfast sandwich, begin journey. Listen to CDs instead of 105.7 Christmas music. Not in mood to allow even a chance of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". Temperature in low 40s, discomfort minimal. Back roads from home to nearest commercial area are desolate. Police either out shopping or still at station cataloguing previous night's drunken arrests.

0528: Best Buy, opened midnight. Office Depot next door not scheduled to open till 0700 has forty people in line outside. Best Buy interior still in one piece. $40 Blu-ray player with terrible manufacturer is nowhere. Acquired: $80 Sony Blu-ray player, same doorbuster model available today in multiple stores for same price; $8 Blu-ray of Sucker Punch; additional prepaid days for our family's cheap cel phone, not on sale but needed soon and easy to pick up while in vicinity.

0540: Bed, Bath & Beyond, two doors down from Best Buy, opened at 0500. All purchases 20% off. Tempted by $30 turntable, cheapest price known for new player since 1970s. Suspiciously low price raises concerns that unwritten product specs may include spontaneous combustion. No wait at register, cashiers actively wander to accost customers as relief from boredom. Acquired: [classified]. While departing, notice Office Depot between BB and BB&B now has 60+ customers in line.

0553: Wal*Mart two blocks away, opened 2200 Thursday. Plenty of parking available; space open two away from handicapped section. Broken yellow police tape still hangs from posts outside front door. Police car still parked next to front of store. Two officers stand guard inside store by registers. Abundant cashiers outnumber customers. Only sign of life in electronics section, logjam of near-empty carts manned by desperate movie lovers expecting truckloads of temptations. No wait in express lane, makes good on its name for once. Acquired: two-dollar DVD of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights; five-dollar Blu-ray of Quantum of Solace; and [classified]. Parking lot exit partly blocked by woman in van randomly swerving, either delirious from endorphin overdose or just directionless. Clearly the Enemy.

0613: Target across street from Best Buy, opened midnight. Numerous loiterers around doorbuster-DVD displays in men's clothing department; several parents occupy Toys. Acquired: ten-dollar copy of Trouble board game for adopt-a-family charity project; six-dollar Blu-Rays of Ronin and The Crow. While browsing, hear one lady tell her friend, "So far Amazon has had everything for really cheap," loud enough for nearby employee to hear and hate; admits her primary target is missing seasons of Monk. Was surprisingly unimpressed by own previous research into Amazon Black Friday deals. Want lists and search terms doubtlessly differ.

0635: Big Lots, three doors down from Target. Scheduled to open 0700, but doors already open, lines already ten deep. Peruse discount DVDs for three minutes, flee. While driving away, notice Office Depot across street also opened early, customers presumably inside and warming up.

0642: Menards, opened 0600, parking lot full for first time in known store history; traffic overflow consumes adjacent lots of bank, three restaurants. No idea why. Pass without stopping.

0651: K-Mart six miles away, opened 0500. Narrow lot bottlenecked by four women unloading large bags from shared cart into SUV, oblivious to oncoming traffic. Several ceiling lights still dark, not turned on till 0700. Electronics staff numbers four: one to answer numerous questions about hidden merchandise for gatherers too spineless to do their own legwork; two to man entrance silently and not actually lift fingers; and one 70-year-old cashier methodically assisting line of would-be customers 20+ deep. Several copies of desired item, PS3 two-pack rerelease of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, locked in display case despite doorbuster status. Exfiltrate empty-handed.

0713: JCPenney at Metropolis lifestyle center (read: "mall minus roof") five miles away in Plainfield, opened 0400. Place crawling with women. Men's clothing section easily navigable. Largest area has extensive selection of clothing and merchandise based on phenomenon designated "Angry Birds", whatever that is. Instead of joining long-line standstills near front door, find register at back of store open for business but unnoticed by undiscerning crowds. Acquired: ten-dollar dress shirt; fifteen-dollar dress pants. Walk along perimeter of mall; hear husband shout good-naturedly at wife, "It could be 40 below and people would still be here doing this crap!" Unsupportive husband stating obvious is the Enemy.

0739: Barnes & Noble in same mall. Intentionally opted out of printing their email coupon. Coupons and rebates are unacceptable compromises that betray Black Friday precepts. Same failed marketing countermeasure is why HH Gregg, Michaels, and JoAnn Fabrics were omitted from Black Friday itinerary. True doorbusters are cheap for all in attendance, not just for hoarders of easily misplaced paper-slip clutter.

Bookstore aware of its virtual competition has friendliest staff of all stores, ready to pounce on the customers they outnumber and see how many Nooks they can cram down their throats. No doorbusters offered. Previous week's Criterion Collection sale has expired. Clearance tables fewer and duller than those offered by B&N closer to home. Store is all but begging customers to help dig its grave.

0749: Stop for breakfast at Starbucks-subsidized Barnes & Noble cafe. Diners outnumber book browsers, more than twice almost-zero. Disaffected teen barista unaware "room for cream" is secret code for "room for stirring coffee after cream is added". Spinach-and-artichoke quiche is mushy; cream puff is larger and passable. Regret passing up neighboring Panera Bread for this.

0820: Kohls half-mile from mall. Numerous employees scurry about, assigned to never-ending task of returning abandoned merchandise to original shelf positions. Forts made of unsold doorbuster appliances still clog several aisles. Depart without buying; exit from lot delayed by sextet of women wandering lanes in search of car.

0846: Return to Menards. Lot still full, save one empty space at corner near front wall but on opposite end away from doors. Aisles lined by pallets stacked with copious doorbuster items. Long lines are closely managed, move quickly. Two employees near line offer armfuls of doorbusters, shouting and pacing like ballgame snack vendors. One employee shouts "SLEDS! THREE-DOLLAR SLEDS!" Response of "BRING IT!" shouted in my ear by woman behind me. Woman buys six cheap plastic sleds, likely to explode upon contact with snow. Barkers also offer wrapping paper and six-packs of flashlights. Already stocked up on wrapping paper, and not expecting to guide groups through blackouts in near future.

Acquired: six-dollar short-range wireless headphones; six-dollar DVD collection of Lethal Weapon series (replaces two old VHS tapes); [classified]; and two-dollar 30-pack of AA batteries. Enjoy short conversation with woman next in line, who happens to be my other brother-in-law's mom. Helpful cashier advises two-dollar deal for AA 30-pack requires rebate form. Forgot from past experiences that Menards is the Enemy. Resist temptation to spike all purchases on ground, stand on conveyor, and stage protest.

0920: What has two thumbs and stops for a haircut on Black Friday morning? This guy. Hair stylists on Black Friday are always bored to tears and happy to serve. Sole stylist on duty is no exception. Sign-in sheet confirms me as customer #2 for day. Customer #1 was also male. Coincidence possibility = zero.

0937: Gas station. $3.09 per gallon is arguably 2011 record-low for our area. Most useful doorbuster of the day.

0949: Home. Unload car. Compare notes with wife. Crash in bedroom for attempted nap, unsuccessful due to lingering Barnes & Noble caffeine and sugar. Barnes & Noble is now the Enemy.

End Black Friday. Now trying to rest before completing postponed errands such as weekly groceries, new shoes for son, freeing Christmas decorations from attic.

  • Reality and irishdancer2 +1 this

Hey I got my haircut at almost exactly that time too! Great minds think alike, clearly.
I enjoy your labeling of everyone and everything you don't like on Black Friday as The Enemy :lol:

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