Black Friday–What An Experience!

Black Friday 2010
Black Friday at Walmart

I’ve never participated in Black Friday. I wasn’t interested until my daughter asked if we could do it.  She’s fifteen and loves to shop so I said yes.  I invited my friend, Gwen and her 5 year old daughter and we made it a girls’ morning for shopping.  The plan was to meet at my house by 3 a.m.  I would serve lattes and homemade biscuits with preserves and banana bread. We would leave by 4:00 a.m. to hit the stores. We were ready for anything!  Eyes opened and cash in hand.  Well, my daughter had cash in hand.  My goal wasn’t to buy but to observe what I thought was a great event.
It was a very chilly morning.  Matter-a-fact, the morning looked like an evening out with friends.  If you didn’t have a watch or a cell phone with a clock, you wouldn’t know the difference. The road was busy with cars going to and coming from all kinds of stores.  It felt crisp on the face on my well-caffeinated body.  We were warm inside and eager to see the masses.
Our first stop was JC Penney’s.  As we entered into the parking lot, we were amazed by the number of cars; shoppers with JC Penney’s bags in hand leaving the store.  “How could they be done,” I thought.  “It’s only 4:30 in the morning”.  The good thing is once we entered into the store, we didn’t witness anyone fighting over merchandise.  People were cordial.  The salespeople were polite and asked us if we needed help.  They even gave us a free gift! My daughter found a purse and my friend a rug and we left for the next adventure:  Best Buy.
Best Buy was where the controlled chaos occurred.  There were lines lapping around the store. It appeared that it would take at least an hour before anyone would see a clerk.  But, when I talked with one woman who was in line, she said the line was going pretty fast.  She shared with me that she saved money throughout the year just to shop during Black Friday.  When I asked how long she had been shopping, she said that she never went to bed.  It was about 5:30 a.m. when I talked with her…  She was a diehard and she was happy about her savings.
We didn’t purchase anything from Best Buy.  We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in line.  My daughter did find ear phones that she wanted to purchased (it was less than $4) but we convinced her to wait until we stopped at our next store because we thought she would spend less time in line.  We were right but the cost was higher for the same item.
Next stop…Wal-Mart!  The parking lot at Wal-Mart is huge.  Almost every space was taken.  There were people everywhere. When we entered into the store, Gwen counted the number of 32 inch LCD televisions in the shopping carts of people who purchased items from the store. There were seven. We thought this was the hot item!  We later found out that buyers had to get a ticket to purchase the TV set in order to buy it.  The sale price tag was $198! A great price and they were all gone!!
The lines were long at Wal-mart too.  Like the previous stores, we took our time looking.  We had nothing specific in mind to buy.  We wanted to see if there were true values made during Black Friday and if people actually came out in mass to buy.  At Wal-Mart where there are get buys every day, how could they outperform their everyday values?  There were great buys for many people and the shoppers were up for a challenge. 
Our next stop was Game Stop; my children’s favorite store.  There weren’t as many people there as in the other stores of course.  They simply do not have the square footage.  However, there was a long line for people to buy.
We began our adventure at 3 a.m. and ended at 8 a.m.; a short period of time for many professional Black Friday shoppers.  Gwen and I decided that we will start this as a ritual.  Next time, we will have more money and a shopping plan to buy.

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