My First and Last Black Friday

by on October 13th, 2010
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Black Friday, Black Friday weekend, Cyber Monday. What more can a boy ask for in contemporary consumerist America? There are two types of Black Friday shoppers: the ones who have been saving all year for this annual first-world carnage and the ones who line up just for the heck of it. Before 2011, I was neither.

I had always been disapproval of this dearly beloved American tradition. I branded the whole idea of camping out in the cold idiotic…until this year. 2011 was different. On the morning of Thanksgiving day, I came across some advertisements on the internet. There I saw it, the item of every boy’s dream. Behold the Black Friday 2011 PS3 Bundle (with a PlayStation 3 160GB system, a dualshock 3 wireless controller, LittleBigPlanet 2 SE, Ratchet & Clank, and more!) , with a measly 199 dollar price tag. If I were ever to own a PS3, it was the time to act!

Thanksgiving was supposed to be a day dedicated to family and loved ones. This time around, I could not care less. I stuffed my face with delicious goodies, for which someone close to me had labored upon. After the utter and complete obliteration of holiday goodies, there was only one thing on my mind: Walmart.

Perhaps it was out of the goodness of their hearts, so that parents and sleepy children can go home before midnight. Who am I kidding? I am sure a poor mathematician from Walmart came up with the strategy and its justifications. The point is, for the first time in the history of Black Friday craziness, Walmart decided to start off the sales at 10 pm, exactly two hours before its competitors. A quick update from the local radio station revealed that hundreds of anxious shoppers had started camping both inside AND outside the local Walmarts for hours. But boy am I not worried. My logic was simple: the PS3 wasn’t exactly this year’s Ipad 2 or Iphone 4S. It was an old tech that came out 5 years ago. I was so certain that no one else wanted a PS3. A painful mistake. Under the false impression that I was the smoothest Black Friday shopper in America, I went into my first Black Friday experience at 11:30 pm, 90 minutes after all hell supposedly broke loose.

From the outset, it was all quiet on the western front. There were traces of chaos but the everything was almost back to normal. Police cars gathered at the entrance but there was no sign of foul play. All clear, no pepper spray to my face, I thought. I found a shopping cart and walked into the store.

It was all over. The interior of the store reminded me of one of those familiar post-apocalyptic worlds in your typical Hollywood blockbuster and I was a survivor. There were small groups of fellow scavengers scattered here and there, looking through the remnants of this consumerist wasteland. Where are the infamous lines, the brawlers, and the feisty housewives? I rushed to the electronic section but the exhausted guardian of my treasure just shook his head. I explored the rest of the store for potential deals. Nothing. All that was left were the dreaded regular items and the lines were even shorter than usual. Well, I thought, at least I can do my grocery shopping now. Loot of the night? A box of plastic Tuppleware and some grocery. What a scam!

Defeated and disgruntled, I went on an online shopping spree. Ebay, Frys, Costco, Newegg, Amazon…Amazon? More like amazing! I was extremely surprised that I found the same deal 3 hours into Black Friday. Moral of the story? Thanksgiving weekend is best spent with friends and family. If you had to shop while enjoying Grandma’s turkey, your best bet is a quick glance on your Iphone rather than the cold concrete.

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