Saturday, November 27, 2010
Black Friday Part 5
Worst Black Friday ever.
My total haul for the day was one Xbox game: SmackDown Vs. Raw for $30. I guess I could have gotten some of my Christmas shopping done, but I tend to put that off until Christmas Eve. Black Friday has traditionally been an excuse for me to spend money on me, and there was just nothing this year. Even the selection of cheap DVDs was a disappointment. Sure, the first season of Mad Men for $10 is a great value. But how often would I watch it? I'd probably have it up on Goozex within six months.
I once again started off at the Potomac Yard Best Buy. By the time I got there around 4am, the line was considerably longer than it was when I got there around the same time last year. I'm not sure if this is a sign of increased economic recovery (more people spending!) or a sign of increased economic distress (more people desperate for low prices!).
One of the reasons I like Black Friday so much is that I never arrive with the intention of buying any of the doorbuster items. Given a choice between spending a late November evening camped out in front of Best Buy to get a $150 laptop or spending the night in my bed and paying full price, I'll always go with the latter. Other people, of course, felt differently. So when the Best Buy employees came around to let everyone know that tickets for all the good items had been distributed, there was a lot of grumbling. Sorry, folks, but if there are only 25-50 cheap plasma TVs available and 500 people in front of you...well, do the fucking math.
The Best Buy employees going up and down the line seemed surlier than usual. One guy in particular who was evidently on a huge Black Friday power trip as the distributor of doorbuster tickets, kept screaming at people to get back on the sidewalk if they would so much as step onto the street to get his attention.
They were also really pushing the Best Buy credit card as people waited in line. To make it more enticing to sign up, they had a wheel of fortune you could spin to win prizes. Awesome prizes! Like a water bottle! Or a Geek Squad t-shirt! Or a gift card! One person asked how much the gift cards were for, and she wouldn't say. Which presumably means $10 or so. You rock, Best Buy!
Once the doors opened, it was predictably a madhouse, but a manageable one. Unfortunately, I didn't see any fights over stuff. I got my game and left.
Target was dead. Like, ten-cash-registers-open-and-only-three-being-used, dead. Granted, they'd been open since 4, so I guess the rampaging horde had already come and gone, but it was weird how quiet the place was. I found nothing.
I wasn't expecting much here, so I wasn't disappointed. The Gap was having a 50% off everything sale until 10 am, but it was The Gap, so I didn't give a crap. Besides, given how overpriced The Gap, 50% off just brings its prices down to what they probably should be in the first place.
The Apple Store sort of made an effort this year, I guess. $100 off most MacBooks is, I think, a lot better than they've done on past Black Fridays. Fortunately, the new 11" MacBook Air wasn't on sale, or else I think I might have bought one. That thing really is beautiful, and $800 might have been too good to pass up.
There was a display in the food court selling something called an AR Drone, which was some sort of remote control flying hovercraft thing.
The company selling it had models throughout the mall handing out fliers. They were dressed in quasi-futuristic aviator uniforms. Kind of like how, back in the '90s, we figured cops would be dressing by now. It was very Demolition Man.
Well after it had opened, there was a line to get inside Urban Outfitters.
Two employees were stationed outside, acting like bouncers. The first would stop anyone who tried to enter. The second one was manning the line and would periodically let people in. And this would be understandable if the store was packed, but it wasn't. Far from it. This just seemed to be a deliberately douchey move. I know, it's hard to associate Urban Outfitters with "douchey," but there you are.
After a bit of walking around, trying not to be too annoyed by the obviously rich McLean teenagers who were there in force (I saw a group of 13 or 14 year-old girls with no parents around, gorging themselves at Wasabi as if they were eating Chicken McNuggets instead of sushi), I went to see Faster at 9:45. There is something indescribably awesome about being able to go to a movie at 9:45 in the morning. (Great movie, too. Dwayne Johnson needs to do more movies where he walks up and shoots people in the head, as opposed to playing the tooth fairy or racing to Witch Mountain or whatever.)
It was like a bomb had gone off. Crap was on the floors. People were still freaking out being there, despite it being well past noon. One woman cornered an employee and demanded to know where all the $1.99 DVDs were.
Just like last year, I quickly realized there was nothing worth standing in those lines for, and left. On my way out, I saw a Walmart employee angrily telling a customer that she'd be happy to help him if he would stop screaming at her for five seconds. Given my past retail experience and that the guy looked exactly like the sort of Black Friday shopper who would scream at an employee about something, I immediately sided with her, even though I missed what he was being upset about.
And...that's it. I went home, played a little SmackDown vs. Raw (it'll take a while before kicking John Cena's ass while playing as The Miz, gets old), and took a nap.