Explain Black Friday to a non-shopper

I honestly don’t understand going out for Black Friday sales. I haven’t seen an exciting price at a local retailer in years. Meanwhile Amazon and other online retailers are going nutsocrazy in huge sales that they will deliver directly to your door, and if you’re too late to get the best bargains, it takes five seconds of looking at the site to tell.

I’ve seen some pretty good prices on things, just nothing I would find worth spending 4-10 hours in the freezing cold for. I’ll pay a few hundred more for a big ticket item in exchange for staying warm and well-rested over the Thanksgiving holiday, thanks.

I agree. One year, we tried to get a special deal on an LCD (32 inch). We hit the stores at 5am or whatever, and had no chance of getting anything. That day I went home and found the same thing on Amazon for just a few bucks more, and it was delivered to my home a few days later. I vowed to never do Black Friday retail again. That was probably 5 years ago or so.

This is exactly it for me. And most of the time it’s not even a few hundred. Retailers will put up a few extremely limited items for stupidly low prices to get the sillies to line up 8 hours before the store opens, but the vast majority of the things “on sale” are pretty close to what they’d normally sell for. It’s just because it’s OMG BLACK FRIDAY that people think they’re getting a much better deal than usual. Back when I worked retail on this cursed day, I was constantly amazed at what people flipped out over. I’ve seen people go ballistic because we were out of the $12 100pk DVD ROM they drove 3 hours for. That’s not even an exaggeration, sadly.

As others have said, deals from Amazon and other such online stores are typically way better and don’t require you to sit on the sidewalk in the cold for several hours. Hell, the fact that they don’t require you to endure the rabid consumer horde at all is well worth any price difference.

But as for the thing about people going crazy over saving money in this poopy economy, I reckon they’d do better to just not go out and buy luxury items, even if there are some crazy deals going on. Nobody needs the shit that goes on sale during Black Friday.

Friday my mom and I got up at 3 a.m. to hit Target at 4 because they had several new-ish 360 games on sale for $35. Got in line, got in and then discovered that it would take longer to check out than we cared to spend, given that there was another store we wanted to hit at 5. So while I stood in line outside the second store, I got online at target.com with my phone and ordered the game I was gonna get. It hadn’t occurred to me such a thing would be possible.

I didn’t know whether to feel stupid or clever. Right now I’m going with stupid.

It can be kinda fun if you don’t take it too seriously. It’s like an adventure.

In some places people don’t wait for things to go on sale - they find an excuse to start a riot, break some windows, and take what they want in the ensuing chaos. Be happy we only have Black Friday.

I actually went to Walmart on Black Friday, in the early afternoon, and was pleased to discover that it was very uncrowded and almost pleasant to shop there.

My folks went to a midnight Wal-Mart sale on Thursday. It was their first Black Friday experience, and their last. They got there about 15 minutes prior to midnight and discovered that the entire store was one gigantic line of people who had been there for hours already and were waiting for the registers to start ringing people up at 12:01am. They fought their way through the crowd, found some stuff, and then stood in line for 30 minutes before they realized the damn thing wasn’t moving an inch. They then put the stuff back and went home. They said that no amount of savings was worth standing in line till 3 or 4 am. Plus, they didn’t like the ugliness they saw in their fellow human beings bitching and fighting over the bargains or the lines (my father’s a preacher, so he really didn’t like it.)

Heard from a friend that at a Best Buy in the Orlando area, some people showed up a week prior to Black Friday to wait in line. They said it was how they got into the Christmas Spirit. Best Buy encouraged this insanity by giving each of these crazy people a free iPad as thanks for all the free publicity. The people didn’t even know what the door buster sales were, they just really wanted to sit outside a Best Buy for seven days.

Those are people with way too much time on their hands.

See, this is the shit that just confuses the hell out of me. They had to have spent more on the gas to drive there and back than they would have saved on that item.

Aside from the “leader” items for Black Friday sales that you have to show up insanely early to even have a shot at getting, the internet has all the holiday deals you are likely to need with virtually zero hassle. I don’t begrudge people who are trying to save money, it’s just a shame they often choose to do so in the least effective but more popular methods such as Black Friday.

People go nuts on big sale days. It happens. A lot of us want no part of such shenanigans, clearly. But there are plenty of people who enjoy shopping and enjoy mixing it up at this time of year. If that’s someone’s thing, cool enough.

There are many parts of this country suffering under double-digit unemployment about to go through a third or fourth or fifth very austere Christmas in a row. It is not my intention to minimize the plight of the un- and underemployed.

But…there are some places in the country–and more than last year, and last year there were more than the year before–where people are finding jobs, and they’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. These are folks who may have had jobs in '08 and '09 as well, but they sat on their money because the proverbial “rainy day” seemed all too likely to happen. Now these folks are deciding to spend a little, to go a little hog-wild at Christmas. God bless 'em. It helps the economy at large, and it helps employees and other sectors as well.

The more shoppers the better. As someone whose livelihood depends on consumers, thanks. Seriously.

Bleh. I spent the whole weekend dealing with Black Friday and its aftermath. I’ve never understood why people think it’s worth. Yeah, you could have gotten Madden '11 for $29 or some no-name 19" LCD for $99, but you pretty much wipe out your holiday weekend in the process. Not to mention all the people that have to work so that you can pack into a store a midnight. On top of that, everyone involved ends up being burned out and short-tempered from the experience. Not my idea of how to start the holiday season.

Tangent alert: What’s odd is I didn’t know a single person that had lost their job until a month ago. Within the last month eight I know have lost (or are losing, soon) their jobs. Since I’m a pessimist I’ve been living the last couple of years worrying about it but now it is finally starting to happen to my circle of acquaintances – odd it took so long.

Never forget Black Friday

I still don’t know anyone who has technically lost a job. I do know a couple dozen contract programmers who had long term contracts expire without renewal and who have worked in spotty 1 to 3 month spurts with 1 to 3 month gaps in between for most of the last 2 years. I’d be that way myself, but I lucked into a full time job with a small company after 4 months of looking and have been gainfully employed ever since.

This probably explains why you don’t know anyone who lost their job. The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s is a whopping 5%.

Interesting link, that pretty much sums up what I’ve seen also, I guess the recession really hit those with less education the hardest.

Oh, and WTF black Friday? It’s like those videos of people losing their shit when Oprah gives them free stuff - Americans are obsessed with getting and looking rich.

Man, some of you have such a case of the vapors. There are a lot of things that will bring down Western civilization, but I’m pretty sure people staying up all night to do some bargain hunting one day a year won’t be one of them.