The following is a guest post from my friend Kristina. Kristina braved the crowds to get some great deals on items she’d been coveting (and saving for) for quite awhile. She posted this originally on Facebook, but I asked her if I could share it with all of you. I think you’ll enjoy her tale from Black Friday. Please feel free to share your Black Friday shopping story in the comments.
My college friend Patrick is a vet when it comes to scouting out Black Friday deals and being in the Twin Cities last night I decided to participate in my first experience. I’ve always heard about these cRaZy shoppers that wait in line for HOURS before the doors open to hopefully get …one of the while-supplies-last “doorbuster” deals or the newly released can’t-live-without HOT item of the season. And now I can say I was one of those cRaZy people!
Patrick and his co-worker Branden and I arrived at 10:30 p.m. with two separate vehicles – prepared to make some BIG purchases. KSTP Channel 5 news was just leaving as we pulled in and there were hundreds of people before us. The night started out pretty laid back. Tailgaiting style. People huddled in groups around a tent, truck stocked with beer, or a grill. A soccer ball skidding between feet. A football spiraling through the air. A yellow lab panting next to his owner. Even a portable jumbo tron playing movies! We graciously met the people in front of us and quickly became friends. We sang campfire songs with no campfire, melodies we mutually new, discussed mutual acquaintances, and even took bathroom breaks in shifts at the one girls’ nearby apartment. I called my friend Josh who lives in Roseville to invite him to join us, and to my friend Eric who saw my Facebook post and wished that he could’ve joined us, and texted my cousin Addi who was going to be opening the Best Buy Roseville store.
When the bright blue Best Buy employees arrived just after 3 a.m. there was a stir in the crowd. People in line started abandoning the comforts of their chairs, sleeping bags, and posts forming a massive crowd at the front of the store. Roseville police officers were on the scene and did not waste any time ordering people to get into a single file line, to get to the back of the line (if they were a line cutter), and to pull guns out as if to taze people if they didn’t listen. WOW!
“Does anyone know this person? Is this person cutting in line?” the police would ask the crowd. If the person wasn’t “claimed,” they were asked to get to the back of the line. Valuable lesson learned in building and keeping community… even if it is a small community in a long line of people… which at one point almost circled the store. Over 1000+ people. Around 4 a.m. Best Buy employees began handing out the limited number of “doorbuster” tickets (which you would need to claim your specific item), pre-selling warranties, services they could offer on items, and pre-approving credit card applications — in the parking lot! “You’ve been pre-approved for $5k on your Best Buy credit card! Happy Shopping!” Hmmmmmm… no thanks.
I was assigned ticket # 14 for the Apple MacBook. Whew! Other items on my list were the 1.5 TB external hard drive, 20″ computer monitor for my office, the Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (Black) WITH the telephoto lens attachment AND bag, and a flat screen TV would be nice too. But it was a matter of priority, budget, patience, and sprinkled with some strategy in this Black Friday world.
At 4:30 a.m. a few (smart) Papa John’s pizza delivery folks showed up selling pizza by the slice. $2/one or 3 slices for $5. I bought 3 for $5 and turned around to sell each piece for $5. Isn’t that what capitalism is? Isn’t that what we’re teaching people? How many people were in line to buy something in the store to turn around and sell to someone else for more? Or auction off on eBay? Okay. Now I have a confession. Between Patrick, Branden, and I? We ate the pizza.
At 5 a.m. the doors opened and there was a constant fast-moving file of people with and without tickets flooding the store as if it had opened for the first time ever to the public. Mass confusion and chaos. Where to go? Am I in the right line? Can you get me a cart? Help me find this item?
My cousin Addi was waiting for me at the door. She just had to see her cRaZy cousin who had just spent the night in her workplace parking lot. I gave her a HUGE hug and then hurried off to stand in line and wait for another hour. At about 6:30 a.m. I checked out and we loaded up both cars full of big cardboarded boxed items.
The exhaustion set in after I started to warm up at the house. I took a 4 hour nap and am still cold, tired, and still craving coffee. But it was like Christmas waking up from that nap. A big screen monitor for my office computer. So many giggity-giggity-gigga-terra bytes I won’t know what to do with. And visions of iTunes, iMovies, and iNeedtoLearnAppleNow dancing in my head. Happy and safe shopping to you all this holiday season. Will I do this kind of thing again? I don’t know. I wouldn’t rule it out… and I do like winter camping… but it was cRaZy!