There is nothing like Black Friday. It’s the day where consumerism takes hold of the American public. Prices are slashed on the hottest items and millions of customers line up waiting to get into their favorite stores. To put it bluntly, today is the biggest shopping day of the year.
I’ve always been fascinated with Black Friday. Even though it’s something I don’t normally participate in, I always find it unique to see all the chaos that unfolds on this day. All day on Facebook, I have seen nothing but status updates from my friends chronicling their success or failure at catching today’s deals. I was caught up in the latter category.
As of yesterday, I hadn’t really given any thought to doing any extravagant shopping. For one, my car is being fixed, so even if I did want to shop, I figured I would have no way to get anywhere. My parents ended up going out of town and left me with their car (they went in my dad’s truck), so at least I had a ride. Still, there wasn’t anything that really grabbed my attention. That was until I browsed through the K-mart circular in our local newspaper. I saw they would have the Fujifilm AV 2000 digital camera on sale for $49.99. The original price was $79.99. I’ve been talking about getting a new camera for a while and this looked like my best chance. It’s virtually impossible to find a decent 14 megapixel camera for under $50 (excluding tax).
The catch was that it would be on sale from 5-11 a.m. In other words, that meant they would likely be sold out by 6. Fortunately, my local K-mart is only five minutes away from where I stay, so I thought that setting my clock for 4 a.m. would be a surefire way to be there in enough time for when they opened. Besides, who really shops at K-mart these days! From watching the news reports, it seemed as if everyone in the Piedmont Triad area was either waiting in line at Target, Wal-Mart or Best Buy. My parents had went to Wal-Mart around 9 p.m. last night and told me that the entire parking lot was filled as people were waiting for the 10 p.m. sales to begin. In my mind, I thought that the majority of Reidsville would be at Wal-Mart anyway.
My alarm went off as planned and I left my house around 4:20. I arrived at K-mart to discover a line of customers waiting. Maybe this was a big deal? It looked like anywhere from 50-60 people. It was large for K-mart standards, but I’m sure it paled in comparison to the hundreds that were in line at the other stores. I walked up to the sidewalk with my iPod in hand to listen to a few tunes while I waited for the store to open. I figured I may as well listen to some good music while freezing my butt off outside. Before I could even get comfortable, an employee delivered the fatal news: they had already given out the two tickets for the camera.
That’s right. The biggest sale of the freaking year and the store only had TWO cameras in stock. Thankfully, I’m not a violent person because I definitely felt like going upside the head of the young lady who broke the news. Of course, I turned back around, got in my car and went back home. My mom couldn’t believe it. She told me it was a common tactic that stores use on this day. They keep a limited amount of items in stock, hoping to lure customers in with other deals once they step into the store. Basically, the goal is that customers will end up spending their money on things they didn’t intend to buy. Crazy! A friend of mine suffered a similar fate at the Best Buy store in Greensboro. She was in line for a plasma-screen television set and they had about 40 tickets for the item. Unfortunately, she was number 50 in line.
The following is my status update from Facebook that I wrote when I got back home from my Black Friday disappointment:
“Geesh. My Black Friday shopping was over before it even began. Lol. I can kind of see how people get so upset and do crazy things on this day. Kmart shouldn’t have even had the Fujifilm AV2000 camera on sale if they only planned on sending two to every store. I think there should be a policy where every store should have at least 30-50 of the really popular electronic products in stock for Black Friday. Woke up at 4 a.m. for nothing!!!!”
I guess I should’ve seen something like this coming. The last time I participated in Black Friday was three years ago at the very same K-mart. And guess what I was attempting to purchase then? If you guessed a digital camera then you’re correct! Maybe this was a sign from God that I don’t ever need to get a digital camera on Black Friday again.
I just find it very amusing and very stupid that a major retailer would only stock TWO of its most popular items per store. That makes zero sense to me. Apparently, it made zero sense to others since a few people replied to my update from Facebook. In today’s harsh economic climate you would think the major retailers would want to at least provide a larger quantity of the popular electronic products. With rising gas (even though it’s going down a bit here) and grocery prices, plus the highest unemployment rate in years, you would think that these major companies would like to do everything in their power to please the consumers and let them get a new television set or camera. And people on Wall Street wonder why the Occupy Movement has been such a big success. People are tired of the economic inequities in this country. They are tired of being taken advantage of even when it comes to something as simple as a Black Friday sale.
I’m pretty sure I’ll get the camera in a few weeks. Paying an additional $30 bucks won’t break the bank, but then again, I wonder if this is the exact sense of frustration felt by the individuals who resorted to violence on today. I’ve already read a report of a customer spraying other customers with pepper spray at a Wal-Mart in Los Angeles. The story quoted the person as “being an unhappy customer.” I’m not condoning violence. However, maybe it’s time for these retailers to really reconsider their Black Friday sales tactics.
Regardless, I do know one thing for certain– I will never wake up extra early to buy a camera on this day again!