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How Well Did You Fare on "Black Friday"? 93

Posted by Cliff
from the share-your-shopping-anecdotes dept.
Quixote asks: "''Black Friday' is about over now. Though I wasn't among the faithful who queued up to get into the stores, I could see massive traffic jams in the local Best Buy, Target, etc. on my drive in to work. But it looks like the online offerings of some of the retailers are also pretty much slashdotted (I'm downloading a 500KB rebate form from CompUSA rebate center at the blazing speed of 800bytes/sec as I submit this story). So, how many of you avoided the long checkout lines and used the 'net instead? What are your experiences? What 'killer' deals did you get online, that you wouldn't have gotten in the store? And what are your thoughts on this whole phenomenon: why shouldn't the stores just get rid of this 'lets open the store at an unearthly hour' practice, and just move all of the 'Black Friday' sales online?"
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How Well Did You Fare on "Black Friday"?

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  • I was wondering... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MacAndrew (463832) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:30PM (#4807523) Homepage
    ...why the heck they do this, too. Crowds make me itch. But a lot of people *love* it -- I read about people who dropped $1000 or more on Christmas gifts, and I sure many spent more than they intended because they were spend-saving or "spaving" -- and there's probably a race to the bottom among retailers to out-do each other and pack the people in.

    I think the kind of shopper who gets an adrenaline rush from this kind of shopping -- and if they do, fine, so long as they don't blow apart their credit rating -- likes to touch the merchandise, and likes the shopping experience. It's entertaining. Hey, I still go to bookstores even though I can get most things cheaper at home. There's the power to browse, and the opportunity to impulse buy; the sharpest discount and greatest convenience aren't the whole thing.

    Now, the whole holiday going down the materialism tube, that's a whole 'nuther debate. :)
    • by handsomepete (561396) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:55PM (#4807644) Journal
      "I read about people who dropped $1000 or more on Christmas gifts"

      I had to return something that I purchased a few days earlier on Friday, and I was stuck behind a couple who were purchasing decent matching PCs with 17" flat panel monitors and a laptop. Oh yeah, and a VCR (which oddly seemed the man's primary concern). The total that I saw was somewhere in the area of $6,000.

      I'm not sure how I felt after seeing that as I returned some washer hoses to get my 30 bucks back, but I'm sure it wasn't good...

      The most interesting thing I saw out of the whole day was a pair of police officers putting big bright orange warnings on cars telling the owners that they were likely candidates to be broken in to. I asked one officer about it and he said, "If we see anything in plain site - electronics, purses, movies or CDs - we put this note on the car to alert them to the fact they could be a target for a car break-in." When I pointed out to him that putting big bright orange notes on windshields might make the cars slightly bigger targets, he scratched his head and just stood there, silent.
      • by TeeWee (98278) on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @07:54AM (#4809136) Journal
        When I pointed out to him that putting big bright orange notes on windshields might make the cars slightly bigger targets, he scratched his head and just stood there, silent.

        Actually, police officers do the same things sometimes where I live. Only, they're a bit smarter about it and leave notes on all cars. Good cars get a note saying "Nothing in sight" and targets get a note saying "Next time, you may just want to cover up that cellphone of yours!"
      • asked one officer about it and he said, "If we see anything in plain site - electronics, purses, movies

        I don't mind a plain site, as long as the content is good and easy to find. How were the cops marking web sites, anyway?

  • racist! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    as an African American, I object to slashdot's use of the phrase "Black Friday", as it perpetuates the stereotype of African Americans as having nothing better to do than eat fried chicken, get high, and dream of raping whitey's woman.

    For Shame, Slashdot!

    Jamal 'X' Kwiefieme

    • Re:racist! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes but my grandmother was Dutch.
    • Re:racist! (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I know the parent is a troll, but it's a common misconception that the 'Black' in 'Black Friday' is intended to imply something bad and foreboding. In fact, the 'Black' in 'Black Friday' refers to the day that most retailers go "in the black" - in other words, that's the day the company starts making money.

    • Hey, that's not funny. What the hell do you think you're doing? If you want to say something slimey and racist like that, take it somewhere else.
  • and got a really great deal on a rear-projection wide-screen television courtesy of a "hot deal" listed on fatwallet.com [fatwallet.com] by crossing the border into the 'states. However, Black Friday won't hold a candle to the awesome deals I'll get on Boxing Day in Montréal. Muah ha ha ha.
  • Busy, busy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NBrooke271 (260498) <`Nick.Brooke' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:34PM (#4807548) Homepage
    I don't know about you guys, but I was at work all day. We made more money at the box office at my science center last Friday than we did all of Feburary. Everyone turned out for a day of family fun and learning after their shopping adventures.
    • I'm willing to bet most of your crowd was kids and daddies. The St. Louis Zoo was apparently hosting crowds of kids and daddies as well. Where were the mommies?

      Shopping!

  • by bitty (91794) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:46PM (#4807610) Homepage
    I spent the day in my jammies wrapped in a warm blanket in front of my computer. Nothing beats getting all your shopping done in one day without dealing with rude people and terrible traffic. God bless online shopping!
  • No change (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:56PM (#4807645) Homepage
    Wal Mart was still mostly deserted at 3AM.
  • by Jonny 290 (260890) <brojames@ductTEAape.net minus caffeine> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:56PM (#4807646) Homepage
    Cheaply made electronics beat each other half to death to get a better deal on YOU!
  • I didn't buy a single thing except for groceries all four days.
  • by timothy (36799) on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @12:08AM (#4807700) Homepage Journal
    ... and all I got were these lousy USB adapters!

    Actually, I got stocking stuffers -- "safety hammers." These are the orange, weighted hammers for smashing auto glass, with a notch protecting a blade for slicing seatbelts etc. They were on sale for $5 apiece, so I bought out the store (they only had 6 left).

    However, what I *wish* I had gotten is about 20 of those stupid remote control cars, and put them all on eBay. Then I could have bought some real presents.

    timothy
    • by timothy (36799)
      And the *reason* I didn't get 20 of the stupid little cars is that they were completely sold out, because other people smarter than me already did the ebay hoarding first.

      timothy
      • How did ebay hoarders make a living before the existence of the internet? I guess if you've got the foresight to do it, more power to you. It's always fun to hear the groans from collectors on a Toys R Us shipment day when some guy grabs 20 of the new hot Star Wars figure and goes through the checkout line with dollar signs in his eyes...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      OR you could, um, buy a train set and click on that pop-under for an X10 wireless camera.

      Various household items later, you would have a shoddy, fragile TrainCam! And then you could write an incredibly long story about it like so:

      "...and then I suddenly realized, after copious amounts of caffeinated beverages, my bladder was indeed reaching maximum capacity. I therefore headed to the restroom, where I relieved myself, with the aid of some blue-tack in massive quantities, of course."
    • > Actually, I got stocking stuffers -- "safety hammers." These are the orange, weighted hammers for smashing auto glass, with a notch protecting a blade for slicing seatbelts etc.

      Are these for breaking into cars or out of them?
      • tools are neutral :)

        I hope never to be in an accident where it will be really important that I be able to reach my little orange handled window smasher, but I don't plan to go around randomly breaking windows with it :)

        timothy
    • by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @03:01AM (#4808398) Homepage Journal
      Scene at CmdrTaco's house, Christmas Day:

      CmdrTaco excitedly grabs a large, hastily-wrapped box. He reads the tag aloud to all those nearby:

      "From Timothy. Hi Rob, sorry I couldn't make it to the party. Here's something to take with you on the go; these can be really handy at times. I bought the last one the store had. Open the box to find out. Enjoy!"

      CmdrTaco tries to guess what it is.

      "Maybe it's a new Jornada! Or, one of those slick CD/MP3 players, or even an Archos!"

      *shakes box vigorously*

      "I bet it could be a new handheld GPS! Or maybe just a really good travel mug, I'd be happy with that!"

      CmdrTaco rips into the box, unraveling layer after layer of bubble wrap and tissue paper. Finally he grabs something heavy, and plastic, and...orange. Pulling it out of the box, CmdrTaco sits staring at the "Safe-T-Hammer" in his hands, turning it over and over, reading the poorly translated description of its life-saving abilities.

      CmdrTaco then remembers the last time he clicked on a Timothy article.

      CmdrTaco lays the outrageously orange hammer on the couch next to him, places his head in his hands, and weeps silently.
  • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @12:16AM (#4807729) Homepage Journal
    One of the reasons, as proven in social psychology research: crowding acts as an arousing agent. Crowding has been shown to heighten a situational reaction, i.e., if you're going to the store to go buy things, you're more likely to do so if everyone around you is bustling about doing the same thing.

    Not only that, but the crowds in the stores make customers fall for their gimmicks (buy one, get one free; buy one, get a free silver platter). They also subject the customer to huge amounts of other kinds of marketing.

    Crowds HELP stores, not hurt customers.
  • by 3-State Bit (225583) on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @12:19AM (#4807741)
    I was perplexed, since it's only Tuesday, until I collated this with buy nothing day [adbusters.org] (more [google.com]) and realized that November 29th was, in fact, on Friday. (I was out of town for Thanksgiving and wasn't going to buy anything that day anyway).

    So, uh, yeah.

    Robert.
    [1] (Yes, every editor is Taco -- esp. the ones who go by Ed.)
  • Boring, I know, but cheap, *and* I could self-righteously claim to be supporting "Buy Nothing" day, completely by accident, thereby gaining kudos with my radical friends.

    Yay for me. ;-)
  • And what are your thoughts on this whole phenomenon: why shouldn't the stores just get rid of this 'lets open the store at an unearthly hour' practice, and just move all of the 'Black Friday' sales online?

    Believe it or not -- people enjoy shoving through crowds of fellow shoppers on the ordained "buy something" day.

    I mean, you couldn't pay me to set foot in a mall on that day and I've been wondering if I can put off buying some desperately needed new socks until the holidays end, but everyone isn't like that. (Although, don't people have jobs to go to on the day after Thanksgiving? Do most people really get 4 day weekends?)

    No, I'm not quite ready to buy my socks online...

    • what's wrong with buying socks online? it's not like you'll need to try them on before decide they are what you want. socks a probably one of the best cothing items to buy online. not that I've ever ordered socks online, but I'm not opposed :)
      --
  • shopping online (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zarqman (64555)
    "why shouldn't the stores just get rid of this 'lets open the store at an unearthly hour' practice, and just move all of the 'Black Friday' sales online?"

    yes, let's move everything online. never mind the fact that on that one friday morning my net connection is actually fast (or something approaching fast anyway) because everyone is at the mall.

    in all honesty, i suspect most people take one of two positions on the event: 1) they enjoy going out with the masses. 2) they enjoy making fun of everyone who goes out. i suspect most of the /. crowd falls in the latter.

  • by zonker (1158)
    dunno who else saw this, but in related news fatwallet 'protector of price and purveyor of outstanding offers' is fighting back [infopop.net] at the same stores that went after then. especially walmart. got this newsbit over at arstechnica.
  • When Black Friday comes
    I'm gonna dig myself a hole
    Gonna lay down in it 'til
    I satisfy my soul
  • attachment sales (Score:4, Informative)

    by jenniferj (16471) on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @07:59AM (#4809144)
    I work for a major retailer, and our boss cautioned us that morning, before the doors opened to the customers: if we didn't sell additional items with the "doorbusters" -- those incredible discounts -- then we wouldn't make any money.

    That's the truth in retail, anyway. Often things are sold at deep discounts, knowing the add-on sales will bring in the bucks. That cheap digital camera? Let me sell you some batteries and photo paper and an additional memory card. A free-after-rebate printer? Cable and ink and paper.

    This is true, for retailers like mine, ESPECIALLY on a day like black Friday. We wouldn't have gotten our bonuses if we hadn't gotten those attachments... and people are going to need them anyway, aren't they?

    (for the record: I would never suggestion an add-on sale that was pointless, or continue to push if the customer said no)
    • So, out of curiousity, do the sales of said additions/attachments go up on "Black Friday" on correspondance to the sale items which go down?

      Sounds like a good way to wring a few bucks out of the simpleminder. Hey, this printer is only $45, oh, but don't forget you'll need this USB cable (at $25), and maybe some extra ink (at $30)...
      • We don't attach anything you don't need, and prices are usually the same or lower when the bigger item is on sale. What she said is very true; most stuff is under our cost when the sales are big, and we need to make SOME money. After all, they gotta pay us something, right? :) But NO, accessories should NOT cost more, and if you see they do anywhere, I'd get angry. Not at my store, tho! :)
  • I have been suckered into the whole "buy it now or lose $$$" before... The table saw I bought 'on sale' a year ago is still available at the same price... stood in line for awhile to get in the store, then had to go to work...

    I now work the day after Thanksgiving (the fed doesn't sleep) and completely skip the crowds. Online, however, buy early and ignore the hype.

  • Black Friday has been over for over 72 hours. You must be new to Slashdot, stories rarely are posted the same day they happen.
  • http://adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd/ [adbusters.org]

    It was BUY NOTHING DAY, you fools!!

  • I tried to buy something on Best Buy.com [bestbuy.com] and my credit card got billed, but the order didn't get placed... "Unusually high network traffic" they said.. Interesting how they have enough bandwith to bill me, but not enough to place the order..

    And today, 4 business days later, they're still "researching" the charge (aka. I haven't gotten my money back yet!)
  • I work at an independant Piano store. I worked all 3 days of the weekend, and let me tell you, it was interesting. People playing pianos, having to sort thru music, convincing customers that we have JUST the right gift for their piano teacher, even tho I know that 3 of said teachers other students have all gotten her the same thing...

    It was as bad as it has been in the past, nor as bad as I suspect Christmas Eve will be when I'm moving pianos. ~Donald
  • Why, do you ask? Because not everyone has or uses a computer; regardless of the statistics. I have a couple for work and play but my neighbors? None. Well, maybe one person up the street has one. Some people like to browse; and other people make lists of specifics, get them, and go. I sometimes browse but other days I get the list from my wife and get done (that's what I loaded shopping list software on my Palm for!)
  • Buy Nothing Day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NickFusion (456530) on Wednesday December 04, 2002 @12:12PM (#4810616) Homepage
    http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/bnd/

    I spent friday in a lovely little town in Canada, sitting by a roaring fire with friends and family, eating a modest homecooked meal.

    I read a book (Stanislaw Lem's, "The Futurological Congress), went out for a walk in the snow with my wife.

    Did you enjoy your shopping?

  • the store i work at did over 6 times normal sales. our store based most of our deals on rebates too. most people for some odd reason arnt capable of completing rebates properly or in a timely manner, so while they all think they're getting a deal at the time we actualy dont lose much money at all.
    • I just bought this printer with a $30 rebate. I thought my wife had already sent the rebate out so I threw away the box with the proof of purchase UPC on it, but she hadn't. So no rebate. Oh, well , i only paid $60 for the damn thing anyway.
      • this is exactly what stores count on and from the sounds of it your in the position were it doesnt matter much to you. however im a poar college student who must send in the rebate to be able to afford items :)


        the thing i find funny is that if you do an exchange of an item with no upc the stores will make sure you keep the old box however most items like printers are were customers can access them and just simply gain themselves another barcode... all i know is retail is very touchy against fraud yet they dont try hard to protect themselves from it

  • My wife had planned to go out on Black Friday and spend somewhere in the ballpark of $400-500 all said and done. I wasn't pleased. I know that she's saving lots and lots of money--but I just can't afford to save any more! We've been living off my grad-student's income and her unemployment since her layoff a couple months back.


    Anyway, she ended up not going (thankfully); but she instead blessed me with our first child being born. Now--don't get me wrong... I love this little guy and I'm incredibly happy he's finally here. I'm just starting to think that a few hundred dollars and coping with insane crowds was getting off easy ;)

  • It's nice that this year, rather than the traditional "Thanksgiving" facade, the TV chans went straight to making it the Black Friday holiday, otherwise known as "Shameless Capitolism Day".
  • Mom thought it'd be a great idea if she and her "girls" went shopping all day on Black Friday. So Mom, my sisters (ages 23 and 20), my niece (age 2 mo) and I bundled into the car at 7:30 am, trucked it 2 hours to the outlet mall, and went Shopping.

    First we had to stop at the bank, though, for Mom to get money. The ATM was broken so she had to go use a teller. She came back to the car chuckling. The teller had asked Mom if she was going shopping, so Mom said, "Yep, just me and my girls!" The teller told her that it was going to be really crowded out, so my mom really ought to think about getting some of those "straps" for us.

    We enjoyed the image of the three of us straining against our toddler leashes. ;-)

    So anyway, the mall was in fact insanely crowded, but it was sort of fun anyway. I mean, I love Christmas so it was cool to get into the spirit a little. But one day of it was plenty. I can guarantee you that the rest of my shopping will be online! :-)

    Sarah
  • I got some sweet wallpaper and two pinwheels in Grab Bag's from Nookington's on Sale Day. I sold most of it back, but the pinwheels are fun to run around with.
  • I went to CompUSA and got everything I set out to get:

    ATI AIW 7500 for $100 after rebates
    150 CD-R's free after rebates
    Asylum Geforce2 for $30 after rebates

    I bought this Imation mini CD-R burner/player ($30), but returned it the next day because it seemed kinda useless, it couldn't do CD-RW. I also picked up the rebate forms the next day because their website was soooo slow I couldn't get anything off of it. Also picked up a can of compressed air free after rebates the next day.

    Personally I love "Black Friday" I got even better deals last year. CompUSA isn't too crowded and a lot of their sales you can go later in the week and they'll still have it. I also went to Circuit City, Staples, and Best Buy but was way too late for any of the free stuff and didn't buy anything at those stores.

    I don't particularly like online shopping all that much. I hate having to wait for my stuff to arrive. If I can get it local, I'd rather do that. With online shopping sometimes you have to wait longer because they didn't bother to tell you they don't have it in stock and other times you get the product (say a hard drive) and you find they did an absolute horrible job of packaging it and the thing must've bounced around the entire time. And then shipping costs on top of it all. Not to mention if you're not home you have to go drive somewhere to pick it up anyways (or risk having it stolen).
  • I got to Best Buy around 6:30 AM, saw the parking lot, and people parking across the street, turned right around and went back home.

    Went back later in the day, all the "good" stuff was gone. Then I went to Circuit City and picked up a 256MB stick of PC133 for free after rebate. Had the rebate in the mail on Saturday.

    Bought a new parka online from REI Outlet on Sunday, using a 20% off coupon I found at FatWallet. I had been shopping for one for a few weeks and really couldn't find anything locally that I really liked.
  • That's Buy Nothing Day. Of course I didn't buy anything.

    I don't see this mania for shopping. I buy stuff in bulk, and when it runs out, I order some more. Shopping occupies a few hours a month, tops. Life is too short to be wasted in retail outlets.

  • First of all, most people in my life who work in retail LOVE the first day after Thanksgiving. (The workaholics, at least-- including my dad. It's his favorite day to work... it's really fun to be swamped at work if you're not a whiner...)

    But I digress... my first reaction to this Ask Slashdot is, "What's the big draw of consumerism?"

    I mean... seriously. Why? Why do people care about stuff like this? I don't. I don't think that material wealth is all that interesting, actually. Most Slashdot readers are American, and most Americans are greedy little capitalists. Why? What's the draw?

    I mean, I like computers and everything... it's fun to buy a new tech-toy. But why make such a big deal about MONEY? It's just money, after all. I understand why people like it... but still. What's the point? Shit like this appearing on slashdot... ach... I just wish people would wake up and get a clue.

    Life has a lot of amazing things in it, besides stores. Discover some of them, won't you?

    BrodeCo International: WE OWN YOU!
  • by the whole phenomenon. What is the appeal of shopping on this particular day? I understand there are sales, but they will continue until well past Christmas.

    This day is about nothing more than spending money. Blatent consumerism at its worst. It's a shame there isn't a universally recognised day of the year in which people strive to help someone in need, or do their part to reduce pollution (walk or ride with someone else). If there was, we would certainly be better off.

    FWIW, I didn't spend a dime on black friday.
  • I work at good ol' Circuit City, and I worked from 6AM to 6PM with 20 minutes for lunch. People were waiting outside at 5:30 when I actually got there and the first things they went for were the cheap stuff that was free post rebate- CD label kit, 20 dollar binoculars, cd player cases, etc. I mean, none of this stuff was worth more than 20 bucks to start off with, but people felt the need to sit in the FREEZING cold for almost 2 hours to get it. Probably JUST because it's free. Weird, huh? I honestly can't see getting up at 4 in the morning to get a free CD label kit. Can you?
    (BTW, employees of course were not allowed access to the free stuff. I've heard a lot of other stores allow the employees to grab stuff first. That's probably why '18 minimum per store' actually ends up being more like 6. We had at least 60 of each free item, over a hundred of most, and over a hundred of each sale item less than $300, and that's just my {low volume} store. That's because Circuit City RULES! :)

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