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November 30, 2008

Black Friday

by Dan

I was planning to take advantage of Black Friday this year to buy a new television. I purchased and returned one earlier this year and had been looking forward to November for months. I spent quite a bit of time looking for deals, but never seemed to find any that seemed especially compelling. So instead of waking up before dawn and standing outside Best Buy at 5am with a few hundred other anxious shoppers, I decided to sleep in.

But fate (or was it destiny?) had other ideas. Cheryl has been planning to get two chairs for the kids for quite some time. It turns out that ShopKo had kid chairs as a doorbuster deal at 70% off. She was going to brave the crowds herself, but since I wasn’t getting a TV I volunteered to go instead and let her sleep. She’s been up a lot with the baby recently.

The Spanish Fork ShopKo was teeming with people at 6:30am when I got there. They’d opened at 5am. Honestly, I didn’t think there were that many ShopKo fans in Spanish Fork, which isn’t a big place. They had one chair left which I grabbed and then headed for the exit. I was in the store for 45 minutes, most of that standing in line to pay. As I waited, I had to stop myself from adding up how many dollars per hour I was “saving” by getting up so early.

But my quest for kid chair goodness wasn’t over. I needed another chair. So I headed into Orem to hit another ShopKo. Having been through the Black Friday experience once, I’d learned a few things and felt I could speed things up. You see, using a cart slows you down when you’re weaving quickly through heavy crowds. The second store also had just one chair remaining, which I held under my arm as I walked to the front of the store. The crowds were larger though (not too surprising as Orem is a bigger place), so I ended up waiting nearly as long for my second chair.

I now had my two chairs and almost headed for home. But I was curious about TVs at Best Buy. Nothing they’d advertised looked interesting, but I’d read that they often have unadvertised, super-secret sales. And since I was already in Orem, I decided to stop by.

I’ve never seen so many people determined to buy stuff that seemed pretty overpriced. Amazon never looked so good. I even price-checked a few things (my phone has a web browser) to make sure I wasn’t missing something. There may have been some good deals, but the stuff I was interested in was noticeably more expensive.

So much for Black Friday. I think I’ll be staying home next year. Unless, of course, the kids need bigger chairs.

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