This morning, for the first time ever, I got up early and went out into the zoo that is called Black Friday for the inaugural day of the shopping season for the Christmas holidays. As I approached the Best Buy store near my home at around 5:45 a.m., I could see that finding a parking place in their lot would be a frustrating, if not an impossible task, so I parked in the Lowe’s parking lot near by. The doors were scheduled to open at 5:00 a.m. and I had hoped to be there in line for that opening, but my best laid plans, like those of mice and men before me, went awry. Even at 5:45 a.m. when I arrived there was a queue that stretched the length of the building, outside the store, awaiting permission just to go inside and partake of the bountiful bargains awaiting us there.
While huddled in the 28 degree weather (with the wind chill in the teens), I learned from one of my fellow bargain hunters that the people who were at the front of the line when the store opened had arrived at 8:30 p.m. the night before. Around 2:00 a.m., employees from the store had come outside and begun giving out vouchers for the most sought-after items, and by 4:00 a.m. all of the most coveted things were already sold. Since I was already up and in line, I decided to go ahead and wait to see if what I wanted was still available. The wait outside in the cold was only about 45 minutes and finally I was admitted inside the hallowed halls of Best Buy.
Once inside I found that the SanDisk MP3 players I wanted were already sold out. However, I was able to get a couple of SD memory cards and a Compact Flash memory card, which were some of the items on my shopping list, and I got into the line to pay for my purchases. That took another 45 minutes of winding through the dark recesses of the store on my way to the cash registers. After paying for my purchases, I asked one of the employees, somewhat sarcastically I’ll admit, whether there was a line to leave the store. To my amazement there wasn’t, so I made my way out, found my car and returned home to my first cup of coffee.
I’ve learned a good lesson from this visit to the zoo. Don’t do it! Sure, I found some things cheaper than I could have gotten them at another time, but any savings I may have gotten from standing in the freezing cold at that God-awful hour may be offset by the potential medical bills for treating the pneumonia I may develop as a result of my shopping experience.
A word of advice to those of you who may expect a Christmas gift from me in the future. Create a wish list at some online store and send me a link to it. All my future shopping will be done on Cyber Monday, not on Black Friday.