November 29, 2008

"Black Friday" Etiquette

No, I did not get up ridiculously early to go stand outside in the cold and wait in line only to walk away empty handed. Actually, I didn't go at all. I know my sister and her husband did, it seems as though they have made this a sort of tradition for themselves. He got up at 3:45am and headed to a popular electronics store after which he headed home to pick up my sister because she wanted to "sleep in" until 4:30am. The two of them proceeded to navigate their way through the maze of sleepy-eyed shoppers and deals galore (or so I've heard).

On our way to our relatives on Thanksgiving day we passed a popular electronics store where there was already a tent set up outside the front door and it was only 12:45pm. This got me thinking and led to some discussion later in the weekend about the proper etiquette for waiting in line during the wee hours of the morning on "Black Friday"(click to find out why it's called that if you're not sure)...

1. If you get there early and setup a tent, do you have to stay in the tent or are you free to leave it and come back when you want to?

2. Is it possible for some object or person to save your place in line?

3. Is it common for people to take shifts waiting in line? If so, are the other people in line cool with this?

4. What is the deal or what would the deal have to be in order to motivate an individual to forfeit an entire night of sleep to go wait outside in the cold only to go shopping?

5. Are there any sort of "deals" that are being made while in line? Trading/selling item coupons or tickets, place in line, coffee, etc.? Is that generally frowned upon?

6. Shouldn't the fact that a store worker in NY was trampled to death as the doors were opened early Friday morning make us question our priorities as a society?

If you know the answer to any of these questions or have experienced any of these different "Black Friday" scenarios, please tell. Or if you have a story or a great deal that you got because you decided to wake-up before the rest of the world did, let us know.


dk said...

For the first time in my life I got up this year at 4:45am to make it to Meijers by 5am. I went looking for these digital frames. I think they had them on sale for $29. Went to get them for all the grandparents. Of course I needed four and could only get 2 at a time. Waited in a line to get them, waited in line to check out and then did it again to get my other two. They were going quick. I'm guessing I saved $30 to $40 a piece. I think that was worth it to get up. I then headed over to Best Buy to buy the instruments for Rock Band for my boys. That place was a zoo! Waited a long time to check out there. All in all it was alright. Not sure I would do it again unless I really needed something.

One side bonus of getting up and going was it made my wife really happy. Normally she's the one running around "buying" Christmas for our families. This year I did. A few brownie points can go a long way.

Anonymous said...

I hate, hate, hate shopping on a normal day and the crowds on Black Friday put me over the edge, so I can't answer most of your questions since I normally avoid it. This year, however, I decided to try for a Wii game for my daughter that was on sale at Target, so I got there shortly after 6 am thinking I'd at least avoid the mad rush as they opened the doors. Nope, they were still herding people through a roped line. I turned around and walked right back to my car.

I can comment on your last question, though: It's appalling that stores like Walmart will try to lure people in, knowing what kind of crowds they face (both in number and in mindset) and then not have adequate security or plans to deal. Stores only look at the bottom line, and shoppers like that, who are more interested in any real or perceived deal than in human decency and even life, are totally missing the point of Christmas.

Matt said...

dk: thanks for the read and comment. nice work on grabbing some brownie points with the mrs. the thought of getting up at 4:45am makes me nauseous.

anonymous: thanks for the read and comment. what a bummer to get up early only to turn around and go back home but i must admit that more than likely i would have done the same thing.

the point of Christmas...a good thing to be reminded of.