Remember when I said Black Friday was my favorite American holiday? People always thought I was crazy. Turns out I have never really experienced a true Black Friday. Now I know why.
At first my family set a no-shopping-on-Thanksgiving rule. We were to hang around the house, eat, then relax as a family. But then we saw Old Navy’s coupon was only valid on Thanksgiving and would give better deals than Black Friday. And if my family enjoys anything more than hanging out with each other, it’s hanging out with each other while getting a good deal. So while my dad watched the turkey, my mom, brother and I went to Old Navy. And since that was OK, my brother and I thought we’d go to Michael’s in the evening, since their coupon was also better on Thanksgiving. And since that was OK, we figured we’d just pop into Walmart and get some deals on video games and blu-rays.
I don’t know what I imagined Black Friday to be like at Walmart, but there really are no words. So here’s a thousand’s worth:
We waited in a long queue at Michael’s then made it to Walmart just in time for the specials that began at 10 p.m. My brother had his heart set on an Xbox but the minute we walked in the already-busted door he knew that deal was long gone. We didn’t even try to park in the store’s lot, opting to park near the office buildings across the street. Once we entered the store it was choose-your-own-cliche: a zoo; a madhouse. We wanted to beeline for the electronics section, but we couldn’t move. Aisles were blocked wall to wall with shoppers and their massive carts full of loot. Police officers and security stood guard by giant bins full of goods that could not be sold until midnight or 8 a.m.
“I was trying to get the Paula Deen pan set and somebody stepped on my foot,” we overheard someone shout in a strong southern drawl.
“I just want to get the game and get out,” my brother said. “I don’t care about anything else.”
An employee was blocking off aisles with yellow tape. It was unclear why, so we cut underneath it. She protested but didn’t stop us. We maneuvered our way through the crowds, similar to a motorcyclist in a traffic jam. We were probably breaking some cardinal rule of Walmart Black Friday, but from what I could tell, there were no rules, just utter chaos. There weren’t even any sale prices on anything – you had to remember what was on sale from the flyer. We finally made our way to the electronics section, passing hundreds of customers with carts waiting in line for who-knows-what. We came upon the video game case, only to find the game we really wanted was gone. My brother grabbed a couple blu-rays he remembered were on special and was about to give up on the game when we found a few stashed in another display. We found an electronics till with no line which seemed too good to be true, but went for it. That’s the thing about Black Friday – some things are too good to be true, but some aren’t, and when they aren,’t, you just have to go for it because there are no rules; every man for himself. Purchased goods in hand, we felt a sense of victory… until we realized we had to exit the store.
Miraculously the whole ordeal only took us a half hour, but if we had waited in the lines to check out up front, we probably would have been there until 2 a.m. We lucked out by parking across the street and not trying to manuver a cart around, but I would still never go to Walmart again on a Black Friday (or Thursday) ever. No deal is worth that. That’s why God invented the Internet.
I am also mad at Black Friday because no site has the camera I want on sale, and the one that did jacked their price up $30 from Monday. Maybe this is a sign I don’t need a fancy camera right now.