Last Season's Black Friday Chaos – Lessons Learned
I won’t be joining the crazy people out there on Black Friday this time around. I prefer to stay in the warmth, at a safe distance away from retail stores. I intend to do my shopping strictly online. This is why… the best I can remember it anyway:
Last year I went to Circuit City mainly for the experience, but also to pick up a Samsung 22 Inch LCD monitor since they had for a really good price (after rebate). I thought maybe I’d pickup a couple other things while I was there too. That idea got shot down about the second I entered the store, but more on that later. So the story begins, I got up early (4:30 AM?) and went to the closest Circuit City. I arrived and found some parking suprisingly. I laughed as I walked by people in tents at the front of the line. I kept walking back to the edge of the store and then I noticed that the line curled around the side of the building a few times. I wasn’t laughing anymore. I found a spot in line, at the end of the last curl. To my surprise it actually went pretty quick once the doors opened. I got inside within an hour of the store opening. The monitors were towards the back with the computers, so I started to make my way over there
I soon noticed that there were human-created bottlenecks all over the store. It took some forcing to get through. Once I got to the back of the store, there was a long line for the computer related items. Circuit City had set it up so that anyone looking for a computer item had to ask a store rep and then the rep had to key it into the computer. Someone else then had to go into the back and look for it. Meanwhile, everyone else had to wait for the one person. It was the worst setup I have ever seen, seriously, ever. I waited for a while and people started to get unruly. I’ll leave out the boring in-between details. After about an hour and half of not moving at all I got out of my spot, and pulled a rep over. As it turns out, they were having computer difficulties in that section to boot. I left the store a little while later with nothing but frustration.
I ended up getting the monitor (sitting on my desk now) online later that day (shortly before taking a nap). I ended getting it cheaper online because I had a gotten a gift certificate or coupon code off eBay! All that trouble for nothing!
Here is what I learned and some tips:
- It is an experience, and the idea of it is really fun. Once you get into the store the fun ends. A crowd of hungry consumers pack into the store, making any size store look miniature. Pushing and shoving begins, and fights over short-supply items. Remember to maintain composure and your end goal.
- Many of the same deals are posted online later in the day or on the following Monday (Cyber Monday). A word of warning though, many of the extremely hot or hard to get items are likely to sell out.
- Know what you want to get before you get into the store. Have a priority list and know when to cut your losses. Remember, you can probably get some of the items online later.