My worst Black Friday experience

Black Friday
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One source of amusement that my wife and I both enjoy is watching early shoppers wait in line outside the Best Buy store near our house on Black Friday eve. The store used to open around midnight to enable eager consumers to get their hands on the latest high-tech gadgets at substantially marked down prices.

Back then she worked evening shifts, so right after picking her up, we would spend the time to drive around the store’s parking lot to check out the shoppers camping outside, sometimes for days at a time. We can’t help but be amazed by what people will attempt to do just to save a couple of hundred bucks.

Now that my wife is doing day shifts, I found myself on the other side of the coin. On my way back after driving her to work, it suddenly crossed my mind to stop by the store. Best Buy now conveniently reopens at 8 am. I figured I wanted to experience the euphoria over the shopping deals myself so I can write about it on this blog.

This post highlights my suffering spending at my favorite brick and mortar store. Yes, I still buy stuff from the store that issued me the card that ruined my credit in the late 90s.

Here’s a minute by minute (sort of) update of what transpired.

6:50 AM: Stepping out of my car, I’m delighted to see that I’ll be one of the first 30 people in line.

It’s not wintering yet, so I was wearing a light jacket over my long sleeve t-shirt.  I hopped over a few yellow “Caution” tapes that were strategically placed to control the crowd so I can quickly get to the very end of the line.

7:00 AM: I start wondering what’s on sale, but I’m unable to access the store’s website on my phone.

I pulled my phone from my pocket to browse BestBuy.com, but there wasn’t any signal. Either that or the connection was really slow. I probably already maxed out my 1 Gig limit. I regret downgrading my plan with my data provider.

I probably should have just asked the people in front of me, but being an introvert, I was too shy to engage them in some kind of a conversation.

7:10 AM: Trying to access the store’s WIFI instead. Finally, I’m connected!

I tried browsing BestBuy.com again, but there wasn’t any response. I was getting the “You are offline” message, just below the Chrome dinosaur. It turned out the full message actually says “Connected, No internet” (Ugh!).

I later discover that I can actually play with the dinosaur. It’s the prehistoric version of the popular flappy bird game– completely built-into the Chrome mobile browser. I played the game for a full 20 minutes.

 

Fellow shoppers waiting in line
Fellow shoppers waiting in line

 

7:30 AM: I’m freezing cold. My teeth are chattering uncontrollably.

I overheard one person say that it’s 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) cold. That’s two degrees colder than the freezing point of water!!

I started jogging in place like a boxer. I also wanted to shadow box like Manny Pacquiao, but I didn’t want others to think I’m a mentally ill person.

7:45 AM: My hands start getting numb.

I didn’t bring gloves with me, so I just slipped them into my pockets to keep them warm. Looking around, I seem to be the only one who came unprepared. The people in front of me had hot cocoa. If one of them offered a sip, I’d do it in an eyeblink.

7:50 AM: I want to pee badly.

The crowd wanted high-tech gadgets, all I wanted at that very moment was a urinal. I just held my ground. It was too late to leave at that point.

7:55 AM: Here comes the geek squad.

The Best Buy employees finally came out of the store holding a stack of handouts. They began distributing them to the front of the line.

“Who wants 55 inch Toshiba TV for $279?” the first employee asked.

“Me” one fellow replied.

“Me, too.”  another replied.

“Who wants a Lenovo Laptop for $179?” the second one asked.

“Me”  I replied.

The employees handed us certificates that we can present inside.

I still wanted a urinal more than anything else, but who can resist a $179 full-sized laptop? Besides, I already waited over an hour. I didn’t want to leave the store empty-handed.

8:00 AM: The door finally opens.

People started rushing inside to get their hands on high tech stuff.

I rushed straight towards the bathroom. And boy, what a relief it was after I finished. It was the best feeling in the world:

“Ahhhhhhh….”

I quickly washed my hands while holding the certificate between my knees so it won’t get wet. I  dried up then rushed to the nearest counter to claim my prize.

8:05 AM: Checking prices on Amazon website for comparisons while waiting for my turn on the counter.

I pulled my phone once again, and this time it had a strong signal as I was already inside the store. Like any frugal consumer, I wanted to make sure that the laptop was a great buy.

I browsed Amazon.com and saw the exact model selling for $330 dollars. “This is really a great buy!” I thought.

As soon as it was my turn, I presented the certificate. I then got my laptop and paid the $179 using my debit card.

I drove straight home.

11:00 AM: At home after taking a short nap. It’s finally time to unbox!

Now that I’ve fully recovered from my ordeal, it was time to unbox. I opened the package, grabbed the laptop inside, and plugged it into the nearest electrical outlet. I then let Windows 10 automatically configure itself while I read the specifications.

A few minutes later, it became apparent that this PC has inferior specs compared to the one selling for $330 on Amazon.

  • That PC had a touchscreen, this one obviously doesn’t.
  • It had Terabyte of hard disk space, this one has half of the capacity.
  • It had a solid-state drive, mine has a regular hard drive.

I can probably go on and on…

IT WASN’T WORTH IT.

So next time you decide to shop, you’re probably better off waiting for “Cyber Monday” instead to buy your favorite gadget.

There’s a reason why Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in the world– his company provides tremendous value to those who are not willing to wait in line!

Save time, shop online.

 

 

The best selling Echo Dot
The best selling Echo Dot

 

TVs selling for bargain prices
TVs selling for bargain prices

 

Ayuuuup. I used to be super into Black Friday. But honestly, the crazy people and shopping hours and entire experience just isn’t worth it. I had a woman try to attack me for a pair of boots at Kohl’s. Like, what??? I’ve discovered that smart shopping throughout the year is better than Black Friday.

Whoa.. Was she that desperate? My wife’s co-worker was even worse. He bragged about taking someone else’s cart away with a doorbuster TV in it and brought it to the counter. That’s technically the same as stealing even if the poor shopper hadn’t paid for it yet.

Conclusion: a long queue makes people realize that it is best to sleep on the idea of spending (for 24 hours or more).
I’m surprised you can still buy $330.00 laptop these days. Amazon.com is way better than Amazon.ca.

Quick technical question: which is better processor AMD or Intel? I have an ACER desktop with AMD (and Windows 10). I often get disconnected while my old Toshiba with Intel (and Windows 7) is working perfectly fine even more after the factory reset.
I’m also not a fan of shopping in store. I prefer to shop online in Boxing Day and pick up the item at the store. Hope you can also write a review of gadgets like your Lenovo Ideapad.

Silver lining: shadow boxing is possible anytime. No need to wait in line and to be reminded by the weather. Throw those punches.

It continues to amaze me how cheap PCs have become. I bought my first laptop PC for $2,000 in 1998 (which was eventually stolen). AMD or Intel? It depends which model. AMD A6 (the one I bought) is comparable to an Intel core i3 albeit better for gaming. I find both very reliable, so my guess is that your issue is something else. It could be the network card of your desktop PC. I have to admit, I had to google Boxing Day. My idea of boxing day is whenever Manny Pacquiao fights. I hosted most of his big fights on HBO in my basement for family and friends 🙂

Thanks for the tech tips. Watching Pacquiao’s fights is a gathering for Filipinos. Inuman and videoke are also part of the tradition before watching the fight. I’m only there for the food since my friends will let me know the result thought I’m not asking. Much like me telling people I know who won in the Ms. Universe. Or if Philippines made it to Top 5 or 3.

You’re welcome. To some extent, boxing is a beauty contest– whoever comes out of a match with his face unscathed wins. This is exactly why Mayweather’s nickname is “pretty boy”, although he did so by running away from his opponents like a girl.

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