Black Friday: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

My Black Friday got off to a relatively good start.  My sister arrived to my house at 3:15 am so that we could make our way over to Kohls to snatch up the sale items on our Christmas lists. 

On Thanksgiving, I spent a couple of hours perusing the 3 lbs of sale papers my husband brought me in the morning.  Then I devised my plan: Start a Kohls, get 3 digital kids cameras, a 16 piece place setting of silverware (a supplement to my mere 8 piece set in anticipation of hosting both Christmas Eve and Christmas), a couple of kids Snuggies, some slippers, and get out.

From there, the plan was to get over to Walmart , then Target, and finally on to the mall.   Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way I planned.

Kohls Ruined My Black Friday

We arrived at Kohls and the table that customarily bared complementary coffee from the nearby Caribou Coffee, stood empty. 

I should have seen the barren table as an omen.

Right when I got in the store I headed for the digital cameras.  I couldn’t find them.  After asking an associate, she went off to search for them.  Meanwhile, a group of parents like myself, congregated near the empty shelf exchanging the different stories Kohls associates told us with regard to the cameras.  After someone went to check the back room leaving us waiting—I was now at my 20 minute time limit for the store—the manager came back and said that they only had 6 cameras and were apparently sold out.

Outraged, a man who noted that he was 4th in line—and came directly to where the cameras were supposed to be—said that this couldn’t possibly be.  “Did someone come and take all 6 cameras under my nose?”, he challenged.   The group of us proceeded to became quite voluble as our conspiracy theories abounded.

Meanwhile, the line snaked the length of both sides of the store and began to overlap.

Disgusted, the conspiracy theorists disbanded and tried to salvage what we could from our Christmas lists.  I was so disgruntled that I refused to buy anything more than was absolutely necessary—the silverware—and it was decided between my sister and I that she would remain in line to pay for both our purchases, and I would go next door to get in line for Target.

Target Knows How to do Doorbusters

After a short wait in line—and a free tote bag—I was off like a flash to retrieve my $47 DVD player (our DVD players from Black Friday 4 years ago recently died) and to find a Littlest Pet Shop toy for my niece, per my sisters orders.

I couldn’t find the DVD player right away (not expecting them to be where they are usually located) and asked a Target employee where it was.  He pulled out his list of all the sale items—along with their locations—but was having a little difficulty.  I didn’t have time to spare, so I hurried over to where I knew the DVD players were normally.  They were there, but unfortunately, I had to get someone to come open the case for me.

DVD player in hand, I dashed over to pick up my niece’s gift and hot-footed it to the express lane checkout.  I looked at my cell phone clock—15 mins—I was doing good. It was a very short line and when it was my turn, the cashier rang up the DVD player for $99—not the $47 sale price.  “Are you kidding?!”, I thought.

The cashier called for a manager, who sent a runner to go get me the right DVD player.  While I was sweating it out to see if in fact there were any left, I noticed that a local FOX 2 TV anchor, Huel Perkins, was behind me in the checkout line with his beaming son, buying a video game system.  I couldn’t help but note how calm and reserved  he was as compared to the mêlée going on around him.  I wish I had that sense of calm.

After waiting 45 mins to check out at Kohls, my sister met me at the end of the Target checkout lane.  I checked my clock again—25 mins—darn!!

Finally, to my great relief, the runner arrived with my DVD player in hand.

Off to Walmart…

Walmart’s Blundering Employees

I will sum up my experience at Walmart in one sentence:  It was awful!  I’ve been to several years of Black Fridays, and it’s always a mobs scene, but when we arrived 30 mins (thanks Kohls) after the sale began,  we found everything gone and the store packed-to-the-rafters with shoppers.

I came for a card table and chairs (they only had 5 and were sold out); $3 jammies (they were sold out) and a couple of videos.  After speaking with 5 (I’m not kidding) sales associates who had absolutely no idea where anything was, my sister and I gave up and decided to leave.  On my way out I decided to make a last-ditch effort to ask the manager of the store where the items were.  She said, “I don’t know”.  Incredulous and fed up with ineptitude, I said, “I’m sorry, but you are the manager of this store and there is no excuse not to know where the items are in your sale paper.”  Feeling somewhat better for getting that off my chest, I walked out with the manager’s evil stare trailing after me.

A Brief Light of Hope

After a short stop at McDonalds for a quick bite and a marginal cup of coffee, my sister and I went to Bath & Body Works where we were pleasantly surprised by a relatively brief line and the fact that we were able to use all of our coupons.

Hooray!  This is how it’s supposed to work.

With a bit of success under our belt, we returned to Target to finish our shopping and head over to the mall.

We hit a couple of stores, but deflated from our overall fruitless shopping expedition, we decided to part ways.

My Two Cents

If this season’s Black Friday turns out to be a bust, it’s because consumers are fed up with sales that only offer a handful of what they advertise—in addition to being so poorly organized—leaving folks fed-up and refusing to spend their hard-earned money.

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