Black Friday: shopper’s mojo is back

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So, this past Friday I went to the stores — to catch a few deals and see how is the atmosphere by the stores. And I guess the recession is over, because the amount of people by local Target store was more than impressive. Line was stretching out end-to-end of the Target and the tail almost touched the entry to the next store which is JCPenney. Which, incidentally, didn’t have any line to it, with some people roaming inside even though it was 4AM.

While standing in line, I’ve chatted up girls next to me — they were visibly cold, shivering at every blast of wind. It’s not a news, Texans are really bad with dressing for the weather. Every year Thanksgiving and Black Friday have a cold blast (sometimes more, sometimes less) and every time you have people dressed for 80F in a 35F weather. People in front of me were cuddling in blankets, giving the line feel of those “mobile refugee camps” I saw on Discover.

Their biggest regret (aside from not dressing more warmly) was that spending midnight to 4AM at local Walmart still didn’t get them what they wanted — door buster items were all gone when they got to the store, even though theoretically sale was supposed to have started right at 12:01 (some forum posters indicated that special deals got triggered early due to timezone differences between unified billing system and local stores).

Target’s organizational skills were impressive — whole line got back into store in less than 20 minutes, I’ve found what I wanted and managed to check out in another 10 minutes. And people were grabbing big screen LCD TVs left and right.

Lucky me, I’ve picked one of the “first time check-out processing” lines — store associate entered wrong thing for shopper in front of me, then tried to find someone to help him, then voided the whole order, dragged items back from bags to re-scan, unable to scan them again etc etc. I switched the line and went through check-out sufficiently fast.

Next stop was Lowe’s, which was opened despite it being earlier than 5AM. And it was, well, almost empty. A few shoppers strolled back and forth, all online orders ready for pick up (unfortunately mine got routed to another store) and there were plenty of door-buster items. Plastic crates, unfortunately, were extra brittle (you get what you pay for), so I had to go through a few of them to find non-broken ones.

Local news also reported big crowds in other stores, including teenagers at malls, so, given how many people went out to shop, the recession/depression/whatever it was must be all over now. Because if you have any doubt in the nearest future, you don’t buy a new TV. You cut cable instead.

Congratulations on getting a good deals, and prepare your mouse for the “Cyber Monday”, where you still have a chance at a good deal that slipped away on Friday.

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