Black Friday shopping – the biggest scam

Black Friday ShoppingIt is Friday 10:30am, I just got back from my shopping trip and these are my impressions. Last night I was speculating the idea of standing in line for one of the early bird specials (or door busters as they call them). Thanks God I didn't go anywhere. This SlickDeals thread describes 200+ people long lines by Best Buy at 10pm last Thursday.

I woke up at 7am today and Best Buy was my first stop. This is absolutely wrong place to be on Friday. The line to check out was stretching like a snake all the way to the back wall of the store. I estimate there were around 500 people in that line. I took a stroll and to even get to the laptops section there were around 50 people waiting. I wasn't going to buy anything so I just snack in and what I saw were usual prices -- just what you see every day. From my conversation with a sales man I learned that the line to get to the store started to form around 6pm the day before.

Circuit City was pretty much the same story. At 8am I didn't find any items on sale and the line to check out was as long as that to buy bread in Soviet times (yeah, I did have chance to stand in those lines). Office Depot and Office Max were more pleasant experience. Both still had some specials on the shelves at 8:30am when I got there and the shoppers didn't stamp on my feet. :-) I left with a few CD/DVD wallets $1.99 each. The 300GB external Maxtor Hard Drive for $99.99 was also very tempting.

My last stop was Staples. They didn't have crowds in the store but all the in-store specials were already claimed (people in line got tickets and had time until 10am to exchanged them for their items). I spoke to a guy at the check out who was paying for a couple of 200GB Maxtor Hard Drives $19.99 after rebate. He said he had to come to the store by 3:30am to get on the deal. From his words to get the $399 Compaq laptop I would have to come by 10pm the night before. As I was leaving around 9:30am another line started to form for a chance to buy the unclaimed in-stores specials. Lines, lines, lines...

My overall impression today is that Black Friday shopping is a big scam. Stores publish very limited quantity hot deals to lure in shoppers and those deals are all sold out instantaneously. If you come at the opening or any time during the day (as most normal people do) you have missed on 90% of them. This is how it works for the stores selling computers and electronics anyway.

Was your Black Friday shopping experience different? Please share it with me in your comments.

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8 Responses to “Black Friday shopping – the biggest scam”

  1. 1 Golbguru Nov 25th, 2006 at 2:55 am

    I totally agree with you :)
    If making a good sale was really their intention, then they wouldn’t stock like just 20 laptops when they are expecting about 400 people to turn up for the damn deal.

  2. 2 decadyne Nov 25th, 2006 at 7:32 am

    I couldn’t agree more.
    My dad made the same observation as you and came to the same conclusion last year: why is EVERY item published for ANY store out of stock on Black Friday.

    Black Friday is a HUGE SCAM.

    Further, I think the “Black Friday” phenomenon is another nasty element in the ongoing hypercommercialization of the holiday season. It has pretty much become the keystone that starts it all. Corporations are using heavy tactics to motivate purchasing behavior and can leverage new marketing avenues, like the internet, to their advantage.

    I think every person who earns money with the intention to spend it should begin thinking of 2 things starting in the Fall season:
    1. Am I going to spend my money AT ALL during the holidays?
    2. If I do, what are the channels I will select for doing my shopping?

    For me, I’d love to see all of us start putting pressure on the merchants. We should (a.) demand gauranteed quantities and (b.) have the option of ordering any “Black Friday Deal” over the internet.

    Ultimately, Black Friday merchants have committed the sin of Wasting Our Time.

    It’s our time and money. Protect them.

  3. 3 rajbot Nov 25th, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    dude! good to hear it. I was thinking about trying to hit some of the specials, but I figured any money I would’ve saved would have been eaten up by the opportunity cost of waiting in a damned line. Good to see that I was more than proved right. I only went to Home Depot (had a gift card/credit I needed to use) and picked up what, by most accounts, were good deals (much better than retail), but probably nothing spectacular. I got a 10″ compound miter saw for $59.00 (advertised at 69.99 in the circular, but I found one with a $59 sticker that was apparently a pre-Black Friday special) and a 4-pack of 18V skil tools for $149. I’ve always felt pretty good about buying at HD on BFs — their prices usually don’t get that low, it’s not that crowded, and you can usually find the deals you’re looking for (I showed up around 11am).

    Next year I won’t even look at the BF specials, ’cause I’m not willing to do what it takes to get them.

  4. 4 Yan Nov 25th, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    There was a funny thing I didn’t mention in my post. On my way out of Office Depot around 8am I walked by an SUV on the parking lot. The guy was sleeping in the front seat, engine on, and a huge box with a flat screen TV in the trunk. I laughed and pitied the guy at the same time. :-)

  5. 5 Masood Nov 30th, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more!! I used to be a Black Friday-aholic but not anymore. These so called “deals” can actually be had any time of the year if you play your cards right. Instead, I told the wife to go on without me. I slept in and had nice, quality time with the kid’os…

  6. 6 fooshe Dec 6th, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Here, Here! I went to Staples and they had 4 32″ LCD HDTV Televisions for over 100 people in line. I got there 40 min before the store opened and was 10th in line. They handed out the tickets to whomever wanted them from the front back. I was pissed! All they did is give those in that front of the line less to shop for. In fact, one guy didn’t even know about the TV, but when he did, he took the ticket. He then sold it to a guy 3 places in line back for $50! Guess who was next in line…me!

    I have been in communications with Staples and they say it was done to control the crowds. I asked how they came to the conclusion that pissing off a large number of people that are all in one place was good idea. I also commented that I was investigating the legality of it all as the product was, in essense, sold out before the store opened. Of course, I got no response. They are offering me a $100 gift card for my inconvenience. I said I wanted the TV at the advertised price.
    She said no. I told her to go pound sand.

  7. 7 K Nov 15th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Why are you being rude to the customer service? Do you realize that they are being told what to do? Do you realize if they don’t do it, then they will get fired.. right before X-mas? If it’s up to the customer service, they will give you 100 LCD TV if they can, BUT they can’t! If you want to complain and bitch, write a letter to the CEO. Don’t act like assholes towards the CS. Instead you should have sympathy for them, cause they get pay minimum wage and they have to deal with Assholes like yourself!

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