saw the commercials advertising stores opening at 5AM ... and i was like WTF? you've got to be kidding ... only crazy people will be there. well, there's no questioning my insanity, so i set the alarm for 4:30 AM. there was a little part of me that was thinking maybe more XBox 360 shipments had come in for this madness. so at 4:40 i got a hold of Wal-Mart and CircuitCity ... and they didn't have any. that led me to believe that nobody has any. but i was already up and there is a BestBuy less than 10 minutes from the house ... so i went as an observer ... to see what black friday was all about.
first, some background info. i live in a small town of about 7000 people. the BestBuy i was going to is relatively new, less than 6 months old, and has always been relatively emtpy (of shoppers) compared to other BestBuys that i've gone too. this put me into a false sense of obscurity.
because when i pulled up at 4:55, the parking lot was FULL! actually, BestBuy was the only shop open, but the common parking lot (football field sized) which serves 6 or 7 other businesses (all closed) was entirely full. i had to get the spot of somebody that was leaving ... presumably because they did not want to wait in line. oh yeah, this is Wisconsin, the temperature is probably in the teens and wind chill has it close to 0. yet, the parking lot is packed. so i get out and start walking to the front. then i see this line wrapping around the building. holy crap, how did all these people fit into that few of cars? it actually took me about 2 minutes to get to the end of the line, because it wrapped around the side and then the rear of the building ... and kept going. estimated length of the line was over an 1/8th mile and was 3 to 5 persons wide. was really ready to ditch at this point, but my curiousity got the better of me. the line started moving as soon as i got to the end, and i was in line for about 10 minutes. passed food and drink remnants of where people had camped out. did i mention Packers fans are crazy? got in the building and everything was roped off. there was basically one path everybody had to follow through the store, and when you got to your sale item you branched off. there were masses of people near hot items like cell phones, iPods, and portable DVD players. the portable DVD players seemed to be the hottest item, at least i saw multiple people carrying stacks of them. seriously, i think there plan was to buy as many as they could carry. most people weren't using a cart, but i think everybody that did have a cart managed to hit me with it. this was pissing me off, i'm a big ugly guy and most people give me some extra space ... but not crazy shoppers. finally got around to the game consoles and stepped to the side to observe. this area was relatively low traffic. the only thing selling were overstocked games with a price deduction. i didn't see any accessories or consoles being purchased.
and there was a beautiful XBox 360 display with tons of accessories ... nobody even gave it a 2nd glance. and the actual demo 360 was turned off. at this point i realized that MS had dropped the ball for the US release. after seeing black friday, i cannot believe that MS would not have stacks and stacks of 360s available for these ravenous shoppers. to me, it really seems like they missed a huge opportunity to get the non-hardcore gamer crowd. but i don't know, maybe people were only buying the seriously marked down items?
soon after this, i got claustrophobic and had to get out. this was a nightmare in itself. the checkout line had snaked around the entire store and i had to push past all these people to find a clearing. not fun. i definitely wont be attending next year. made me realize how thankful i am for online shopping.