This year, for the first time in my life, I embraced the retail "Black Friday" bonanza. You see, my family really needed a new refrigerator, and there were definitely some doorbusters to be had in that department. So I got ready for the onslaught of insane people/shoppers by packing my folding captain's chair, a warm coat, a skull cap and a bottle of water...my faith in the decency of humanity prevented me from packing any weapons or other protective technology, despite the over-abundance of news articles and anecdotes like this.
So, after a satisfying Thanksgiving feast with my big family, I hit the road and drove to the closest "big box" electronics retailer...and as I saw the line of 800-plus people, I decided I really didn't need to save a few hundred bucks on a fridge that badly! I have a decent job, after all. Who knows how long those people were out there, but it was only 10:30 p.m., the place didn't open until midnight, and there was no more sidewalk to even wait on.
My spirits low, I decided to check one other electronics store that was running another good refrigerator promotion, and much to my surprise, the line was only about 100 people long. Not really knowing what to expect, but on guard for pandemonium, I took my place in line, where everyone seemed eager to chat about the impending awesome deal they were about to make. Luckily, the place I went to seemed like they have played in this rodeo before. They went up and down the line outside with coupons for the various doorbuster deals and distributed them in an orderly and fair manner. I was impressed...there was no shoving, pushing, fighting or name-calling, and I hooked up with a coupon for my new fridge at about 11:15 p.m. Just 45 minutes until I could walk up to the cashier and make my purchase.
Of course, those best-laid plans never go so easily. As the doors were opened, the line filed into the showroom in an impressive, orderly fashion. Shoppers expertly maneuvered throughout the store to find their deals, and soon enough, just about everyone who was waiting outside was now waiting in line to pay.
And then the computers went down.That's right, NOBODY could pay for their stuff! Just imagine, the line in this store for the 3 cashiers (yes only three), wrapped around the entire showroom twice. As the minutes droned onward, the same three unfortunate people were at the front of the line, and the rest of us were starting to get a little impatient. Minutes turned to half-hours, which rolled into a full hour. I would say that most of the ingredients for an impending shopper riot were in place..and I was smack-dab in the middle of it, the 20th person in line for the cashier!
Starting to get a little nervous (but mostly just tired), I looked around the store....everyone was just standing there, very patient. Nobody started shoving, nobody started yelling and screaming, nobody got trampled, a few people left their place in line and hit the road, but the rest of us stayed calm and collected...determined to wait this out so we could all land our doorbusters.
About another hour later, I finally made it to the front of the line to pay. And yes, many of the customers by this time were a bit testy, and many had words for the management and cashiers, but nobody started a riot, nobody got hurt, and everyone got what they wanted...eventually.
Just remember, for every idiot in a Black Friday line that causes a disturbance, there are literally thousands of us normal people who aren't interested in trampling anyone for a major appliance...and thousands more who shouldn't be frightened to get the deal of a lifetime!
Did you have a Black Friday experience? Post comments below!