It’s that time of the year again. The holidays are coming up, and you know what that means – (if you haven’t already) it’s time to start shopping. Holiday shopping – or even shopping in general – seems to take on a love/hate relationship with most consumers. While shopping habits and preferences differ from person to person, there is one shopping “holiday” that everyone seems to have an opinion on. Black Friday.
Love it or hate it? Take it or leave it? To kick off the holiday season, we decided to have some fun and get some of our employees involved! We asked several team members for their best Black Friday tips, opinions, or any experiences they wanted to share from past Black Friday outings. See what they had to say below.
Black Friday tips
Mike’s Tip: “For the last two years I’ve gone out at 4am on Black Friday. Even the Dunkin’ Donuts lines are out the door by that time… so I’d suggest making your own coffee before going out.”
Michelle’s Tip: “Black Friday. I will start by saying that it is not for everyone. I have been going out for the past few years and I must say, I am not sure if I go to people watch or to get the deals. For the most part I usually look through the ads on Thanksgiving and see if there is anything that I
need want and I will start from there. One year it was a $5.00 sandwich maker, another year it was a 50″ TV. I have braved the crowds for it all and must say for the most part I have had success, but I am also the type of person that if I don’t get the item, I will still be able to sleep at night (I probably didn’t really need it anyways).”
Donna’s Tip: “I did it once and will NEVER do it again. People act like they’ve never shopped a day in their lives. I saw it all – throwing clothes, trampling people. My advice is to stay home, shop online, and decorate for the holidays.”
Kevin’s Tips: “Look at the ads for the stores that you like and when you see the best group of deals, I would plan on hitting that store very early in the morning. I used to work at Best Buy and Circuit City and I know that people usually start lining up at around 1-2am. If you are going for a door buster deal you will want to get there around 12-12:30am, which will ensure you have a good spot in line to have dibs on the door specials that are mostly offered where quantities are limited. If you have nothing to do on Black Friday it is definitely something fun to do at least once in a lifetime. I have gone shopping a few times with friends and it is definitely an experience. The funny thing is you could go to Sears at the exact time they open and not wait in any line, so some stores are definitely hit or miss in that regard.
The last thing I can say if going shopping on Black Friday is be sure to bring your patience and remember the employees are required to work usually from 11pm the night before until at least 2pm the next day, and some have to be there for almost 24 hours, so it’s a long day for all those employees and with me having worked this crazy holiday, I can certainly attest to this.”
Karen’s Tip: And finally, for all the Massachusetts readers… “Stay the heck out of the stores on Black Friday and instead go to the Bruins game which they have every year at home the day after Thanksgiving. It’s always a fun time and they usually give away tons of t-shirts. Much better way to spend the day.”
…and some unforgettable stories
Ginny’s 8 hour trip for pancakes… “I so look forward to Black Friday. I scour through the paper on Thanksgiving looking for all the Friday specials. One year I plotted out my early morning trip to save on all of my gifts. I woke up at 5am to drive to New Hampshire for my early morning specials. I get to my first destination – Target. I walk in the door to be directed to the far right side of the building. The line at 6am was wrapped around the entire store and through the aisles to get to the registers. I waited like a fool, and two hours later, I was too exhausted to keep waiting. Instead, I decided to go to breakfast at a pancake house to discover a two hour wait to be seated. I waited it out, all to get some cheap breakfast after the failed shopping trip. When I left there, I sat in hours of traffic on Route 28. I now only shop online and avoid all the Black Friday chaos…”
Michelle’s wait for the 50″ television… “Thanksgiving night. Belly full of food. Jacket, boots, and scarf on. Sales flyer in hand. A truck in the parking lot waiting to hall away the oh so anticipated purchase. And so it began. This was my husband’s first Black Friday experience and I must say he had the patience of a saint. We were about 50-75 people deep in line outside just waiting to get into the warm store and see the TVs (as was everyone else). Slowly shuffling into the store it was like the gates of heaven opened – TVs were in eyesight and I could finally feel my hands and feet again. We were then herded into the roped off lines where the patience of everyone was being tested. Nothing like standing so close to a stranger that you can feel them breathing on you and also knowing that they didn’t brush their teeth after Thanksgiving dinner. But there was nothing going to get in the way of my husband and me getting this TV! Mind you, there was a door buster deal in this store of a 32″ TV for $50. If you know anything about door buster deals, you know that they are usually limited quantities. Once that door buster was announced as being sold out, if half these people were dragons, flames were about to shoot out of their mouths. Speed up 20 minutes after that announcement and half the line is gone now. With my jacket in hand because it now feels like I’ve been in a huge sauna full of strangers, we finally arrived at the front of the line. We were asked which TV we were interested in and we shouted our choice and got to go see it quickly (we already did our research on this model). Then, we went to the register, paid for it, and were transferred to the pick-up area where we continued to wait for our name to be called. And finally, there it was – the 50″ TV that we waited a little over three hours for was finally in the back of our truck and on its way home to being hung up! Success!
What did I learn from this experience? I learned that I will wait 3 hours behind some of the worst smelling people for a good deal. I also learned that you start to see the worst come out of people when they don’t get what they want. It’s actually really sad to see.”
Adam’s unexpected adventure to the largest toy store in NYC on Christmas Eve… “Well, this isn’t Black Friday or deal searching related, because I just don’t do that. Weekend after Thanksgiving is for skiing! But, here’s a good holiday shopping story. A few years back, we were called to an emergency meeting at our data center on the day before Christmas. Natural thing to do, road trip to NYC! (Because we definitely weren’t flying that day.) Get to the city, attend the quick meeting, get ready to leave – but, it’d be a waste to just go right back to town. The day before Christmas in NYC, what would be a ridiculous thing you could do only at that time? Go to FAO Schwarz and buy a unique Christmas gift! The only way I can explain it is an overwhelming feel of controlled-pandemonium. People were bartering places in line, cops were a few steps away from the entrance. This dwarfed Xbox and iPhone launches in stupidity. Inside the store, children probably outnumbered adults three to one. Some shelves cleared out like the apocalypse. Ended up with a hand-made Muppet, and a few 1/2 lb Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Some of the latter were “lost” on the ride home.”
We hope you enjoyed these fun(ny) tips and personal experiences from some of our staff. Are you planning on venturing into the Black Friday chaos this year? Do you love it, hate it, or have any tips for survival? We’d love to hear some feedback in the comments below!