My friend Jen read online of Best Buy's super sale, Toshiba laptops for $250. Those particular laptops usually go for $600 to $1,000. Jen wanted to go shopping this morning, and I agreed to go with her. Skeptical of the long Black Friday lines I keep hearing so much about, I reluctantly agreed. I haven’t Christmas shopped in a store for over ten years, preferring to buy online and send the gifts automatically. But the $250 top-quality laptop was definitely a draw.
Jen thought that because we live in a small market that the lines probably would not be bad.
We stopped for coffee at 4:30 a tiny all night gas station. There were five customers, ALL headed to Best Buy. We laughed together, one guy, with gauge earrings in his ears, said his mom told him at midnight he had to go. Shaking his head, he goes, "'I told her Jeez, Ma, you couldn't have told me earlier??' I got 2 hours’ sleep." His friend was after the Toshiba laptop, too. We wished each other luck and later passed each other on the highway. He was a good son to do that for his mom.
I have never seen anything like it: a massive line around the store's perimeter, parking lot full, cops on standby, porta-potties lined up, and about 500 people milling around. Many had camped there overnight. One couple had been in line for 12 hours. 12 hours ago we were just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner.
Jen wanted to get in line and stay. The Best Buy employees were walking around announcing the Toshiba laptops and desktop computers were sold out (limited quantity, you had to get there early to get a ticket to have any hope at all) and once I heard that I lost interest. Jen wanted to stay and see what else they had for sale. I wasn’t enamored of fighting 500 people so I said let's go and Jen was OK with that.
As we wandered back to the car, we chatted with people in line. We saw the gauge earring guys, they were in line at the end. One guy we talked to in the middle of the line said that four years ago he arrived at 4:30 and was first, last year he got there at midnight and was at the back…this year he arrived a day ahead and camped out. “It’s getting earlier and earlier, he said.” The cops, one male and one female, were standing near the front of the line.
I asked the policeman (a big, tall strapping man in uniform and boots) “How long have they been lining up for?”
He stared down, scratched his chin. “Since Monday.”
“Nah.” Cracking up, he said, “I dunno since when, ask the first guy in line.”
I asked, “Have there been fights?”
“Nah. Mostly we watch. And take bets on who’s gonna make it.”
We drove back. I was in bed again by 6:30...the only upside to my one-time Black Friday adventure were the 55 degree temps, the clear constellations revolving over the pasture, a bright Milky Way, and the bunny rabbits hopping around the yard when I got up at 4 a.m.. Come to think of it, not a bad tradeoff after all.
Did you do the Black Friday thing?