My husband and oldest son had turkey and blueberries last Thursday for Thanksgiving and headed out the door to line up outside Best Buy to buy one of their Black Friday deals. The deal in question, if any of you are wondering, was a Toshiba laptop. The laptop was a door-breaking special at $ 249. Which means you can’t buy it except when the doors open at 5:00 am. It is a first come first serve offer. It makes sense that those who stay out the longest get the best deals, right?
When they arrived at 6:00 pm on Thursday night, there were 14 people in front of my husband. Not everyone in front of him was buying that particular laptop, they were there for other deals; my husband felt confident that he would get one of the laptops. This made him feel better, as he had 10 hours left to excel in the cold. Also, this particular laptop deal was ONLY PUBLISHED ONLINE and not everyone in line was aware of this phenomenal deal. I spent $ 599 for the same laptop four months ago.
At 10:00 pm, families with young children begin to arrive and the line stretches to the back of the parking lot. People were pitching tents in preparation for the long night. At 3:00 am, more and more people begin to crowd in line. People start cutting in front of other people. The line was no longer so nice. The Best Buy manager came out telling people that they weren’t allowed to cut in front of people and that he was calling the sheriff. People cut anyway.
At 4:00 am, the manager came out with brochures of all the great deals they had. In this brochure was the $ 249 laptop. When people saw this particular laptop deal, they started calling their friends and family on their cell phones. Crowds and crowds of people began to arrive, cutting in front of the line where their friends and family had been all night.
Around 4:30 a.m., Best Buy employees begin asking each person in line what they were there to buy. And then I would give them a ticket for that item. By the time the manager approached my husband and asked him what he was there for, they were out of laptops because now there were 60 or more people (cutters) in front of him!
My husband and his stayed outside in the cold for ten hours waiting for the doors to open, inhaling secret secondhand smoke all night, in 30-degree Celsius temperatures most of the night. He just turned around and left the line, in awe of what had just happened. When he got home, he was still in a daze.
What did my husband learn from this experience? Here’s what he told me: Unless there are FEW people in line, the Black Friday door-breaking deals are a scam; almost a bait and switch practice. Only the people who stood in line got the deals. The beginning of the whole thing was that the cutters who came in at the last minute for the laptops didn’t queue up all night. No. They stood in line for 1 hour max! And they are the ones who got the laptops!
Later that day, I went online and did some research, and found that the experience they went through is the same that EVERYONE in line goes through. Last minute shoppers show up and cut the line. Black Friday is not for honest working people who can’t afford to buy a new laptop. Black Friday is for the mob mentality, greedy and dishonest people who stand in line.
Here’s my suggestion for retailers: they should turn in the tickets for the items the moment people arrive to line up. In that way, you ensure the first-come-first-serve policy and also ensure that business principles and ethics are upheld in line with fair standards. But I don’t think the latter is going to happen.
My husband also said, the Black Friday lines are only for the mob mentality. He hates crowds, but he got stingy wanting a pretty good computer at a great price. He told me to tell all of you honest and upright people that standing in line all night waiting for a deal is not worth it because in the end you will be ripped off. Save your money and expect a genuine sale when they come out.