They don’t have Black Friday in Germany so Lara, our German Exchange Student, just had to see what all the hype was about! I was able to snap a couple pictures of the girls (below) but first… what exactly is Black Friday???
For our overseas readers, Black Friday is the day After Thanksgiving and considered the start of holiday shopping season. Almost all stores comes out with Door Buster Sales and Early Bird Specials to attract shoppers to their stores. People stand in line hours before store is opened, to be first in line to grab the bargain of the year. Almost every store has something that interests every one. For example, Some stores had Office Chairs for $12. Some had DVD Players for $12. It’s known as Black Friday because retailers report some of their highest profits this day. The black portion of the name relates to businesses recording their losses in red ink and gains in black. And this day marks a lot of gains for businesses!
Keep in mind… I don’t do the getting-up-at-4am thing to get the best deals of the year! I’ve gone out at 7am or later… but I’ve never saved so much money that I’ve thought it necessary to go out any earlier. This year… stores decided starting sales at midnight would be good for business. Some were even open on Thanksgiving Day offering good deals. And others decided to get a jump on business by starting at 10am… like WalMart.
Lara and Brittany were going to go with one of my friend’s who makes an art of Black Friday shopping by mapping out stores and having a complete strategy on where to go first. But she decided not to go this year. So… I ventured out with the girls at 10:00pm and we went to WalMart… probably one of the craziest places to go!
First of all… I’ve always wondered why WalMart has had such a big parking lot. I mean, really… it’s always empty. Well, I found out that’s there IS one day of the year that it is FULL! Black Friday! We found a spot and walked inside at about 10:10pm. I wish I had a video camera of Lara’s face! Ten steps into the doors and all she could say was, “OH MY GOSH!!!” A couple steps more and all we could hear was, “OH MY GOSH!!!” Brittany and I were laughing at her…. and laughing hard!
The lines at all 30 check-out registers was at least 10-to-15 people long! There were no shopping carts available! Every aisle was packed with shoppers! And the closer we got to the Electronics Department, the crazier it was! You see, bargains in the Electronics Department were not starting until 12:00am. But the store was already open. So hundreds of people were waiting in line in aisles marked with yellow tape. Or they were standing next to 5 foot high piles of boxes covered in black plastic. Those were the Televisions or Game bundles of PS3 or Wii consoles! There were also balloons tied to other products like $5 for a Tupperware-type set or $1.98 for DVD Movies. The item we saw the most in people’s carts… those electric cars for small children like the Pink Barbie Jeep. Normally $250, they were on sale for just $99. Quite a savings! I also saw a lot of children’s board games for $3.88 and picture frames for $5 and $10!
152 million people are expected to shop over the 3-day weekend, up about 10 percent from last year. About 600 shoppers were in line at a Target store in Brooklyn, New York when it opened at midnight. Nearly 2,000 shoppers wrapped around a Best Buy store in St. Petersburg, Florida. At Mall of America in Minnesota, the nation’s largest mall in North America, 15,000 shoppers were in ine for its midnight opening. And more than 9,000 people were outside the famous Macy’s store in New York’s Herald Square at midnight, up from 7,000 a year ago.
In some cases, shoppers actually get violent with each other. In Los Angeles, 20 people were hurt at a local Walmart when a woman used pepper spray on them to get to the front of the line when the store opened. At a Walmart in upstate New York, a man was arrested after two women were injured in a fight that broke out. In Phoenix, a grandfather was roughed up by police after he put a game in his waistband to free up his hands to lift his grandson above the crowd. He was slammed to the ground by police, who likely assumed that he was shoplifting.
The only aggression we saw was one lady who said, “Keep the carts moving people! Just grab and go! Grab and go!” Lara couldn’t believe her ears… or believe what she saw. Pictures of Lara and Brittany are below! I sure wish I had my video camera!
To get an idea on the types of bargains that were available, go to http://www.theblackfriday.com/what-is-black-friday.shtml.
One post we saw summed it up pretty well…. “Only in America, would people violently trample each other for discounts exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”
Coming up in the next post: Lara is like a kid in a candy store as we put up our 15,000 or so Christmas lights!