Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Insanity in My Area

Last night at about nine o’clock, I finally had a chance to look at the paper sales flyers for Black Friday and the weekend. I was tired at that point and felt that there was not much on our Christmas shopping list that was on sale to warrant getting up at three thirty in the morning and getting to the stores at opening time.

My friend and neighbor braved it, though. As I was heading out at about 11:30 a.m. to see if anything we wanted was still in stock and on sale, I spoke to her on the phone.

She said that in Trumbull (Connecticut), at the Circuit City store, early in the morning the crowd was like a mob scene requiring the use of police force from two towns and also a fire department. She said that tasers had to be used to subdue the unruly customers. Here is the only online article I can find that is published so far, but it doesn’t talk about the use of tasers.

This friend said that she was at Toys R Us at opening time and that for the hottest toy that everyone wanted, they only had 13 in stock. To try to prevent stampeding and injuries, staff went down the line asking who wanted one and those who did were given a voucher to buy it, and all else in line knew ahead of time they’d not be getting one. She said at Staples they did the same thing with some other hot item.

The cashier at A.C. Moore craft store told me today that there was a long line at opening time for the Cricut, a die-cutting machine for scrapbookers, and that they sold out of the ones they had for the promotion. I can see it now, over-zealous scrapbookers standing on line for a paper cutting gizmo: ready, set, die cut!

My husband spoke with his brother who went to Circuit City in another town and he said at opening time it was crowded and freezing cold which contributed to the anxiety. He said he witnessed a big fist fight.

This is the insanity that is Black Friday here.

I wanted a big bargain toy from Toys R Us and chose to drive to Westport, a wealthy town, hoping that by noontime they’d still have them in stock, hoping that the wealthy town would not have had such a stampede on the sales items. I arrived shortly after twelve and another customer warned me that the sale ended at noon. I scanned it at about 12:07pm and it was still on sale. I briskly walked to the front of the store and checked out at 12:10pm and indeed got the sales prices on all the items even thought I was just minutes past noon. Phew.

I then went to another town to pick something up and found out the KB Toys in Stratford and Newtown are both closing up. The cashier said the company wants to only have their stores in the nearby malls, no longer having stores in the strip malls. The sale in the store which was closing was 30% off of everything in the store for the whole day, sales prices as advertised did not apply. Unfortunately they didn’t have the LEGOs my son asked for in stock.

I needed something in Home Depot and as usual that place was hopping. I went for a non-sale item and have no clue what kind of promotions they had going, that place is always busy with the DIY’ers.

I wanted to see if a sale item at Wal Mart was still in stock. The parking lot was such a zoo that I felt defeated and frustrated and so I left without even going in to the store!

I went to a hobby store that sells Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and found out that the cards my kids want go for $35 and up EACH if purchased singly. I left with no presents in hand.

I then was going to check some items at Costco and gas up there but the traffic was backed up for over a mile in a solid bumper to bumper mess. I turned around and got on the highway and high-tailed it home.

This is madness that is all I will say.

I need five gift cards for my nieces and nephews. I am thinking about seeing if the companies are selling gift cards online so I can avoid a trip to the mall.

(The day before Thanksgiving I tried to buy some LEGOs from an independent toy seller. I was told that he has so little stock due to spotty shipping from the new LEGO warehouse in Mexico (they used to be here in Connecticut). I was unable to buy the LEGO Advent Calendar that is a tradition in our family. I guess I’ll have to shop and hope I can get them.

My next plan of action is to browse for other items online which I had hoped to buy in the retail store today, to comparison shop for prices online and to consider buying it all online even if I have to pay shipping fees and still have to pay state sales tax. I just don’t want to waste my time and go through the frustration of the crowds!

I want to get the shopping over so I can sit back, relax, and do the fun family traditions for the Christmas holiday.

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1 comment:

Tracey in CT said...

In regards to the Gift Cards you need to buy for your family members, consider that Shaws and Stop and Shop now have displays of gift cards for various stores (as well as many online vendors, restaurant, etc). The result is that depending on what gift cards you wish to purchase, you might be able to eliminate running around for them by purchasing them while grocery shopping.