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Black Friday

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wow! On Friday I decided to venture out and be a part of "Black Friday." In particular, I was interested in the under $400 laptop that was advertised at Wal-Mart.

Now, I don't think I have ever done this before, but with Best Buy, Circuit City, and Wal-Mart all being about one mile apart here in Salisbury, I thought that perhaps I would get fortunate and perhaps come away with a laptop.

Now, the local Wal-Mart here in Salisbury is open 24 hours, which made for this particular Black Friday experience to be a little more interesting. (Although not as interesting as some of the other experiences, like the altercations at the Orlando Wal-Mart. Upon arriving, the Wal-Mart had all the DVD Recorders and some TV special in the main area between the groceries and the department store section of the Wal-Mart (this is a "Super Wal-Mart"). They were covered with black plastic, but you could easily tell what the items were and there was a mob around them waiting for it to turn 5:00 a.m. so they could grab the items.

The problem, however, was the way in which they did the laptops. Being a person who likes logic and order, it made sense to me that Wal-Mart would have the laptops in the computers and electronics area (they were not). It also made sense to me that there would be some type of orderly distribution planned for something as delicate and expensive as a laptop computer (there was not). It also made sense to me that Wal-Mart would want to make the experience such that the people who did not get the laptops would want to stay around and get other items by leaving them with a good taste in their mouth (they did not).

At about 4:40 a.m. they announced that the laptops would be distributed in the food display isle and would come out at 5:00 a.m. This made for a mad dash for a bunch of people from the electronics area to the place where they bring out the crates for the food display area. (I happened to not be at electronics because I had overheard that the computers were not going to be in electronics, so I actually had gotten a decent spot by the place where about 200 people gathered).

Then at 5:00 a.m. they announced that it was 5:00 a.m. and people started tearing into all of the other goodies that were already out and just waiting to be grabbed when the time was announced.

About five minutes later, there was a rumbling that the laptops had come out by the seafood area instead and that they were all gone already.

Now, I don't really care that I did not get one. I really kind of doubted that I would come out with one, but I thought it would be worth a try - and besides, I wanted to see what all this "Black Friday" stuff was all about.

I would recommend, however, that Wal-Mart handle things a little differently in the future. For one thing, imagine how upset people would be if they had been there all night and still did not get one - not because others beat you there and deserved it, but because they decided to get "cute" with how they distributed them.

Why not just have people line up in order at a place where they would distribute the item in question? Then, at least, if you realize that there is no way you are getting the item you want, you may still hang around the store and look for some of the other bargains that do not have as long lines. Also, then you are not annoyed at Wal-Mart if you don't get what you were trying to get, you are annoyed at yourself for not getting there earlier. (By the way, they did this with the Gameboys, don't know why they did not do it with the laptops.)

Anyway, just my thoughts,