Helping To Make “Black Friday” BLACK

Hoping to help spur the economy, I did my small part and bought a new pocket-sized camera during Black Friday sales today at Wal-Mart since I always like to have my camera handy but get tired of lugging around my bigger one. My new little Green Giant” (as I will be fondly calling it) has 12 MP, a total of 15X zoom, and a 2.7″ LCD screen with plenty of handy features all stuffed into a nice pocket-sized package. I like Kodak cameras and did plenty of online reviewing before selecting this one. I was able to get a bundled package that included two Kodak rechargeable AA batteries, a wall charger, a matching color carrying case, and an 8GB SDHC memory card, all for less than $100.00 including tax.

My new little ‘Green Giant” Kodak C-143 digital camera

I am one of those people who are crazy enough to stand out in freezing weather at 5:00 in the morning just to latch onto a great deal. I can remember several years ago standing in the snow at Best Buy in Vernon Hills just to buy the computer I am typing this on at about 1/3 the normal price. There were people there who would change partners in line while one went back in the car to warm up. Others stood there with huge cups of coffee, only to see them finally succumb to nature’s call and bail out to the nearest gas station to empty their bladder. One year the fellow in front of me had his daughter with him who was only about 12 years old and very thin looking. I have to give her credit, though, as she stuck it out for the few hours we stood there and was thus initiated into the solemn organization of Black Friday ‘crazy people’. One nice thing about Best Buy was that about 30 minutes before the doors opened, they came out and asked people what they were there for. Then they would give you a guaranteed purchase certificate for that item if they still had any slips left. That allowed you to go back home and return by 11:00 AM to pick up your item (or it would go back up for sale). If you were only there for a few specific items, it allowed you to miss the crunch that was soon going to happen. Once you were through doing your shopping, the surprise of checking out awaited you! As you approached the check out area, you would soon find yourself pushing your boxes, dragging your kids, etc. further and further towards the back of the store. Lines weaved in and around the isles, up and down the stove and refrigerator isles. Checking out often took as long as the waiting in line for the doors to open and you better hope you skipped that big cup of coffee! Ask anyone who has done this and they will tell you that, overall, it was sort of fun, like a challenge similar to running in a marathon, where everybody ends up a winner.

You learn a lot during your very first Black Friday initiation. Things like NOT to use a shopping cart since you can’t get through the isles and to the next item on your list fast enough. You also learn to shop the 5:00 early bird specials and then get to the 6:00 ones next, followed by the 7:00 ones. One year I made it to Office Max, K-Mart, and Sears by the opening bell, usually one of the first five in line. At Sears I was able to grab TWO 19″ color TV’s (only about ten were available). I was planning on giving one to my sister, who was recovering from surgery, but she ended up being able to get to her living room to lay on her big couch to watch TV. I ended up donating the extra TV to our local radio station, WRLR, along with a new TIVO that I won at an open house. I thought it would be nice for them to have it in their waiting room for anyone waiting to be a guest on the air.

Did you do your part and make a purchase on Black Friday? If so, tell us about it and whether you felt the savings was worth the hassle along with getting up so early. Was it your first Black Friday standing in line (a pretty cold day to be doing that) and will you be doing it again next year?

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