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Black Friday Sale in Iron Mountain

November 25, 2011 - Ron Deuter
Since I had nothing better to do than sleep after gorging myself Thursday, I went to a big box store here in town at about 11 p.m. Even though I do have some Christmas shopping to do, I wasn’t so much interested in buying anything this night. Rather I wanted to see firsthand what the Black Friday scene looked like.

The first thing I noticed, on my drive across town, was the line extending through the drive-thru of the only fast food place open. The line of cars extended out of the parking lot and into the road. Really? Mere hours after probably the biggest meal of the year for most folks, and the burger joint is hopping? Maybe they were all getting coffee.

As I got closer to my destination, I was amazed by the traffic. The parking lot at the store was as full as I had ever seen. When got into the store, it was insane. People everywhere, shopping carts stuffed. It was almost as if people were grabbing things just because other people were grabbing things, just because there were things there to grab.

I think you could put a shiny sale tag on bag of dog waste, set it in the middle of an aisle, and people would take as many as they could carry.

I saw boxes of vacuums on display in the middle of one main aisle with a price tag of $36. People were taking two and three at time. I walked down the actual aisle where the vacuums are located and the saw that regular price for that model was $43.

The two-dollar waffle-makers lasted about as long Ndamukong Suh’s second half at Ford Field Thursday afternoon.

I saw a display of basketballs, footballs, etc for $4.95 each. Again, people were loading them into their carts like they were supplying a youth league. One lady blared into her cell phone all panicky like time was running out on the game show Millionaire, “They got basketballs for $4.95, do we need any?”

Cartons of cheap of DVDs and Blue-Rays were picked clean. Areas with marked-down clothing, neatly folded and displayed just hours ago, now resembled a teenager’s bedroom. The toy section was ransacked.

But the main attention-grabbing activity going on at this store was the amount of people waiting in various lines for a sale set to start at midnight.

A wide variety of TVs, computers and other electronics were going to be offered at deep discounts at midnight. Lines were long and the people in them appeared to have been in them for a while, many (not surprisingly I suppose) with bags and cups from that fast food place. Did they skip their turkey dinners to get in line first?

By far the biggest deals were the TVs. No doubt bigger and cheaper than ever. I suppose many don’t realize TV prices have plummeted for some time now. Not sure how good these deals will look in another couple of months. I know the 51-incher I bought a year and half ago could now be had for about 50% less than I paid.

I ended up buying a couple of classic board games and a few books for the kids for Christmas. All things I had planned to get eventually and good prices too.

And since I was in and done before midnight, before the real madness set in, I had no wait at the checkout. Walked right up.

I’m glad there were no reported problems here. I guess I still haven’t made up my mind on the whole deal. I have a real problem with people buying stuff just to buy stuff, especially when they probably have no money to begin with. But I also value a good deal. So if one can take advantage, on something they need, more power to them.

But I also know, as I’m sure the true deal finders can attest, the best markdowns come after Christmas and in January. The Black Friday thing, in my opinion, is more or less a gimmick to get you in the door and buy a bunch of junk you don’t really need.

Waffles anyone?



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