Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm

Today, my wife and I had the day off, which meant one thing--SHOPPING! Now I'm not much of a shopper, preferring to go get something when I need it, but a day out at the stores with the entire family is a great recreational event. It was very interesting to stroll through the major stores like Best Buy, Target, Kohl's, Academy, Home Depot, and Sam's Club as they prepare for "Black Friday."

As we shopped, we were almost ignored by the employees in each store as they frantically stacked hundreds of "video game rocker chairs," "Guitar Hero III" boxes, and an assortment of other items that will be on blowout sales price early Friday morning, as they boastfully complained to fellow employees about how "crazy" it was going to be.
This consumer frenzy seems like it is getting more extreme every year. Last year, my wife and I stood in line at Circuit City as they prepared to open at 5 a.m. Most people in the line that stretched around to the back of the store were in line for a $250 computer system. We were there just to "browse" and to observe the carnal greed exhibited among competing consumers.

THIS year, we noticed that Kohl's plans to open at 4 a.m. for what they call their "Early Bird" specials. I think there's going to be an uncontrollable throng pushing against the doors, trying to be the first to get that $5 coffee maker (limit 5 per person!) I bet within a couple of years, stores will be opening at midnight as they sell off their surplus of stainless steel colanders for 5 for a $1. I should probably start lining up for those now.

Speaking of lining up early, as we entered the Best Buy store at 10:30 am, there were two normal-looking dudes who were perched in lawn chairs right next to the entry doors. Apparently, they were already camped out so that they would be the first losers to enter the store on Friday morning (which was still 42.5 hours away.) I didn't even see a flier in the store which advertised what the store specials would be. I guess those guys aren't big fans of the Thanksgiving feast with family or watching football on TV through their eyelids, opting instead to save a couple hundred dollars on a high-def television to play their video games on. I hope their GIRLFRIENDS don't mind them spending the holidays on the pavement of a shopping center without them, oh wait . . . . . . . WHAT girlfriends?

At the end of the day, we did more browsing that we did buying, exhibiting tremendous will power and self-restraint--we never yelled at our children once! Instead, we used the day to observe others, to spend time with each other, and to sneak in a little exercise (I like to park in the most remote areas of the parking lots.) We had a lot of fun and quite a few laughs thinking about all the material things society thinks they need to buy just because they're on sale. It's quite humorous how people will buy ANYTHING if you limit it to 5 per person.

So I think we'll venture out again on Friday morning to watch the vultures swarm over the marked-down goods and to see just how many of them will leave their empty shopping carts next to their car in the parking lot, and how many of them will actually return them to the return stiles.

Yep, today was definitely the calm before the storm.


Anonymous said...

A five dollar coffee maker!!! WOW! I'll meet you there at 4am sharp!

kwkorpi said...

OK, you get 5. I'll get 5. And we'll split 'em!

Ohhhhh, Java . . . . Look out!

StephenR said...

Way to bash the guys buing the TVs - I'll be waiting in line tonight and tomorow morning to get a 32" HDTV for $399.99 at cicuit city. yay for layered clothing and lawn chairs in front of a store

kwkorpi said...

Layering is DEFINITELY the key!

I actually had my eye on the 65 inch HDTV from Circuit City, but It got nixed by my wife. Enjoy your euphoric High Def acquisition.