Black Friday Madness

Well, I said last year that I wouldn’t go back out early on Black Friday ever again. Then, I said I’d go out, but not go to Wal-Mart, after the Great Transformers Incident of 2007. Looks like I was wrong on both counts. We did go out, and began the day at, you guessed it, Wal-Mart.

Most of the time, Wal-Mart is fairly organized as far as employees go; it’s the other shoppers you have to worry about. Not so this year. Apparently, for the biggest shopping day of the year, the Wal-Mart manager forgot to have a meeting to go over everything to prepare. Here’s a short list of the incompetency on display by Wal-Mart employees.

As soon as we walked in, we asked a checkout clerk where the store maps were (all the Black Friday deals are in weird places, like DVDs in the frozen goods). She told me she hadn’t seen them but knew they were out there somewhere. It turned out a lady standing about 10 feet from said cashier was handing out said maps. /facepalm #1.

When 5 AM finally hit, I was waiting in the line for electronics, as I wanted to pick up some cheap Blu-rays. Turns out I could have picked up the Blu-rays earlier, because the line I was waiting in was for “behind the counter” items. So I walk around, get the Blu-rays, and a guy next to me says that the regular ones off the shelf aren’t the sale ones, and you have to locate the proper display shelf with the BF deals. It seemed odd, but an employee verified it, so I put my catch back on the shelves and headed out. On the way, I ask an employee where the discounted Blu-rays are. “Blu-rays?” she says. /facepalm #2. Yes, high def movies, I say, and she directs me to the grocery aisles, where, naturally, all the movies are. All the DVDs, that is. No Blu-rays to be found. I’m pretty upset at this point, as I’ve been there for 30 minutes and all I have is Spaceballs on DVD for $2 to show for it.

Turns out there are no Blu-rays by the groceries. My fellow BF shopper Chris tells me that the DVDs are scanning as the sale price no matter where you get them, so back I go to the electronics for the stuff I already had once and put back. ARGH. On the way, I ask an employee passing out memory cards about the cheap 8 gig flash drive. He smiles and laughs, and points at the Photo line. Which is horrendously long. He recommends I skip it, and I take his advice.

I head to the electronics desk, and ask about the AC/DC Rock Band bundle. The first employee gives me a blank stare and asks if I mean “that guitar game”. When I told her I didn’t, she asked the lady next to her. And she asked the lady next to her. And she asked the manager-type next to her. All like some huge game of pass it on. Manager-type knew what I meant, and handed me one. I walked off and noticed it was the PS3 version. ARGH again. I fight back to the fellow and get the correct version. /facepalm #3.

Now, here’s the best part. Remember the map? It said that all the toys in the ad were in front of the toys section. Seems natural, right? Except the toys section is about 100′ across, and there are wall to wall people there, and if you just want one thing, who knows where it is? Why even have a map if it doesn’t tell you where specific items are? I make my way back, and ask an employee opening up boxes where the Power Rangers Helmets are. “I don’t even know what that is!” she informs me. I kid you not, a lady next to me shoves the BF ad in this employees face, points to the helmet, and says “THIS ONE RIGHT HERE”. Of course, that didn’t help. I am quickly growing tired of this, and make my way to the front of the store. /facepalm #4. We did manage to find the Transformers hoodies. None in my size, more’s the pity. We finally got out of Wal-Mart at 5:40. That’s way later than normal and put us far behind schedule.

We did find a Power Rangers helmet at Toys R Us, surprisingly for $10 less. TRU was totally different; stuff was easy to find, but the line to check out was hideously long. It moved fairly quickly though; I’d say we were waiting about 30 minutes before we got behind a checkout counter. Unfortunately, we picked the wrong one. One lady’s credit card didn’t go through repeatedly, so she filled out a credit app. On Black Friday. At 6:30 in the morning. The next lady behind her had a cart full of items that she wanted rung up individually. I can’t believe that they let her do that. We ended up switching lines, and got out relatively unscathed.

Gamecrazy was next, and had 2 of the 3 things I needed. The line went out the door into the cold, due to how small the store is. But it was fairly quick. From there, we drove past Target and laughed at how full it was on our way to breakfast. That was easily the highlight of the day; meeting up with our friends to eat and sharing stories is a hoot, every year. My country fried steak was terrible but the chococlate chips pancakes were good. No facepalm here.

Worn out, we decided to check K-Mart (picked clean), Big Lots (no cool stuff), and Radio Shack (never even had PS3 controllers in stock). All in all, a busy day, but we got some deals and I can’t wait to give the stuff out soon. I’d say I won’t go back to Wal-Mart next year, but I know I will. The cheap stuff compels me, and I always get to tell the crazy stories, which makes the trip totally worth it.

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