Despite the fact I hate long lines and crowds, I have for the last few years gone shopping on Black Friday. I go more to see what the crowds are like and what people are buying than I do to go shopping. I do have one rule though; if I have to fight for parking, I'm turning around and going home.
That almost happened to me this year. It would have been the first time in the past three years. The crowds at my local Best Buy were pretty staggering. Cars were crowding the parking lot making it almost impossible to find anything. I knew of parking spots on a street running right next to the mall so I tried my luck there and had no problem. Amazing to me that people would rather drive around a crowded parking lot for 20 minutes rather than to park and walk no more than fifty meters more.
What is even more amazing to me are the lengths that people will go to to get a "good" deal. My wife went to the Best Buy on Tuesday to buy Super Mario Brothers Wii. Already parked outside was a row of tents filled with people waiting to get the Thanksgiving doorbuster deals. This was Tuesday afternoon. Best Buy's doorbusters were not available until 5:00 a.m. on Friday. Many of these deals were available online so WTF? Is it really worth it to waste three days of your life to save a few bucks on crap you probably don't even need?
I'm convinced the only way to shop on Black Friday is to do what I did. Sleep in and go sometime in the late morning. Let all the crazies who want to be there as soon as the door opens get out of your way. There are still some deals to be had later in the morning. They may not be for crazy amounts off but those "deals" are usually pretty limited anyway and only useful if you don't mind getting some random stuff.
Better yet, you are better off just shopping online. Amazon had some of the best deals of any retailer, online or not, this weekend. I saw some crazy good deals on things I was actually interested in. I didn't buy anything from them but if I were gift shopping I don't see why you would do anything otherwise. My prediction is that in under seven years the days of waiting all night and rushing to physical stores to get the doorbusters will be pretty much dead. Most people will just come to their senses and do their shopping online. It is just easier to do and the deals are comparable if not better.
For the first time this year I actually ended up buying someting on Black Friday. I had no intention of doing so but there was a one day sale at Nordstrom Rack on Seven Jeans. Nordstrom rack usually sells the jeans 40%-50% off what you can get in the normal retail store but on Friday that added an extra 25% off. Like I said, I was not looking to buy anything on Friday but since I was bound to buy another pair of jeans anyway in the next few months I figured I would just score the deal while I could.
I'll be interested to see what the final sales numbers are this weekend. My hunch is that traffic will definitely be up from last year. It just seemed more crowded. I'm just not sure people were actually spending more money. How about you, did you go out or spend any money this weekend?