Monday, November 26, 2007


Early Friday morning (Black Friday), 200 bargain hunters and I were waiting outside of the Lakeville Best Buy. How early? 2:30am early.

Best Buy had a number of 'doorbuster' deals in their ad, and they were handing out tickets for the items starting at 3am. One of those deals was a $200 PC, LCD monitor and printer, and so I dragged myself out of bed and into the bitter cold to stand in line in the hopes of getting one for Linzy's parents (who have not had a computer since Linzy was in Junior High).

I've never done anything like that before. I don't even know that I've been to a store on Black Friday before 10am. So an experienced bargain hunter I am not. What I was unprepared for was the crowds.

Honestly, despite the really good deals, I was figuring the relative newness of the Lakeville Best Buy, the ridiculously early time frame, and the sub 20 degree temperatures would keep the crowds at bay. Instead, when I pulled up at 2:30am, the parking lot looked like noon on a Saturday.

The line stretched from the front door, down the front of the building, down the sidewalk, around the side of the building and all the way into the back by the car stereo installation bay. There were 163 people in line in front of me (one of the guys behind me counted). At 2-fricking-30 in the morning. There were somewhere around 20 tickets for the PC available, and probably a similar number for each of two laptops that were ~200-300 dollars off. At about 3:10 they announced the PC/laptop tickets were gone and a third of the line left.

It wouldn't have been a total bust, however, if I had wanted some of the other items. There were a number of TVs, digital cameras, a camcorder, and an XBox 360 bundle deal that all had enough tickets to get all the way back to my area of the line.

The silly thing about the line was that they started handing out the tickets from the front of the line, and you were limited to one ticket per item. But each different item started at the front of the line. So if you were at the front of the line, you could take one of every item. You could also take tickets for things you had no intention of buying.

Thus all of the PCs and laptops probably all went to the same 20 people. Those people were dedicated, though. Supposedly the person at the front of the line arrived at 2:30pm on Thanksgiving (that is, 12 hours before I did). What a way to spend your Thanksgiving.

Most people didn't show up quite that early, but there was a lady I talked two who had come at 1:30am, and she was still all the way around the side of the building (so, probably at least 60 people from the front of the line).

The other thing that was surprising was just how cold it got standing around in line. I was wearing long johns under my jeans, my warmest winter jacket, a hat and gloves, and I was still shivering like crazy by the time I left at around 3:20. I can't imagine having spent the four-or five extra hours outside that would have been required to get something 'good'.

Still it was an experience I guess, and only really cost me a little over an hour of my time. I left the house at like 2:20 and got back at 3:30am. Sure it totally hosed up my sleep that night, but my in-laws would have been floored if we had managed to get them a computer for Christmas. So it was worth a shot.


McBrideFarm said...

What a bummer that you didn't get one. That would have been an awesome gift! Well, you got a good story out of it.

Steve Eck said...

A good story, and I managed not to get a cold from standing outside in the below-freezing temperatures at 2:30 in the morning. That could almost be considered a success by itself.