As a keen observer of business, I felt I needed to experience the day after Thanksgiving shopping experience. I have not braved the crowds for a number of years and thought it was time to try it again.
This bad idea developed yesterday as I looked through the circulars my mother brought to Thanksgiving dinner. The Best Buy ad caught my attention with 256MB Compact Flash for $40. The 32MB card we have for our Canon G4 only holds about 30 pictures. I thought this would be a good opportunity to upgrade.
My nine month old son and I left the house about 5:45am. I knew there was going to be trouble when I drove past Wal-Mart at 6:00am and the line to go in ran the entire length of the parking lot.
Shaken but undeterred, we turned and headed towards Best Buy. As we approached, every car seemed to be turning into their parking lot. We had to park a block past the store and walk back. When we got to the store, a line was still filing in even though it was 20 minutes past six.
Chaos and pandemonium are the only appropriate words to describe what was going in that store. You couldn’t move down the main aisles because of the shopping cart gridlock. People were trying to plow their way to the checkout with $79 televisions and $20 DVD players.
Ethan and I found only empty hooks in the portable memory section.
A few thoughts on the experience:
- These 6am promotions are extremely effective at bringing people into the stores. I honestly thought people were joking when they said the stores were packed.
- People are driven by price. That’s what got me out the door this morning.
- Do people spend more because they start earlier and have more hours to shop?
It wasn’t a total loss. The brightly lit “HOT NOW” sign at Krispy Kreme caused us to take a welcome detour on the way home.