Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Friday Ranting

I really hate shopping on Black Friday.

My dislike begins with the modern day version of jousting that masquerades as parking as ten vehicles vie for the single spot left in the lot (even though my indicator is on, and I've been sitting there waiting for an hour for the little blue-haired old lady currently in the spot to get her scrawny, wrinkled ass in gear and back out), and steadily grows stronger through the elbow-jabbing, foot-stomping, vulgarity-spewing tantrums in the store aisles (Get your hands off my Furby, you monosyllabic neanderthal in stretch pants! I had it first!).

This year, I was particularly annoyed, not by the rude consumers (although, okay, yes, they annoyed me, too), but by the shrewdly worded sales ads. It occurred to me as I read them that consumers must've caught on to the games advertisers play with Black Friday sales ads in previous years - you know, advertising a fabulous price for an item but only have three of those items in stock.This year, the ads were positively cunning in their wording.

For example, one store touted that certain items would "be in stock for one hour, guaranteed." Right. Except what they didn't tell you was that you had to get in a mega-line  that twisted and winded its way out of the store and into the next county in order to get a ticket to purchase the item. So, if the item went on sale at 8:00, and you were in line but didn't get your ticket until 9:00, guess what? No item for you. The hour guarantee was up.

That same store began piling Black Friday merchandise on pallets and stacking them in the aisles on Wednesday, with polite little signs that read, "Black Friday Sale Items: Please Do Not Open." Yeah, that's like dangling raw steak in a tiger's cage and asking the tiger to eat fucking cabbage instead.  Not gonna happen. No sooner did the pallet hit the ground than consumers were ripping them open with their teeth and nails and fighting over the contents. The winners shoved their prizes into their carts and went in search of a "hiding place" where they felt their could stash the item safely for now, then retrieve it on Friday when the sale started. Sheesh.

Another store advertised terrific prices on items "after special savings." Special savings? Oh...you mean rebates. Oh, you clever, clever advertisers! You see, consumers don't like the word "rebate." They don't like to be forced to write all their personal information, familial history, and blood types down on a tiny piece of paper, making sure nothing is misspelled and all the i's are dotted and t's crossed, then staple it to a receipt along with proof of purchase, birth certificate, and quite possibly the little finger of your first born child, and, after affixing enough postage to pay the national debt of a small country, mailing it to AssEnd, Antarctica, then waiting either six to eight weeks or Armageddon, whichever comes first, in order to get a check for ten bucks. Knowing this, advertisers shrewdly changed the word "rebate" to "special savings." Because we consumers are morons and won't catch on until it's too late and we're painstakingly writing the address to AssEnd, Antarctica on an envelope.

Then, another store started putting  items up at the sale price online before the Black Friday sale began! Oh, and they didn't tell anyone they were going to do it until just before they did it, and then they only told their Savings Club members via email. So here were all the rest of the shoppers, shivering in line instead of eating their Thanksgiving turkey, sharpening their elbows and practicing clotheslining each other, hoping to fight their way through the crowd to get the one special item little Timmy most wanted for Christmas, when all they really had to do was go online, point, and click.

Don't even get me started on the Black-Friday-Now-Starts-On-Freaking-Thanksgiving thing. Although I'm not bitching about the sales people who have to work the holiday. Nope. Sorry. As someone who worked years in the themeparks, and who has family members that still work there, and who has other family members who work as waiters, waitresses, and bartenders, I'm totally used to working  or having my family work ALL the holidays. Nobody's ever boycotted DisneyWorld because the castmembers are forced to work on Thanksgiving. Or Christmas, Or New Years, or...you get the idea.

I do think it's horrid of the stores to stick their big, fat, greedy fingers in our Thanksgiving Day turkey, though. Really, is nothing sacred anymore? Not even our national day of gluttony, football, and belching on the sofa?

Ugh. I really detest Black Friday.



  1. I totally agree with you. I have largely sworn off shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving (I hate, hate, hate the term Black Friday). There used to be real deals. Now there's just bait and switch, and apparently the vast majority of consumers are too sheeplike to realize their odds of getting that super-cheap TV or laptop are about the equivalent of winning a 2nd rank lottery prize, but the lottery ticket is a lot easier to acquire.

    Have you noticed that now the weekly grocery store circulars are starting to pull the same kind of advertising crap - this price is good on Friday only, and you must buy exactly 3 of the item, no more and not less. There are at least two local grocery chains whose fliers I've stopped even looking at because those kinds of tactics annoy me so thoroughly.