I won’t lie to you, I love a bargain. I’ve spoken before about my Asian upbringing turning me into some sort of demented freebie chaser, a discount hunter, a haggler, a clothes rack prowler.
Back home in the United Kingdom we have our share of sales, with usually a lackluster and disappointing markdown which, upon closer examination, reveals itself to be items at virtually the usual retail price in a shop while optimistic signs everywhere proclaim ‘50% off’, BOGOF (which always makes me think of the shouted insult, “Bog Off,” and makes me giggle) or ‘Sale Must End Soon’ while actually containing no real sale items of worth.
My American brethren however have a very different take on what it is to have a sale, with yesterdays Black Friday being a prime example of the difference as on this day each year a large number of companies discount their products by an impressive amount, meaning that the early bird has a very big chance of getting the fat, juicy worm.
I do find it a little ironic that so soon after Thanksgiving, the day when most Americans historically focus on being thankful for what they already have, they flip their priorities around and focus on what new possessions they would like to obtain. It’s a day of retail excess where the most impressive collection of varied discounts can be found and people carefully plan their day in order to get to the maximum amount of stores.
The Hublet is thankfully a sensible, thrifty sort of man given to very few moments of impulsive spending with gleeful abandonment, but even he was intrigued by the potential for bargains and good offers that Black Friday had. We weighed up the pros and cons of getting up early, and even briefly, laughingly contemplated waking up before the dawn to go and camp out outside our shop of choice (don’t get too excited, it was going to be somewhere that sold computer parts and other IT accessories) with a thermos of coffee, but after various things occurred that prevented us from starting our 4-day weekend on Thursday, we decided to make up for the lost time and have a monster lie-in, getting up whenever either of us felt like it.
How thankful we were that we made the choice to squeeze some selfish ‘Us Time’ out of the day, instead of joining a queue of rabid shoppers as they clock-watched like hawks and began to foam at the mouth as opening time approached. Have you seen the news? Do you have any idea how mental some bargain hunters can be?
With some sales beginning on Thursday evening instead of Friday morning, tensions were high: there was pepper spray being used by a woman determined to get her hands on a discounted Xbox at the Walmart store in Porter Ranch, an affluent area in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles; a shopper had to be subdued with a stun gun at another Walmart store in Alabama after he physically attacked another shopper; two shoppers were robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of a further Walmart store in Hilton Head Island in South Carolina; another shopper thankfully survived being shot during an attack by a group of armed robbers in the parking lot of another Walmart Store in the San Francisco Bay Area of San Leandro, California; impatient crowds looted a Hollister store in Soho, New York and a security guard pepper sprayed customers at yet another Walmart store in Kinston, North Carolina. What is it with Walmart shoppers!?!
I’m not saying that I definitely would have been mugged by a crack team of ninja robbers while loaded down with computer parts on my way out of a CompUSA, however I’m pretty sure that without a doubt that’s what would have happened to me, what with all the other crazy events of this years Black Friday. As it was, I had a wonderful lie-in, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, goofed around with The Hublet and had some friends over in the evening for an oyster massacre.
Make no mistake, I’m always on the hunt for a bargain, however I’ll do it on my terms when I absolutely must have a discount, and not when I’m told to.