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Tales of Christmas Present(s) aka Black Friday 2010

by  |  December 2nd, 2010  |  Blog  |  2 Comments

Ahh, the smell of turkey roasting, cookies baking, and most importantly BIG SCREEN TV’s! Yes, I said big screen TV’s.

Big TV’s have become a Holiday staple in recent years. Now if you’re like us, new parents, you’re probably living on a budget. Which makes getting that hallmark TV quite an economical challenge. Meanwhile, all of your non-parental friends are getting the latest in TV, Blu-Ray, 3-D this and that, home theater, etc. Sure, you’re happy for them… but you’re still being left in the technology cold. Who doesn’t want to watch their films in full glory? Be it Iron Man 2 or that special little Hammer film you hold so dear to your heart!

Fortunately for people like us there’s a little thing called Black Friday. That very special day after Thanksgiving that rings in the Holiday season! Now, as a consumer I’ve been extremely disappointed with the past 3 Black Fridays. Which I suppose are good if you need a Bluetooth ear piece for your cell phone, or you’re eligible for that stupid cell phone upgrade and qualify to get a deal on a new phone that’s ALMOST as good as the deal they give to their “New Customers”!

I wait all year for this, meaning I do with out, but make up for it on Black Friday and then I stock the hell up! Except last year, I was on my way to Black Friday to spend, spend, spend! On the way to the stores my jeep just literally died on me… I had to do the responsible thing and use all the Black Friday money I managed to save up… and fix my jeep (tear).

BFAds.net provides the Black Friday ads in advance.

Thanks to our friends over at BFAds.net we discovered the TV wars for Black Friday 2010! That’s where they leak the flyer’s for all the stores. Genius.  You can find out in advance what the good deals and door busters are, and where! We discovered that Target would be selling the 40″ Westinghouse TV for a mere $298.00.

The Rules…

The rules were simple. Target only guaranteed that they would have 3 TV’s in stock. Limit, one TV per person. The doors open at 4am. We (Candace and I) went to work, planning, strategically putting things in motion. First order of business was selecting our “Target”. This was based on geographic desirability based on how few people we thought would got this particular Target. Also, how close we would be to our next location. Once we selected our Target, Candace was able to download the floor plan from the website. This gave us the inside advantage. We knew the lay out, before even having stepped foot in the store. Next was the timing…

We selected our "Target".

The Event

We excused ourselves early from the Thanksgiving feast that Candace prepared for everyone at her uncle’s house. It was delicious by the way. Candace’s sister left with us, and graciously agreed to watch our son, while we would attempt our caper.

I was tired, and full from all of the food. Candace was filling our thermos’ with hot coffee. She wanted to leave. I wanted to wait a bit longer. We added our layers for the job and without haste we began our Fellowship of the Big Screen TV’s…

We arrived at Target at 12:30 am. The line was surprisingly short. I’d say we were under the 100 mark. People slowly began to trickle in behind us. We made friends. Other parents, or soon to be parents. Some looking for Easy Bake Ovens, some for the TV’s. One lady had just come from Toys “R” Us, and was filling us in on the happenings there. The time passed, hour by hour. The line grew. People were playing football and soccer while others drank beer, some even used their shopping carts turned on their sides as benches. One guy slept in a cot at the front of the line, while another brought a large space heater, he was very popular in the crowd and made many more friends then us. Before long there was well over a thousand people in line! It was getting close…

We’re doing it right, and I gotta believe that if you do things right and play by the rules, you WILL get rewarded. I HAVE to believe that.

The unfortunate side to Black Friday is “greed’. In years past, people at the front of the line would get the voucher or ticket for the laptop or PS3, even though, they didn’t want it, and would “scalp” the voucher to people toward the end of the line for money. Sadly, this would prevent those on a budget, that have waited and were more deserving from getting an item they needed, say for example, a struggling student for school. I mention this, because at one point, people began to “cut” in line, and believe me, by an actual point of survey about 90% of people in line, were there for the TV.

The guy in line right behind us also from Philly, was recently unemployed and expecting his first child in Feb. His wife couldn’t make it for obvious reasons. When he saw the “line cutters”, he got very discouraged. “Ah man, now we’re never gonna get a TV”! It was clear to everyone that this was probably his one and only chance to get a Big Screen TV, for a long time to come. He knew it too. “Listen”, I said. “We’re doing it right, and I gotta believe that if you do things right and play by the rules, you WILL get rewarded. I HAVE to believe that. I’ll tell you what, if I get to those TV’s by some devine intervention, I’ll grab one for you too!” He smiled, “Okay, then I’ll do the same”, he replied.

The line begins to move… we inch forward, hundreds of people behind us, all wanting the TV. We make it to the door and…

How would I best describe the events that unfolded next? Imagine trying to rescue a hand cuffed Michael Rooker from a rooftop in an episode of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’. It was like THAT! As we entered into the doorway, people were running and scrambling forth. I saw TV getting passed over people’s heads. Yelling… fighting… Candace ran into the crowd! The TV’s were gone.

Tales of Black Friday? Nope. Micheal Rooker and IronE Singleton from The Walking Dead on AMC.

Nearby was a pallet of 32″ Samsung TV’s for $320.00. A consolation prize. Nobody saw it yet. I grabbed one and asked Candace. “That’s the wrong one”! She wailed in a frenzy! “I know, but the other one’s gone and these will be gone in a minute”, I wailed back at her! (for the record I was right they were gone in less than a minute) “Okay, fine! Just grab it!” And so I did…

But, I pushed forward… running through the women’s department, I searched for a stray 40″ TV! (I know this doesn’t make any sense, but at the time, it did.) I got to the end of the womens department and there was no TV’s or any place to go, and all I scored was the lousy 32″ Samsung. I could hear the angry mob surging forward. Somehow, I managed to get ahead of them. Probably my short cut through the women’s section! And then it happened…

The doors to the stock room swung open. And I heard one Target employee tell his buddy, “This is it. No more TV’s. These are the last four.” Me, “Huh?” I look over and there they were, four Westinghouse 40″ TV’s! The crowd drew closer. one guy ran up and grabbed two for himself!” Two left! I quickly grabbed ours, then remembered the guy outside… “I’ll grab one for you too”, I had said to him. I ran back over and grabbed the LAST TV for him!

Finally the crowd caught up to me, and not seeing any TV’s pushed onward. But then the guy came around the corner. He was carrying two 32″ Samsung’s, one of which was for us. I told him, “You might as well put those back. I got your TV right here.” He couldn’t believe it. He kept asking if “THAT” was “THEE” TV. I kept smiling and nodding my head. He started to cry, and gave me a BIG hug! Then, Candace came around the corner and stopped dead, she looked at me and said, “NO WAY!?” As she saw the guy walking away with his Big Screen TV, smiling from ear to ear. Tears also began to swell up in her eyes…

It was time to go, people were beginning to notice our TV and their lack. I saw families walking around with 3 TV’s. Remember the rule, one TV per person. We got our TV! And thanks to Candace, who also had the forsight to clip a coupon, we got another $25 bucks back! Which we spent on picture frames and Season 4 of PSYCH for only $12.99! Cha-ching.

As for our friend, we parted ways in the parking lot, and I wished him well with his baby girl. Father to father. And he got to go home to his pregnant wife, and give her a TV they wouldn’t be able to afford other wise for Christmas. He provided for his family.

I doubt you’ll ever see this, but Merry Christmas you guys! I have since tested our new TV, and christened it with Hammer’s “Horrors of Dracula” in all it’s glorious Technicolor! I have to give props to Target for a well executed Black Friday. Not because we got a TV, but because nobody got hurt! Up next is the Blu-Ray DVD player. My first Blu-Ray DVD is Independence Day. Don’t judge me!

*One last thing, the packaging was wrong, once out of the box, the screen actually measured to be 41.5″ woo-hoo!


About

Matthew Dowling, a native Philadelphian, now residing in Los Angeles, is an actor, writer and film maker. Matt's training with 2nd City, and numerous appearances in TV shows, movies, theater, infomercials, and most importantly... B movies, has prepared him for making B Movie recommendations.

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Comments

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    November 25th, 2011at 7:25 PM(#)

    Great post as always. Such a terrific account of the most harrowing of all shopping days! You should follow up with an attempt to get an even larger screen TV – perhaps when 3D comes into its own. Ah, to have electronics at rock bottom prices – The American Way. Or, something like that :)

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