By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
After a coma-inducing Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, traditional side dishes, and pumpkin pie, some feasters opt to plant themselves on the couch. But for those who are eager to take on a late night (or early morning) shopping trip for Black Friday, their night is just beginning.
Black Friday is a day revered by retailers as it signifies the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Stores typically open their doors anywhere from midnight to 6:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, inviting customers to take advantage of dirt cheap bargains for items ranging from electronics and technology goods to clothes.
But is the time, energy, and money expended to get these deals worth the hassle? Seven survivors of Black Friday sound off below on their past experiences and whether they find the excursion worthwhile.
Julieanna McKonly, half-Filipino new business expert
The story: “I had never done Black Friday before, so I tagged along with a friend to see what the fuss was about. She wanted to buy a laptop, so we went to Wal-Mart at 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday. The store had the heat on high and everyone was sweating tons! My friend happened to pick up a laptop at the same time as another lady. The lady yanked the laptop out of my friend’s hands and put it in her cart. My friend, outraged by this, grabbed the laptop out of the lady’s cart and claimed it for herself. As my friend and I walked away, the lady cussed us out all the way to the cash register. People are so aggressive for these deals!”
Will she do it again? “Definitely not, I hate crowds.”
Rosa Le, Vietnamese American student studying biology of physiology
The story: “Two years ago, after my Thanksgiving meal, I drove up to Seattle Premium Outlets (in Marysville) with friends. The traffic was horrible. It took 40 minutes to get there and another 20 minutes to get off the exit alone. The parking lot was full so we had to park at [the nearby] Tulalip Casino and walk across both lots just to get to the stores. And each store had a waiting line of 15 minutes! We didn’t have the patience to wait in most lines and left the outlet stores empty-handed.”
Will she do it again? “No, it’s a waste of gas and time. I’d rather be sleeping!”
Julieana Gallub, Korean American sales representative
The story: “One year, I was working at K.B. Toys for Black Friday. A customer came up to the register to buy a stuffed animal worth $13 — and paid for the entire purchase with a Ziplock bag of pennies! The transaction took 30 minutes to complete because not only did it take time to count the coins myself, but my manager had to come and double-check my work. Other customers in line were also irate because they resented having to wait twice as long to make their own purchases!”
Will she do it again? “Yes, if I were working. But for shopping, I might go if I found a deal that was worth it.”
Ed Ho, Chinese/Taiwanese American sales representative
The story: “When I was a teen, I went to Wal-Mart at noon on Black Friday. It was really crowded and everyone was going crazy — it felt like all the worst and weird parts of society in one condensed area. The store was ridiculously disorganized. There would be, like, food in the Nerf toy section. And everyone was mean and pushy. A lot of pushing was happening because people kept trying to steal things for themselves.”
Will he do it again? “No, I’ve already pre-purchased all the stuff I wanted to buy online.”
Tracy Tran, Vietnamese American student studying ultrasound technology
The story: “I once went to Best Buy at 7:00 a.m. on Black Friday, and I had to wait two hours just to get into the store. I saw the last copy of a Playstation 2 game I wanted and grabbed it, but a woman ran up to me and demanded that I give it to her. I was caught off-guard by her pushiness and apologized to her, but still walked away with the game. And everyone in the store was so pushy! I think the customers were frustrated because all the best deals kept running out.”
Will she do it again? “No, I can just do Black Friday online now!”
Robert Louie, Chinese American cook
The story: “One Thanksgiving, I went to Frye’s to check out their deals for technology and electronics but everything was barely marked off! Because new technology is always coming out, I thought the stuff they had in the store should’ve been dirt cheap. They didn’t even seem like Black Friday deals. And on top of that, I had to wait an hour and a half just to get into the store. Their bargains weren’t worth my time, so I left the store without buying anything.”
Will he do it again? “No, the deals are never that great.”
Bobbie Maliksi, Filipino American student studying comparative ethnic studies
The story: “I normally like to shop around the big holiday events, but during one Black Friday, I found myself at Nordstrom, and it was chaotic. I saw four women yelling obscenities at each other and fighting over a $200 blouse. I tried to mediate between them but ended up getting pulled into the fight myself! In the end, two women ended up ripping the blouse, so the store manager kicked them out of Nordstrom for the day. I don’t understand why people think it’s worth it to fight over a simple shirt.”
Will she do it again? “No! It’s too hectic, and everyone’s shopping for the wrong reasons as opposed to having the genuine holiday spirit.” ♦
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.