Black Friday Shopping SCORE!

A number of years ago C and I started knocking out the bulk of our Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving.

Since I used to work in retail I loathed that day. I think the first time we went it was because I lost a bet or something.

But what we learned was it really wasn’t that bad. The first year we started about 8am and all day long we wondered where all the people were. The parking lots weren’t full and we always seemed to get a front row spot no matter where we went. It was a long but successful day.

For the past 7 years or so we’ve continued this tradition and we’re usually pretty successful. What we haven’t done is camp out or get up early to try and get any of the super early bird specials. In fact in the past when we’ve asked about them, a lot of stores would have substitutes which in a lot of cases have been better than the original item.

I don’t understand the fascination with a one or two generation old laptop for $299. When it comes to this stuff you usually get what you pay for. I’ve never seen a laptop ‘deal’ that was all that great of a deal. Especially when it involved staying up all night in line somewhere, usually outside in the cold to save what amounts to $200.

Of course every year there are people camping out to try and get the latest game system too. This I don’t understand either. It’s a lot of work for something that will be readily available after Christmas.

This year was no different, people were camping out late to get PS3s and Wii’s, or at least attempting too. Why these manufacturers can’t seem to put more than 5 or 6 units to each store just blows me away.

This year we decided we were getting a new TV. With some help from a buddy we located the one wanted that was in our budget. Unfortunately it too was an early bird special at Best Buy. A 42??? plasma for $999 was the goal.

The store opened at 5am, so our plan was simple, get up at 3:30am and head to the closest Best Buy. It’s a relatively new store so foolishly I figured it wouldn’t be that busy.

The alarm clock went off and we jumped out of bed. Hopped in the Excursion and headed to BB. We stopped to get coffee and someone there asked if we were headed out shopping. He was there to get coffee for his wife who was camped out at Best Buy, he said she’d been there since 11pm and others had been there since yesterday afternoon. The line was bad, real bad, it wrapped around the store by now.

Claudine and I looked at each other and thought, uh, maybe we made a mistake.

We decided we already had coffee, so we might as well get started, we drove by the BestBuy just to check, and the man was right. I bet there were 300 or more people already in line. The guy at Speedway said they were going to let people in 50 at a time. It was pretty clear to us that even if we got in line now we wouldn’t score the TV we were after so we bailed on that idea.

We decided to get started on our shopping over at Wally World. After all they were 24 hours and we could get stared now.

We headed over, got their ad, and C noticed they too had a 42inch plasma TV. Now when I was looking online, I looked at what Wally World had. It wasn’t that exciting because it was a monitor not a TV, as in no tuner included. But what they had in the store was different. The specs were as good (actually better in some ways) to the Panasonic we were originally after.

They didn’t have one on display though. We asked and these TV’s were in the layaway area, they had 5 51??? Rear projection TV’s and 8 of the Plasmas. So we went over there to stand in line. We were about 9th in line, but it appeared we were only the 2nd in line that wanted the Plasma display.

Amazingly enough we scored a TV for $988

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Yeah yeah, plasma burns out and/or fades over time, but as a buddy pointed out, the life span of most are 60,000 hours. That a hell of a lot of TV if you ask me. In fact the rear projection we have now, a vintage 40 had faded long ago and it’s about 10 years old.

I think we long passed its useful life, it was no longer sharp and also had audio issues.

At 60,000 hours if you used it 12 hours a day that’s 5000 days or 13 years worth of TV. I’m pretty sure we’ll replace this baby in the next 13 years with something better.

Until then we are very happy with our purchase, and we didn’t have to deal with 300+ yahoo’s trying to get a deal at Best Buy.

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