Top Posts Of The Week And Black Friday Open Thread

This Open Thread is up early so you can share your bargain-hunting victories… or smug assertions of your moral superiority for staying home and not buying anything. Either way.

I Can’t Play My Video Game, Nor Can I Return It (Updated)

What $200,000 In Student Loan Debt Looks Like

I’ve Got $555,000 In Student Loans

Are You Participating In “Opt-Out” Day?

Which Products Are You Most Thankful For?

Comments

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  1. Span_Wolf says:

    I went and waited in line for my boyfriend so that he could get a nice TV. I must love him too much because I waited in line while he got to sleep and join me later. Anyway got into the store within a minute of it opening and the TVs were already gone, I’m half way to the TV section of the store and some fuckspill is already saying, “Hey I’ll give you this for 200 above asking.” Humanity can be real shit sometimes.

  2. caradrake says:

    I was halfway tempted to go to Walmart last night at midnight, mostly just to see how packed they were. I may wander in today at some point, look over what remains of their cheap DVDs. It’s curious that they started Black Friday at midnight, and then did the electronics stuff a lot later. Wonder if that helped keep the madness to a minimum.

    Oh, and this is only somewhat related. Amazon offers free Amazon Prime membership for 3 months if you sign up for their free “Amazon Mom” program. I signed up yesterday – hope they have some good Cyber Monday deals! They also do free month-long trials of Amazon Prime itself.

  3. I just blue myself says:

    I am dreading going to the mall today. My friend wanted to go with me though and it has been forever since I’ve seen her because we’ve both been so busy. It seemed like a good idea a few weeks ago but after having worked all night (yay third shift!) I’d rather eat glass :(

    • I just blue myself says:

      LOL. I just peeked at my profile and noticed I had made a ranting comment on a black Friday post earlier this month saying I wouldn’t ever do it again. Oops!

  4. momtimestwo says:

    Watched via TV all the crazy people standing in line outside of Toys R Us, they opened at 10pm last night. Since I pay cash for everything, I can’t participate in the madness because I only get paid once per month.. the last day of the month… so my bank account is too low on Black Friday.

  5. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Happy to see Valve / Steam Support honored Stephen’s refund. :3

  6. chucklebuck says:

    I need to replace my car (with a used, cash-purchased car of course!) which means I have no money to spend on Black Friday, so I stayed home. I do have $300 & change in Amazon gift card bucks in my account though, so I am keeping an eye on their sales, but so far nothing’s caught my eye.

  7. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    Wish I could brag about either, but sadly, I’m one of the unlucky sods who has to work today. So, I hope to score some deals on Cyber Monday.

  8. Roloboto says:

    I have a job interview in a half hour. Not wasting my time or money standing in a line to buy things i don’t need.

  9. Ebriosa says:

    I moved to Canada (Ottawa) about 6 years ago, and I find it funny every year the amount of coworkers who want to go down to the states for black friday shopping. I try to explain that despite the deals they have so much going against them in terms of actually saving money – the time spent driving, the time waiting, the customs, and the likelihood that the item they want won’t be sold out in ten seconds. There’s also the outlet mall factor in that if you’ve driven for a few hours to get there, you’ll want to buy something, anything, even if it’s not a deal or what you really want. Also, it’s just nuts. If you want to see crazy Americans, I can do a song and a dance. Right here. Right now.

    I do want to mention I’ve done a lot of online shipping to Canada from some great stores in the states and I haven’t gotten charged any duty. I don’t know if this is a trend, or if they’re just too busy, or maybe the customs agents are so impressed by the cool stuff I’m getting for my friends and family.

    • immaculate gaenor says:

      Apparently there were buses taking people from Toronto down to Buffalo in the middle of the night. Madness!

      All my Black Friday shopping was done with a few mouse clicks this morning in my pyjamas. Much better.

    • Southern says:

      Actually, a lot of the people I know do this not to save money, but just to “experience the madness” and have a good time, and the (little) money they save is just a bonus.

      I guess it’s the shopaholics version of standing in the Star Wars – First Screening line for 3 days kinda thing.

      So while many of can sit here and say “Yeah, I can get that same item on Amazon for the same price and I don’t have to leave my desk”, many of them would say that we’re not experiencing the “joy” of Christmas shopping.

      *Shrug*.. They can have it. :-)

      • Ebriosa says:

        It’s kinda true – it is a sort of “tourist” mentality. But I get my kicks of horror shopping stories on the internet, as well as my shopping!

    • dragonfire81 says:

      I was born and raised in Ottawa, love the city. I spent most of life either there or just outside of Toronto and never had an interest in Black Friday, BUT I did brave the early morning a couple of years to pick up some deals at the Future Shop Boxing Day sales.

  10. etcalledme says:

    Originally I wasn’t even going to go out unless there was some truly epic deal at someplace that wasn’t Walmart or Best Buy. I went to Target at 1:00 am-ish to camp for a 40″ Westinghouse LCD HDTV that was on sale for $100 less than any other store’s comparable TV. There were about 30 people in front of me. Around 3:00 am they started handing out hand warmers (I live in the Midwest, so we needed them!) and snacks. They also built a barricade of carts around the front of the line so people couldn’t line jump. At 3:30, they handed out tickets/vouchers for the TV’s so those of us in line would know if we’d get one or not. When they opened the doors at 4, we just walked up to the checkout aisles with the vouchers, paid, and drove with our receipt and voucher to get the TV loaded into our car while the rest of the crazies rushed the store for other things. I have weak girl arms, and was glad I didn’t have to try to load my new 40″ LCD HDTV into the car myself :) I was in and out of there in less than 20 minutes. Least insane Black Friday trip ever!

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Wow you got a voucher? We got bumpkis.. Just a map to where they would have them stacked. It didn’t go well.

    • immaculate gaenor says:

      That’s a really good system. More stores should follow it!!

    • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

      Your Target handed out item tickets? Ours didn’t. They just opened up the doors at 4 and let everyone have at it. It was horrible. People were running through the stores like crazy. This one rather large guy stood in front of the TVs so all his friends could grab them. Other people grabbed as many of them as they could and hid them in the clothing section. Other people laid down on top of the TVs so nobody could take any off of the pile. I saw one guy with 3 of the same TV in his cart. Apparently he was waiting for his friends to get there and buy them since it was only “1 per customer”. They did nothing to enforce the “1 per customer” rule. There were no employees standing nearby to make sure everyone only took one.

      I was kinda shocked that our Target didn’t hand out tickets for the big-ticket items. I thought most big box stores has a system in place to prevent melee-scenarios, but I guess not. I’m going to write them an email to see if our store failed to follow procedure

      We did luck out though, as after we left Target, we went to another store and got a comparable TV for just a little bit more. That store was handing out tickets for their big-ticket items, and they even had us drive around to shipping/receiving to pick it up. It was a much more pleasant experience.

    • etcalledme says:

      I think ours was one of 2 out of the 4 in the city that did. Based on what my friends told me, the other 2 had all the TVs loaded in carts at the entrance and employees in place to take the carts to checkout registers so asshats couldn’t grab multiple carts/TVs. Apparently that went fairly sanely too, although my mom told me that the police had to escort out several people at where she was for trying to rush the exit and grabbing a cart and then trying to sell the TV inside it before they even bought it…..

      The ones that passed out vouchers were the larger of the 4 stores, so that might have something to do with it. Also, I know a bunch of the TVs at all these stores got smashed in the fray and a huge fight started last year when they didn’t try to control anything. There were also 4 real police officers in full uniform on hand; 1 at the one/only entrance they opened, 1 in the store to help employees and 2 in front of the exit to prevent people rushing that door.

      To make this Target sound more awesome, they gave everyone maps too AND had about 6 employees going up and down the line answering questions as to where everything in the store was, how much of certain items they had, etc. I’m still kind of in awe at how smoothly everything went, especially after reading some of the other posts and having dealt with Black Friday shopping for the last 4 years.

  11. Lucky225 says:

    ING direct has a great $103 opening bonus for Electric Orange, sadly they banned my wife from ever signing up for missing ONE ‘security question’ months ago. I tried to get around this by adding her to my Savings account as a joint user, they still don’t believe my own wife is my wife. :(

    We are sorry your request to open an ING DIRECT Orange Savings Account has been refused based on the primary applicant information you provided. If you believe you have received this message in error, please resubmit an application or call an ING DIRECT associate at 1-888-ING-0727.

    http://www.ingdirect.com/blackfriday

  12. Trireme32 says:

    Only about 50 people waiting outside the TigerDirect (resurrected CompUSA) store in Dallas. The store forgot to advertise… great deals – better than best buy! Nabbed a beautiful 23″ Samsung monitor for $150, Blu Ray player for $60, Asus netbook for $150 – I was in and out in 20 minutes!

  13. Scuba Steve says:

    I was in line for the Target Westinghouse 40″ 1080p LCD TV for $298. I was 4th in line. The waiting outside for long hours isnt’ so bad. The cold isnt so bad. The staying awake till 4AM, thats what gets you. You get paranoid, loopy, and silly. Multiply x 200 people looking to get 10 items. (Luckily the Target we were at had almost 20 TVs for this) We had 5 or 10 people stop by that we knew who offered assistance in the form of conversation, free food and drink, and the occasional “good luck!” If we had to use the bathroom, one person would stay while the others would drive to the nearest gas station with one. Posted speed limits were merely suggestions at that point.

    Anyways its getting real tense around 3:55.. we’ve put away are stuff, we’re ready to go, to get done with this whole mess, and then go to bed.

    But somethings not right. We see a second crowd start to form. They’re not in line, there’s more people than we can see standing in our line, and they’re crowding the exit door. We start asking rather towards the employees that we wonder why they are over there.

    Luckily, there were 2 employees and 2 officers there to announce that under no uncertain terms, that they would not be entering through that door and should back off. We try to focus on our TV. My friend also wanted a PSP, and a vaccuum. I don’t really care for any of that, but more people means more security.

    Finally The guy opens the door, and they tell us “Please walk in a single file line to the item you want. Well, the people who are 10th+ in line don’t like that plan, seeing as how if they can get to the back a little faster they can get what they’ve been waiting for.

    So it starts. First a kid runs past, who shouldn’t be up at 4AM to begin with (He was around 12), then his Teenage sister follows behind. Then a grownup starts full bore. Well, when a kid runs past, you don’t get too alarmed, because these are 40″ TVs, he’s not going to be able to carry one, and we see there are enough for most of us currently walking. Then the next person runs past. She can definitely lift one.. Then the next person runs full speed.. and we realize that if we don’t start running too we will be mobbed.

    So it all breaks down. I get there.. third. (I was the first one to grab a nearby cart.. lucky me), we don’t panic, we get to the giant stack of TVs, GRAB the one we want, and then my friend and I quickly Pull the cart away from the mob of people grabbing and pushing every which way.

    We quickly pay, and get the hell out of there.

    • Roloboto says:

      Wow. You’re really living the American dream now, aren’t ‘cha?

      • Scuba Steve says:

        Neatly covered insanity? Yes. I don’t think its for me. Now having 2 40″ TVs, a good one and a cheap one, I believe it will be a cold day in hell before I am forced to run and shove again at 4AM for some cheap consumer experience.

        What’s sad is that according to other posters, my target just wanted to see us go crazy.. we could have gotten vouchers.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      At my Target, they had the TV’s already in carts.

  14. CrankyOwl says:

    Smug assertion of moral superiority checking in! Okay, it’s because payday isn’t until next Friday and I cut up my credit cards, but still…

  15. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t like to go out on Black Friday because the traffic is NUTS. Also, I’m not buying anything because I don’t have any money.

    If I did, I’d probably skip the doorbusters though. There’s enough sales today so if I were going to look for bargains I could probably find something reasonable without getting trampled. Anyway, I’m not working today so I’m going to stay home and relax. If I need to go out, I’ll do it later when the crowds have thinned.

    • ArcanaJ says:

      You and me, baby. We are in accord. Come sit by me and we can eat leftovers and watch everyone else drive themselves crazy with the shopping.

  16. areaman says:

    Just got back from Best Buy (2 min walk from my office/work). Their sale prices are regular online retailer prices (ie Amazon). If you factor sales tax Worst Best Prices are higher.

  17. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    I had to purchase two HDTVs for work.

    I got a car from my local car sharing service for $5/hr (drivemint.com) and got to Costco at 8:40am. Only 15 or so people ahead of me. The doors opened 15 minutes early at 8:45am. The two TVs I needed were right in front, I put them on my pallet truck, checked out and had them back in the car before the store was ever scheduled to open at 9:00am!

    I would have been done sooner, but the checkout clerk needed approval for a check over $1,000.

    No traffic on the FDR so I got them back to Brooklyn and into my office before 10am.

  18. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I decided to forgoe sleep, as it was the most sane choice, and after chatting to people most of the nigth, I hit Target at 4am for some fleece pants, a season of House, and a set of king size flannel sheets. The line was literally wrapped around the front of the store, but I managed to get it, get some fleece pants in my size and also some in my Mom’s. Sadly, when I went to find my snowflake flannel sheets, the entire endcap was filled with different patterns in all sizes… except one empty slot where there should have been 2 king size sheet sets. They didn’t have any in the back, so I got my copy of House and at 4:25, went to check out. I found the line extended from the registers, down the main aisle to the market section, hung a left, and was building it’s way to the back of the store. I ended up checking out at 4:55-ish, and also managed to snag a Target gift card made of Lego for my gift card collection!
    Hopped in the dualie and went to K-mart for a DVD player for mom for Christmas. K-mart opened at 5am, so by the time I got there, it was open. I was in and out in 5 minutes, and then went down the plaza to wait in front of Staples until they opened at 6am.
    Most of the people in front of me were getting computers, cameras, GPSii, etc… so I made a bee-line to get a Microsoft HD-6000 webcam(can you ever have enough webcams?), a universal remote control that will be free after rebates for my aunt who REALLY needs a replacement one, a 100pack of DVD-R’s since my Mom will need movies to play on her player, and a laptop cooler for my one ex who just had a baby and I’m giving a free laptop to that has a little bit of a cooling issue. Then I waited in line again to check out, and was out the door by 6:45.
    I finally shot over to another Target and found my King Size flannel snowflake sheets, some more fleece pants for gifts, and a “elf voice changer” gift card.

    So all in all, I got all the deals I wanted, and it was pretty fun. Almost everyone in line was happy, willing to talk to me, and seemed to already be in the holiday spirit!

  19. Cyniconvention says:

    My dad did manage to get some three-burner thing from JC Penney.

    And while I couldn’t find the book I really wanted ($100 Amazon! Geez!), I did manage to find another. Our cashier was telling us about a lady who bought two Nooks.

  20. qualityleashdog says:

    I was in Wal-Mart about 2pm yesterday, after going out for dinner. I was there to pick up some items I needed (box of wine, bird seed, dryer sheets) and I scouted the locations of the three Black Friday items I was interested in. A Belgian Waffle Maker, Electric Griddle (both 9.97) and a 1.5 cup food processor (2.97). The items were all out in the main aisles, heavily plastic wrapped but the top were open. Signs were posted that the items were not available until 12:01am. I arrived to a packed store at 11pm. People were already positioned around skids, ready to grab. Wal-Mart employees lined the aisles, wearing yellow safety vests, much like prison guards. I was the first to position next to the griddles/waffle makers split skid and waited for about 40 minutes, watching and listening to the crazies.

    The bath towels, going for 1.33 each, were a couple skids up from me. Seems they were the most sought after houseware. I overheard a woman near me on her cell telling someone they could forget the towels, she was afraid of the bitches that were waiting for those.

    Another woman sidled up to the griddles, told a woman that she was there for a certain toy, and couldn’t be in two places at once. She removed a griddle about 11:30pm, and hid it under her coat in her cart, and moved on.

    At 11:55, six minutes before it was to all go down, someone grabbed an item off a skid somewhere near me. A chain reaction started, and it was on. Everyone was grabbing. The aisles swelled with shoppers trying to go in a million different directions, and going nowhere. Carts slamming into each other, and into people. Like a lane closed on the interstate, you couldn’t let people go, there would be a line on their heels that would immobilize you if you did. You needed a cart, it was handy for pushing people with and clearing a path. Those without one were cornered and didn’t make it out as quick. About six minutes after the inititial grab, a manager came on the loudspeaker and announced that we may begin shopping. We collectively laughed at him.

    I made it to the front, and decided to pick up a Crockpot as well, only 9.97. Then it was right on to the register, where I was second in line. After paying, I exited the store, with a teen boy right behind me. The security alarm went off, I hesitated, but kept moving after remembering I didn’t have to stop, even if I had set the alarm off. I figured it was something the boy had that did it, and he looked at me and said, “you can fucking do anything you want to tonight, even if all the cops are up here.” Then I noticed five police cruisers parked on the sidewalk, at either end.

    Next year, I’m going to figure out at about what point the guards (employees) are posted to watch the merchandise. I’m going to go in right before, make the rounds and fill my cart up with the deals I want. Then I’m going to get a couple of coats from clothing, cover the items and hang out in the store until I’m able to buy the items. When 12:01am hits, I’ll toss the coats out of the cart and hit the checkout. Yeah, the hell with wading through that crowd and the hell with taking my chances.

  21. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    after many years of working retail, i will not be going near any of the stores during their holiday sales. i value my sanity. online shopping for me. although i haven’t done any today, nothing on my gift list was on sale.

  22. JohnJ says:

    I’m not a Store Person, and never go to bricks-and-mortar stores on Black Friday. Recently:

    I ordered a physical copy of Adam Lambert’s acoustic mini-album on adamofficial.com.

    I got some nice snow sneakers on llbean.com.

    And I get books, CDs, computer software, and more on amazon.com

  23. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    I’m one of the fortunate souls to be born on this day so if I were crazy enough to go out to a mall (which I am not) I would use the excuse of my birthday as the reason for me shopping and not because I am a psycho bargain hunter.

  24. SuperBK says:

    I went to Lowes, bought some tile grout. Passed on the Black Fiday specials.

  25. Cantras says:

    Got a new job recently — not in my field, but better than what I had. It’s a phone center retention gig though, and today everyone calling us was grouchy. I’m grouchy too because the SHEER NUMBER of calls from people who had a)been registered in the last week and/or saying they did not authorise it makes me want to strangle some sales reps. Quit it! I’m sure your numbers are FANTASTIC if you sign everyone up but it makes my numbers terrible when they’re all livid when they call!

  26. Not Given says:

    I went to a small regional discount store to buy an OTC medication. My big savings was that I had a 30% off any regular priced item in the store coupon, excluding a big list of stuff like electronics, plus $2.10 store loyalty reward coupon and a $5 manufacturer’s coupon. It would have cost me 20 without any coupons, $12.90 with the coupons I had and I paid $7.20 total because of the black friday 30% off coupon.
    There weren’t many people there, only one register was open. I suspect everyone not staying home wen to a town that had a mall or a Walmart or something.

  27. bobosgirl says:

    Have to say this was an abnormal Black Friday for me. Usually hubby & I go together and meet friends for breakfast around 10am. We didn’t have anyone to stay with our 10 yr. old, so this year I went alone. Ended up with the last of the turkey day company leaving at about 8 so didn’t start perusing ads until then ( what I hadn’t checked out online, of course). We have a brand new Walmart, and I have never been to one on Black Friday, so I naively figured- why not just stay up and leave the house at about 1am and go grab the few things I needed, then head to Kohls before 3am?
    Had to park a block away, met up with friend and her 18 year old coming out. Asked me what i was going for, then asked me if I wanted to wait an hour and 45 min. to check out. ummmmm..no. They told me the 18 year old staked out the $149 Kitchenaid mixers and leaped onto one at midnight- the store only had 10.
    So I headed to Kohls,only place open for coffee was BK right next to the mall- not even Starbucks was open. So I drive thru, order a small coffee and breakfast sandwich, and get told “oh, we’ve been too busy to start breakfast.” Huh? So I opt for a whopper Jr., pull forward, and he says “I’m all out of coffee.” WTF? “Well, we sold so much in the last hour, I forgot to put more on. It’ll be about 30 minutes.” He gives me the 3 inches left in the pot for free ( about 1/2 small cup), and I pull over and sit in my car until 2:45. Store opened right at 3, line into store moved quick, lots of employees watching for line cutters and giving directions. I had made a map & list, and was in line to checkout at 3:25.
    Line moved, ran into friends, they pulled a nightgown w/matching doll nightgown for me, and at 3:58 I checked out, scoring $267.09 for $101.52, plus getting $20 in Kohls cash back. Decided to hit the biggest Target in our area next, as they opened at 4 and I was close. I didn’t want all the electronics, just a doll for my granddaughter, 2 pair of $5 pjs, a $3 toaster and a pair of $5 pj pants. I walked in at 4:13 am- and right from the start, something looked wrong. The entire front of the store was chained off, and the “guard” at the front said if you wanted to shop for anything, you had to follow the 2 ft. wide aisle weaving through the departments on the left side of the store. Fail #1. They have been open 13 minutes- and the line stretches down both sides of the store, all the way along the back, and then up the middle aisle. I get doll, pjs, toaster, and try to find the end of the line. Ask employee at the end “what do you think the estimated wait time is from here?” She converses on her radio, then says ” we hope it won’t be this long, but we estimate about 2 hours and 15 minutes.” I plopped my stuff down and walked out. On the way out I counted 174 people in line- and that’s only on the one side of the store. Epic fail, Target. What was wrong with the system you’ve always had at this store? Apparently getting people out in under an hour just wasn’t workin’ for ya?

    Stopped at Fred Meyer for 50% off socks, a $2.99 microfleece blanket at 70% off, and some awesome shirts for one daughter. Best score there: an Oregon Ducks hoodie, zip w/green sparkles and Daisy Duck for my 10 year old daughter, reg. $28.00 for $11.20. In and out in 24 minutes, with free coffee and donut holes. Next stop Kmart-

    Kmart was busy, organized mostly, grabbed some great pj deals, a requested robe, and asked about tvs in electronics. This is where my day got awesome. The guy who was helping me went above and beyond. He ran all over looking for the tv I want to give my hubby for Xmas. When he determined that the only one they had showing in stock was in someone’s cart, he brought me up to the customer service desk and watched my cart in line while they called other close by stores for it, so i could go get my socks and other sale stuff! Unbelieveable! Found the tv, other store held it, and then they rang me up at customer service- so I didn’t have to get back in the lines!
    Drove to Kmart #2- awesomeness again. Had my tv already at layaway, tagged with my name. I grabbed a few more items I wanted, employee scans them all real quick and I am on my way in 18 minutes! Had an employee in the layaway line scanning each item and putting them on a card and then u just handed the layaway person your card and it was so quick. I don’t always have good stuff to say about Kmart, but i do today. Back for breakfast with hubby and 10 year old, then she & I hit Walgreen’s and then I came home and flopped down for a 3 hour nap and we had turkey and gravy hot sandwiches for dinner.
    Will I ever venture into Walmart again for Black Friday- probably not. I already feel dirty if I go in there and shop- like I’ve sold my soul or something. Am going to make sure I email Target about their BIG fail today and Kmart about the 3 awesome employees who made my day so much better. All in all, I completed almost all of my remaining shopping today, and then went to Kmart.com tonight and found 60%off Elmo jammies for my 4 month old grandaughter, 50% off purple suede boots for her momma and an Oregon Ducks sherpa lined hoodie that is going to make my oldest ( now living in Idaho and missing Oregon) scream with glee, and got $5 off and discounted shipping.
    But I am a pretty happy camper- after Mondays Cyber Monday sale at Barnes & Noble ( cart loaded and waiting to check out), I’m DONE. Done baby, done. Just have to sit & watch some movies and wrap before Christmas, and mail packages on the Monday after next. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……..

  28. u1itn0w2day says:

    Besides never having luck getting up & waiting line for a door buster this is another reason why I don’t bother anymore.

    http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/buffalo/Crazed-shoppers-pile-up-at-Target

    As short as this near catastrophic stampede/mob was by shear luck everyone ‘seemed’ to be ‘ok’. Although if I was the guy hanging over the rail I would’ve sued.