Black Friday: More Than I Bargained For

Woman trampled at doorbuster sale.

Once the doors opened just before 5 a.m., hundreds of people poured through, breaking down the police tape. Dozens of others cut the line and ran through the exit door before Wal-Mart employees were able to stop them.

Inside, Wal-Mart workers were throwing boxes with laptops and portable DVD players to the people who were pushing and shoving to get the merchandise. A lone sneaker lay on the floor, lost by an anxious shopper in the scrum.

My name is Rogers and I am a recovering doorbuster.

A few years ago during a Thanksgiving holiday in Dallas, my wife and her sisters got up before dawn Friday morning to go doorbusting, hitting the sales at Target and other retailers on the biggest shopping day of the year.

I thought this sounded nurse-a-shotgun dreadful, but when I saw some of the prices at computer stores, I became one of these sad, bargain-crazed freaks.

The aptly named Black Friday gets larger, longer and more dangerous each year. I heard a radio report from a Wal-Mart where 5,000 people lined up outside before it opened. Some stores have even begun opening on Thanksgiving Day, spoiling one of the last commerce-free holidays.

Another former doorbuster:

Doorbuster shopperBlack Friday is the most terrible day of the year. I can't believe what kind of human beings go out on this day and start fights and are that greedy and materialistic to get up this early and do these things. ... I'm sickened by what I was exposed to today. I don't even want to go into detail about the things I saw and the things that were uttered out of people's mouths.

I don't know what possessed me to get up at 4 a.m. for a knockoff MP3 player, six-format digital photo card reader and other computer peripherals, most of which remained unopened the next time Black Friday rolled around. The only thing I can recall needing -- from any of these sales -- was a 100-pack case of blank CDs ($0.01 after a $9.99 mail-in rebate).

Two years later, I still have 70 CDs left.

When I was doorbusting last year at CompUSA in Jacksonville, I decided that no amount of savings is worth standing in line for an hour within the armpit fallout cloud of computer aficionados, many of whom skipped a shower so they'd have the best possible chance to buy one of five $49 laser printers.

Update: Bill Lazar survived a Black Friday riot at a Mountain View, California, Wal-Mart: "People raced to the consumer electronics department as the store opened at 5 a.m., jumping over counters and pushing over a display case. Store managers, downplaying the scrum afterwards, needed help from Mountain View PD to restore order."


I would have to say a picture is worth a thousand words !

That brings up an interesting cross-promotional idea. Why doesn't CompUSA market a line of tech-related personal hygiene products. Perhaps dorks would be more inclined to shower and wear deodorant if they could get it while they were at the computer store...a location they typically spend 10 to 12 hours a day at.

Because CompUSA sucks ass. What real tech spends "10 to 12 hours a day" at CompUSA?

David K, that was sort of the idea originally behind the founding of Fry's Electronics; the brothers who own it are sons of a man who opened a (small) chain of supermarkets.

Rogers, don't think my bill:politics entry is copied from you--I started writing it this morning after reading about what happened in our local Wal-Mart yesterday. Even mediocre minds think alike on occasion ;).

I can't believe so-called civilized human beings act this way. It's like Lord of the Flies. What's next, bar-b-cue Bob's?

Take a net, cast it, and you may catch--anything. So if you just have to go to an event like this, use your piece, and capture a video moment. There's a market for it, believe me. but you nude me.

that guy is freaky. He's got the Rasputin glare--fright. But I really like his prose, it's got that "cinema verite" vibe about it. It rings true.

When greedy,materialistic Americans wake up on Jan 2,2006 groggy,sick and bloated from an orgiastic spending binge they will have a lot to worry about.
Major economic indicators are pointing toward a real messy time for the greedy ole USA.At the top of the list in the near term is a MAJOR
correction is the housing market,this well have a ripple effect in many american sectors.
So go ahead refinance your house so you can pull the equity out of it and buy your stooooopid kids Bratz wigger dolls and that huge suv you always NEEDED.

This is beyond the pale: who feels it, knows it.

"The pagan shopping holiday known as Black Friday". I like that.

I was in eastern Virginia, near Yorktown, for the holiday. The Wal-Mart store about a mile from my sister-in-law's house was open on Thanksgiving Day.

The funny thing is that I did a little research on the HP laptop that W-M was selling for about $400 on Friday. It was a pretty basic unit, hardly equipped with enough features to risk riots, injury and general mayhem.

Hell, most of the crap sold as "discounted" on BF will be even cheaper about two days before Christmas.

I don't have the problem with the materialism. It's what people will do for crap.

Oh, and Tickyul, I don't know anyone who would even think of taking equity out of their house to buy an SUV. Or Bratz, for that matter. If you know such people, they are morons. Tell them I said so.

Joe: I have some friends who re-fi'ed their house for cocaine, but I guess that's a bit different. They bought a car too. An ugly one.

I for one am looking forward to the "correction" in the housing market, being sick of 350k 2BR dumps in the PNW.

Quotes from 'Rabid Fun', a Jacksonville blogger:

"In the mall parking lot irate drivers deliberately rammed cars into other cars battling over parking spaces. Fast shoppers trampled slow ones. Tiny tots screaming for Mommy got lost in the crowd. Old folks got shoved aside.

Some shoppers ended up with human bite marks on their arms. I heard a rumor that one man lost an ear."

This is surreal.

dude i am poor so i need all!

I am the woman that got hit in the head w/a dvd/vcr on black friday 2003
i had to have brain surgery
there were jokes on jimmy kimmel about our local comics column.
I am interested in hearing form others who have dealt with this

Add a Comment

All comments are moderated before publication. These HTML tags are permitted: <p>, <b>, <i>, <a>, and <blockquote>. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA (for which the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply).