of all the events that have been extolled to me about the states, the most famed one is probably the phenomenon of ‘thanksgiving’. which apparently is another name for going crazy in the name of “shopping”.. which apparently degenerates you to the level of primitive cavemen. nice.
some legendary stories regaled to me include about the stores that offer everything inside for a dollar. or the tales of $200 dollar laptops. crappy, but $200 for a laptop… one can imagine. in the week running up, further yarns came to be heard – 200 gig hard drives at $20 apeice at staples. $500 for a complete computer setup including computer, printer and webcam. expectation grew. blackfriday.info became a hub of discussion.
come thanksgiving, and i tripped back home, and home food. having needled anisha about it for a week before.. the reality of going to stand in lines at 3 am is a little harsher than most. however, enter akshay. i love how engineering brings in the love of gadgets in guys. and voila, i had a partner in crime. over the evening of thanksgiving day, we sifted amongst the plethora of deals. staples seemed to be a better bet than most, news of lines forming at 4 pm that evening at best buy & circuit city came to us. plus there were 400 gig mybooks available.
black friday, 4 am. the two of us have managed to catch a coupla hours of sleep. crappy radio is turned on, we drive down to staples. 4:10 am, we’ve reached the parking lot, and the line in front of staples looks pitifully small compared to the legend of best buy. 50 people, tops. we decide against a dunkin’ donut at that point, the cold is better than any coffee anyway. 4:30 am, store employees are trickling in. the line scrunches up, we seem yards from the door. 4:45 am, updated leaflets are distributed… and we find that the store opens at 6 am, unlike all the others. akshay calls friends at best buy, and hears of lines snaking onto the highway.
5:10 am , the place seems to be getting colder. akshay patters off to the car. and heat. 5:40 am, he’s back, and minutes later, freezing again. the crowd is getting restless. we’ve looked through the leaflet, a $20 altec lansing speaker set looks good. $7 flash drive too. nothing else of too much interest. the guys behind us talk about past thanksgivings. further updates on best buy’s sale – its over. everything’s wiped out… all the good stuff anyway. the line at staples is elongating.. spillovers from best buy probably. 5:45 am, one of the guys behind us decides he wants a mybook too. we can hear talks of external hard drives up front. damn, there’s a lot of competition. akshay sees a friend, and asks him to pick up a couple extra if he can. we mutually decide he goes for the drives, i go for the speakers. 5:55 am, complaints murmured that they can’t even open the store 5 minutes ahead of schedule.
6 am, staples opens its doors, and the line disappears. seems pointless to have had it, if everyone was to rush in anyway. we separate, i frantically glance hither and thither looking for speakers. accessories.. $3 for a 60 pack of DVDs – picked up.. wireless keyboard/mouse combo – naaah… altec lansing boxes.. office speakers… wait. back up, speakers found and picked up. akshay can’t be seen. i vaguely note a major crowd at a service desk – wonder why. i walk around with that gigantic box, trying to find anything else on my list, when akshay meets me. only one mybook in his hand. damn. apparently, only one per customer at the same damned service desk, and he literally elbowed someone else to get his. he got the flash drive as well, cool. expectedly, the hard drives had been taken in about twenty-two seconds flat.. so there was no way i could have gone for them if i hadn’t initially. i show him the speakers. he mosies off to find a trolley.. i browse around. i am to be mybook-less.. oh well. $100 saved, i guess. suddenly mybooks seem to pop out at me from everywhere. i notice the guy who had been standing behind us, glance down, and take in the mybook in his basket. ironic. akshay re-appears with the trolley, with his stuff.. he’s picked up an extra speaker set. oh well, i could do with a decent speaker set too; what the hell.
he joins the line for checkouts, i dump my stuff into the trolley, and continue browsing. hmm.. nothing else of too much note. i need to make up for the mybook, so pick up another pack of DVDs. head back to akshay, nothing else to do anyway. i find him, and throw in the DVDs alongside the 2 mybooks… wait. TWO ? he grins at the surprise on my face, and points to the guy behind us who apparently decided against the purchase. and akshay, bless him, snatched it up before anyone else. talk about luck ! sweeeeeeeet. i chuck out the DVDs, 400 gigs of storage space is going to last a long, long time. my 3 am trip was giving me a great return. yay.
we pay, leave, and pick up a coupla donuts. off to best buy and walmart, in case we find some good DVDs. not too much at either place, but the crowds are crazy. 7 am, and the places is packed. gigantic parking lots jam packed. wow. back home, the gloating, the decision to try and do it next year as well… and sleep.
50 gig of 400 filled with music and backups. pretty decent sound from a $20 2.1 speaker set. sweet.
thank god for consumerist america.
and thanksgiving too, i guess.