What really happens on Black Friday for a family of avid shoppers

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What really happens on Black Friday for a family of avid shoppers

Vanessa Qin

Black Friday a day in which people blow their money on countless things they don’t need, right after the day they spend being thankful for what they have. Customers wait in the freezing cold, all in hopes of being the first to get that 50 percent off deal or $100 off perk. To be quite honest, I, along with the rest of my family, am constantly caught up in the center of all this consumerist buzz. For me, Black Friday is more than just a day to buy cheap electronics and clothes; it’s an experience that yields good stories to tell and moments to bond over with friends and family (but all the cheap deals are also a big part of it).


The schedule
Thursday, Nov. 27 — Thanksgiving Day


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.50.05 PMMy parents arrive at Best Buy and prepare to wait in line to purchase an eleven inch Macbook Air for $779.99. Tickets are passed out to the customers in line for each product that appears on the headlining deals to organize the process.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.55.45 PMDoors to Best Buy open, and customers waiting in line with tickets squeeze into the frenzied search for their prize. My dad successfully acquired the Macbook, but was forced to pay original price instead of the marketed $779.99 — red flag for marketing schemes. Apparently, the store messed up in their advertising, so the manager promised that price adjustments could be made the next day. So, my dad coughed up the full $899.99 and brought the laptop home, forced to return the next day for the $120 price adjustment.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.57.14 PMFamily dinner. Even though the excitement for Black Friday shopping lingers, we can’t forget about the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.04.27 PMMy family headed to the Livermore Outlets, but about an hour and a half of heavy traffic later, we turned around and headed back home towards Westfield Valley Fair. My parents were going to drop my sister and me off at Santana Row, while they went to the Apple store to wait in line to purchase the iPhone 6. Apple was offering a $50 iTunes card with the purchase of the phone, and we planned to purchase three: one for my mom, my sister, and me.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.06.21 PMWe arrive at Santana Row, and my sister and I head for Urban Outfitters. A friend of mine just so happened to be at the front of the line, so we slid into the front with him. At around 11:30 p.m., store clerks started handing out tote bags to the first 50 or so people in line. Each bag had a raffle ticket in it, and 10 minutes to midnight, a ticket was going to be drawn, and the winner would receive a $200 gift card to the store. The store was set to open at midnight, and everyone who received a tote would be able to enter first. Thankfully, my sister and I arrived just in time to receive the bags. Although we didn’t win the raffle, I was just glad to be going in the store.


Friday, Nov. 28


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.11.19 PMThe big advertised deal was an extra 50 percent off the already reduced sale items. Ever so conveniently, both the men and women’s sale sections of the store are located on the upper level of the store, so the race to the top of the stairs was like a race to the top of a mountain. The finish line? A mob of adrenaline-driven teenage girls shoving their way through a tiny cornered-out division of the second floor that was probably meant to fit 10 people.

Broken lens filter for the Canon Rebel T2i I took with me Black Friday shopping. The lens filter was a casualty of the mobs and chaos at Urban Outfitters.

As soon as I entered the women’s sale room, I rushed to the left side since there were fewer people there, and figured I’d try to make my way through the mob later on. I ended up grabbing pretty much anything in my size that looked remotely appealing to me, and wiggled my way through until I reached the Cornucopia (the wall on the very right side with all the tops and bottoms). At first, I thought I’d try to elbow my way through, but by the time I got past two or three girls, I decided there was no point in trying to find anything, and tried to get out before I got trampled.

In the process of practically getting mauled, I lost a few of the items I had picked up and ended up having to crawl under two racks of clothes to get out of the room. Later on, I discovered that while fighting my way through the crowd and army crawling through the clothing racks, someone took a toll on my camera and shattered the lens. Thankfully, only the UV protection filter broke, but my sister and I left Urban Outfitters $130 poorer than we came, with an injured camera and a traumatizing story to tell. Whether or not this escapade in Urban Outfitters was worth it is something you can judge for yourself from my mini haul.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.13.08 PMAt this point, our parents wanted to go home because the Apple store wasn’t going to be open until 8 a.m. My sister and I managed to convince our parents that they should just go home and sleep, and that we would have enough energy to stay at the mall until the Apple store opened, when my parents planned to come back to the mall to purchase iPhones.

My sister and I made our way to Westfield Valley Fair, the shopping mall across the street from Santana Row. We went to a few stores: American Apparel, where even with Black Friday deals, everything was still too expensive; the Gap, Banana Republic, Sephora, Express, Forever 21, Pacsun, Zumiez, American Eagle, and Uniqlo.

Only about three hours later did we realize that shopping is way more tiring than it seems, and we wanted to go home. But it was 4 a.m., our parents were asleep, and we were a 6.9-mile walk away.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.15.02 PMLuckily, I ran into some friends at the mall and convinced one of them to take us home. We arrived home around 5 a.m. with a couple bags of clothing, though our under-eye bags seemed to be bigger.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.15.24 PMI placed an order on forever21.com, because all the deals they had in store were the same as the ones offered online, so waiting in line at the store just wasn’t worth it.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.17.53 PMMy parents went back to Valley Fair to go to the Apple store, and only successfully purchased two of the three iPhones wanted. They ended up going to the Apple store in Palo Alto to purchase the third — all for a $50 iTunes gift card, which no one in my family would really even use.


Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.20.27 PMAs if shopping from 11:30 p.m. to 4.30 a.m.wasn’t enough, my sister and I decided to go back to Santana Row again to make a stop at H&M and Crate and Barrel, because who doesn’t need $2 cups that would be perfect for apple cider we don’t drink, right?   I didn’t end up purchasing anything for myself during this small trip because I just didn’t have the energy to go pawing through the early bird leftovers, but the things I picked up from the night before are pictured below.


The haul
Hover over the thumbnails to see details for each piece.


Conclusion
Black Friday, as fun as it is, isn’t worth the hype. Granted, it’s just fun going out and staying up all night shopping with friends and family. If you’re out there for the deals, it’s probably easier to stay at home and shop from the convenience of your computer. Most of the sales that are offered in stores are the same as the ones found online on Cyber Monday, and the online stock usually has more availability anyway. Even so, I’ll most likely find myself out all night again next year, still getting frustrated with the same unreasonably long lines, just because of the holiday shopping spirit.