Ndolger

En-duhl-jer: The one who indulges

RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Black Friday Recap 2013

0 Comments

black_friday_2013

 

aaaaHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHH! BLACK FRIDAY! BLACK FRIDAY!! … … …

OK, well, yeah…it’s over. I guess we can’t get too excited, huh? Speaking of not getting too excited, this year had many things to not get excited about. For one, we are getting ever closer to having the name Black “Friday” cease to exist, what with 80% or so of all retailers opening on Thanksgiving day (and online deals starting on Wednesday), and unlike last year, it was *early* – many retailers opened at 6pm or earlier.

Look, I’m not a big “family” guy, but this is ridiculous. Stop opening up so early guys, no one wants this to takeover Thanksgiving (although, to be honest, it was a hell of a lot more convenient, I’ll explain later)! Thanksgiving and Black Friday represent two very opposing modes of thought. Can we avoid some conflict and give them some space? A scant few hours isn’t good enough. Anyway…

Without further ado,  here’s this year’s recap. You can check out last year’s here.

What changed from last year?

The timing of it all

Well, like I previously mentioned, the fact that many stores opened up much earlier was kind of a paradigm shift for BF. It certainly made planning a lot more interesting than normal. Walmart opened at 6pm, as did Best Buy and Toys R Us. Target opened at 8pm, and stayed open for 72 straight hours.

OK, let’s stop for a second. Before going any further, let’s get one thing straight: 95% of my Black Friday purchases are done online. I will try to avoid the B&M (brick and mortar; i.e. retail store) scene if I can help it, because 95% of the time, you can get the same or better deal by shopping online. The fact that people continue to fail to see this is astonishing. I imagine one day (maybe 10-20 years from now) this will shift, but I don’t see it happening for a long time.

That said, there are just some things you cannot get online. This year, Target was the only place I went, as it had two items I was looking for that could not be replicated anywhere else.

The atmosphere

What do I mean by this? Well, things just felt…off. You know how it is when you find some great niche band / videogame / book / insert art of your choice, and you felt like you have found the most wonderful thing ever, and no-one else knows about it? Then they make a movie out of that book, or that video game you loved gets watered down through pointless sequels (stares at Resident Evil), or that rock band you love sells out, and it’s just not the same any more? Yeah, well…this felt like a sell-out year. I think Black Friday as we knew it died this year. I’m not kidding…

The people that I encountered didn’t know what they were doing. They had never been Black Friday shopping before. There were children, lots of children this year. People showed up at store open and were *shocked* that there was a line. This was a noob Black Friday, there’s no other way to describe it.

So were the changes worth it?

Advantages

With a watering down of the day, it does bring some advantages. Since nobody knew what they were doing, I was able to get in and get out of Target within five minutes. That’s never happened before. I loved it. You don’t know the torture of having to stand in line during BF…missing out on all those online deals, missing out on being to go to other stores. Missing out on family time? Yeah, uh, that too.

Say what you will about stores opening up early, in terms of convenience, I don’t think I’ve had a better B&M Black Friday. I was able to get in and out and hit many stores…before midnight! I literally was able to go to bed at a decent time! That hasn’t happened in a decade!

Gone are the days of waking up at 2am to stand out in the cold for an hour or two. Not only that, Target was open for 72 hours! Unreal! Do you know how nice it was to walk into a Target past midnight and have it be completely dead? I could get anything I wanted – save for the obviously limited top items on sale (look, if you’re going for the *doorbusters*, you’re doing it wrong; that’s the wrong approach).

Disadvantages

Even given the unique advantages this year had, I think I still prefer last year’s scheme. These time changes were just too much. What’s next? Opening in the morning (sorry, Kmart, nobody cares about you)?

Last year, Best Buy opened at midnight, Target opened at 11pm (if I’m not mistaken). That was nice. That’s good enough, and doesn’t dig into the Thanksgiving holiday *too* much. Can we scale it back next year, please?

From a retailer’s standpoint, how are they not bleeding money by opening up early? The labor costs alone should be staggering. Keep in mind that most of these companies need to pay time and a half (at least) to open up this early. I find it hard to believe they made much profit… I really hope this year was a one off, simply because Thanksgiving came so late this year. We’ll see…

Other notes

OK, so the big one for me was the fact that because the Black Friday store opening encroached into Thanksgiving directly, that meant…most everything was going live online mid-afternoon Thanksgiving day! What the hell guys! Look, I can’t just blow off my family to search for stuff online all day (well, I sort of did anyway, but…still!). Can you cool it? Many, many things went on sale Wednesday and Thanksgiving morning / afternoon. Not cool.

I was literally shopping for four days straight. Four days. Slick Deals + F5 could describe my entire Thanksgiving break.

There were some great rebates / cash-back opportunities this year (as always)! Bigcrumbs doubled its cash-back bonus for a few days, Discover also doubled its cash-back bonus (10% for Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, etc), and American Express had some killer rebates. A good week for the smart online shopper. If you went through Black Friday this year without utilizing these amazing credit card deals, I strongly urge you to read the “Using and Building Credit” section here.

Final note: Don’t be fooled into thinking the best prices on items are to be had on Black Friday / Cyber Monday. You just have to keep an eye out all day / every day throughout the holiday season. I highly recommend the combination of Slick Deals, camelcamelcamel, and gemmit (shameless plug) to determine whether you’re getting a good deal.

OK, that’s enough preface. Let’s see what I snagged this year:

AMAZON

  • Rank: 5/5
  • Notes: A mixture of fantastic customer service, cheap video games, interesting lightning deals, and just a wide variety of things I never knew I needed was enough to propel Amazon as the winner of Black Friday 2013 (dethroning  last year’s champ: Best Buy). Not to mention I could do this all from the comfort of my own home. Hard to beat that. Didn’t actually get much on “BF” proper, but picked up a ton of stuff afterwards.

What did I grab?

  • Video Games under $10 – Soul Hackers (3DS) ($10), Scribblenauts Unlimited (3DS) ($8), Skyrim (PS3) ($8), Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition (Wii U) ($8.50)
  • Video Games under $20 – Scribblenauts Unlimited (Wii U) ($15), Tales of Xillia (PS3) ($19.99)
  • Acer Aspire V7-582PG-6673 15.6-inch Touchscreen Ultrabook (Cold Steel) Laptop – $200 (Cyber Monday): Oh man…easily the jewel of the year! An i5 processor with a touchscreen display, 8GB of RAM, hybrid SSD + HDD, steel book laptop! For $200 freakin’ dollars! This is a $850 laptop! Lightning Deal baby! Except…well…price mistake. Cancelled. Gah?! Amazon, et tu? What are you, Walmart? I’ve never seen Amazon make a mistake like this. However, after some, ahem…complaining, they ended up giving me $125 in credit, for my inconvenience. I’ll take it. Remember, this is why Amazon is the best. They go above, and way beyond what any other place will do to satisfy their customers. Outstanding.
  • Killer is Dead – LE (PS3) – $19.99 (Cyber Monday): I think I’m becoming…oh hell…I know I’m a hoarder. This game proves it. I have yet to play a single game from Suda 51 (No More Heroes, Killer 7, etc). I own a bunch that he’s made, but I have *never* played a game by the man. This was either a good or a very bad decision. I’ll find out when I play one five years from now… Probably could get this cheaper, but they’re still selling the LE version, might as well not gamble on it.
  • Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition (PS3) – $11.99 (post Cyber Monday): GH Edition, but I’ll live. I haven’t played a Mortal Kombat game since 1994?! Wow, I’m old…I’m going to go cry now…
  • Proform 505 CST Treadmill – $449.99 (post Cyber Monday): Whenever you can get a treadmill for more than 50% off, delivered to your door with free shipping, you have to do it. Especially if you actually want one. This was actually only $390 after some “thank you for complaining” credit I got from the aforementioned laptop issue.
  • + Much More (don’t you judge me!)

NEWEGG

  • Rank: 1/5
  • Notes: Pretty lackluster year. From all the freakin’ spam emails they sent me this year, they really didn’t deliver. Yeah, I got two decent prices for games, but…I literally got a new INSANE DEAL email from them every hour (i.e. junk). Pathetic. Newegg really pissed me off this year.

What did I grab?

  • Dead Island: Riptide (Special Edition) (PS3) – $10 (pre-Black Friday): Not much to say here…good deal!
  • Ni No Kuni (PS3) – $15 (post-Black Friday): Meh, it’s another Greatest Hits edition (which I despise), this is an OK price.

BEST BUY

  • Rank: 1/5
  • Notes:  What in the hell happened Best Buy?! Was it because Amazon occupied all my time looking for Lightning Deals? Did I miss something? Really, really disappointed. Best Buy has had the absolute best deals for 2-3 years. They just totally dropped the ball here. Did I mention I was really disappointed?

What did I grab?

  • Some 20% off Nintendo eShop cards. Whoopie!

TARGET

  • Rank: 5/5
  • Notes: The undisputed winner of B&M Black Friday. Not only did they open up at a relatively convenient time (8PM), I had no issues getting what I wanted and getting the hell out of there, they were open all night, AND they gave out 20% off your entire order coupons for the week of Dec 2nd after spending $75 on Black Friday! This coupon worked on your ENTIRE ORDER! Your. ENTIRE. ORDER. Lets just say I got my money’s worth with that coupon. I hope they do that again next year, I love that coupon!

What did I grab?

  • It’s a secret! Most of the items were gifts.

WALMART

What did I grab?

  • I didn’t die by having to go to a Walmart on Black Friday.

HOME DEPOT

  • Rank: 3/5
  • Notes: Hit and miss with Home Depot this year. I bought two major appliances: a dehumidifier and a dishwasher. The dehumidifier has broken already after using it (barely) for only a few days. Returning that sucker… The dishwasher was a pretty good deal! $500 for a stainless steel Samsung dishwasher with free delivery and $60 installation (it’s hard to find much cheaper than that).

What did I grab?

  • Dehumidifier that is a piece of junk
  • Stainless Steel Samsung Diswasher (can you tell I’m getting lazy now…I can’t be bothered to find links anymore…)

LOWE’S

  • Rank: 0/5
  • Notes: After some great prior experiences with Lowe’s (famous for being able to order online during Black Friday and instore pickup the next day), there was just not much to say for this year. Surprising.

What did I grab?

  • Nothing.

Overall: 5/5 – Even though just Amazon and Target had anything to be excited about (for me anyway), I…still got excited for what I got this year, and that’s all you can ask for. This is my favorite time of the year. The one time of year where my cheapassery can shine, and my frugality goes out the window. I love it! Time to go into hibernation…until next year!

Well, that’s about it! Questions? Comments? What was your best find on Black Friday / Cyber Monday?

Filed under Info
Dec 14, 2013

Posts by Category

Help out the author!

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

Send me a message!