Monday, November 29, 2010

Capitalism at its Worst

Well, now that this is really news to anyone, but we can officially add Thanksgiving to the list of holidays -- already including things like Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Valentine's Day and several others -- that have simply been turned into overcommercialized pains in the ass by the American corporate machine. I mean, ever since I was a kid, Black Friday has always been the busiest shopping day of the year. Since before I was born it was already, and it makes sense -- the holidays are coming up, everyone is home from work for the most part, and people head out and hit the mall after a long day inside celebrating with family on Thanksgiving day. So it's always been the busiest shopping day of the year, since long before I entered the picture, and it probably always will be.

But opening stores at 3am, 4am and 5am? That's only really started happening in the past few years. Offering up these ludicrous "doorbuster" sales items -- at the BestBuy I frequented on Friday morning, it was $150 netbooks and $50 digital cameras. All four of them that the store actually had in stock. And you know what you had to do to get one of those four "doorbuster" items that of course BestBuy had been advertising all over the tv, radio and in newspapers and magazines for literally weeks heading into the Thanksgiving holiday? Nothing more than be there for the store's open at precisely 5am local time on Friday morning. Only, of course there were about 700,000 people who wanted in on these incredible deals -- mind you, which again the store only actually had four of in stock -- so you actually had to be there for the store's official lineup outside the store behind the police tape at 3am, because it was at 3am when the store handed out the "tickets" as they called them to the (very) few lucky people who would be eligible to purchase the $600 items for $150. Oh, and of course, even that 3am lineup was already packed by the time the handing out of the tickets went down, so the manager at the store told me on Friday night that you actually had to get there at 2am to actually be in the front of the line at 3am to get the tickets to make the best purchases for the store's open at 5am.

Is anybody else seeing something wrong with this picture?

I mean, I'm all for getting a good deal, be it on holiday gifts or otherwise. And I've been known to do quite a bit to get the best deal on something once I've zeroed in on making that purchase. I'll put off a purchase for a couple of weeks until the coupons come out that I know are on their way. I can search with the best of 'em. I'll spend a good long time scouring the internet for any kind of a bargain rate or coupon if the purchase price of the item in question is large enough to make it worth the effort.

But lining up at 2am at BestBuy? Having to learn there was a 2-hour line at the checkout counter when I got there first at 7:20am on Friday morning, hoping to pick up a new laptop for myself as I was tired of working on a 3-year-old piece of trash with 800 meg of RAM, a 40 gig hard drive and a mere 1 gig Intel chip inside?

When I was a kid, sure people camped out overnight for things. Big events -- the release of Return of the Jedi. Those Guns n Roses tickets to their first Appetite for Destruction tour along with Aerosmith or Skid Row, stuff like that. But camping out overnight at the literal middle of the night just to get in to Best Buy for their 5am opening just to save a few bucks on a netbook that you don't really even need anyways?

Clearly, things have gone far too far.

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Blogger columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

This is not the typical well thought out Hoy argument I've come to know and love. This is more of a rant. We have "complained" about materialism since the Charley Brown days of the 60s, so how bad can a store opening early be? Have you ever heard the Jack Benny Christmas show and the May Co. (Macy's to you young folks) brawls?

It's all relative to your mood. I, for one, did not stand in the cold overnight for a xmas Wii a few years back either. But I dont begrudge those who did.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

What? Me? Rant?


4:21 AM  
Blogger steeser said...

People were lined up at Best Buy here on Thanksgiving morning at 9am, and I'm sure they got there sometime on Wednesday evening, all for the Friday am sales.

7:24 PM  

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