By Li Evans
A few weeks ago, the Best Buy Black Friday Ad "accidentally" leaked onto the Internet, I know because I saw it when it first appeared on Gizmodo. Best Buy quickly reacted by using the DCMA and the ads were pulled down from the various websites displaying it.
I can tell you - I was psyched. I was looking for a computer for my parents, and they had a complete E-Machines package for $189.95. I live 12 miles from the border of Delaware, so I had plans of heading to the Best Buy in Delaware so I didn't have to pay the 6% state tax in PA. I planned on getting there for when the store opened at 5 a.m.
Now, keep in mind - I'm a NOVICE Black Friday shopper. I despise crowds of people because I'm claustrophobic, and I've done 95% of all my Holiday Shopping on the Internet for at least the past 5 years. Unfortunately this deal was only in-store. I hate in-store only deals, I'd gladly have paid the shipping & handling -or- purchase online and then pick up later to avoid the crowds.
I found out how "novice" I was when I arrived at 4:55 a.m. this morning to find a huge line of cars waiting to get into the Best Buy parking lot. Then probably the longest line I've ever seen, outside of getting tickets to see Garth Brooks back in 1996. It stretch for what seemed like forever. They even had state troopers there to help them control the crowd and it looked like people camped out there for quite a while. Left behind & broken chairs, blankets and "WaWa" coffee cups were littered everywhere.
It was at the point of fruitlessly getting in line that I realized, that I'd likely not be getting the computer or even the digital video camera I was considering. Upon entering the store, I knew immediately this was a useless endeavor. It was literally a mad house and all those jokes about putting on hockey gear to shop - you needed it there.
I know that stores want to do this to bring in the customers and to get them to buy something else. They do take a big hit on margins with these insane deals, and hope to make it up with ad ons of accessories and warranties. That's the way it works.
However, I know I saw at least 100 people walking out in total disgust with nothing in their hands, muttering how annoyed they were with Best Buy. I do know if they hadn't sold out of the computer I wanted and the video camcorder - they would have made more sales from me. Instead, they just totally annoyed me and gave me a very negative opinion of Best Buy - along with reaffirming my goal this year I made before I saw that ad - to buy ALL of my Christmas gifts online.
I can tell you now, it'll be a long while before I go back to Best Buy or order from them online. I was one of those customers Best Buy craves - a repeat who went to them first to buy electronics & accessories over their competitors. I wonder if having this sale will be worth the bad worth of mouth that will be spreading like wildfire, and loosing their "favored" customers.
Next year.... If I even mutter anything related to going out on Black Friday shopping, just whisper "Best Buy" in my ear and I'll get set straight. Now... off to D.C.! ;)