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Can anybody tell me the cultural background for this annual stampede?

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  • Can anybody tell me the cultural background for this annual stampede?

    Never heard of it anywhere else but in America.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...home-headlines

    Why do people decide they just HAVE to shop on the first day? Is there an insufficient supply or something?
    "En wat als tijd de helft van echtheid was, was alles dan dubbelsnel verbaal?"

  • #2
    Many stores will have one-day, or even early-bird just for the few hours, sales on many usually expensive gifts. TVs and DVD players are common sellouts. "Black Friday", as its usually called, sets the forecasts for the Christmas money season, so a lot of stores go all out. If you can brave the hellish crowds, you usually can get great to good deals on your Christmas shopping.

    And thus you get situations where 200 people rush a 50 unit display for a price that'll expire in 3 hours. Also, we're fucking nitwits, which doesn't help.

    Locally, I can confirm 3 tramples and 4 right outside the store muggings, 2 of which were XBox 360s and the previous owners got beat up rather heavily. That's pretty much the whole NY Hudson Valley area represented. No victims were elderly, but it was close. Anyone else care to share their un-holiday horrors of the hour?
    Last edited by Radhil; 11-26-2005, 11:20 AM.
    Radhil Trebors
    Persona Under Construction

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    • #3
      I'd say Radhil's got it right about the nitwit part. All too much emphasis seems to be placed on sales on 'black Friday' and so many of the stores advertise 'loss leaders' in order to entice people to shop as early as possible. The theory is to get them into the store and hopefully get more items sold than just the advertised specials. From what I've read, there are formulas that stores use to calculate how much more a customer will spend the longer s/he stays in the store which explains why the stores also put the specials in unusual places so the customer has to pass lots of merchandise to get what they want.

      I see people planning out their shopping on that day like generals planning to invade a small country and soemtimes it's pretty stupid. One person where I worked was going to camp out in front of a store to buy a camera that was advertised at $88. This wasn't some high-end camera worth $400, though. The regular price for the silly thing was $119. For $30 this person was willing to spend hours of discomfort?

      Me, I'll shop online, thanks.

      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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      • #4
        Our big day up here in Canada is Boxing Day. That's when a lot of big stores put on huge sales with great savings. People will camp outside of these stores waiting for them to open. Sometimes the sales are bigger than at Christmas.
        Joan

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        • #5
          Has anybody seen the clip from yesterday yet, in which one poor woman was knocked to the ground when the doors opened and lost her wig? While people poured into the store around her, she had to piece together as much dignity as possible and put her wig back in place. As bizarre and amusing a sight as it was, I coudn't help feeling sorry for the woman, as that clip will probably play again and again for years.

          Because I've spent the holidays in the UK for the past decade or so, most of my relatives get their Christmas presents when I see them at Thanksgiving. It removes an awful lot of pressure and makes Christmas a lot more enjoyable.

          And by the way, if Circuit City advertises a sale on laptops for $200 and promises at least 15 per store, don't most people realize that means only 15 per store? And if there are 150 people waiting outside the door, that basically means you've only got a one in ten chance of getting one? It just seemed so obvious to me.

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          • #6
            In high school I worked in a bargain store and at Christmas the hours were extended to 9 pm. on a Saturday. I missed out on a lot of parties or hanging out with my friends but I tried to make up for it by watching those nitwits fight over the last polyester sweatshirt with an iron-on Santa, or argue over the last unopened box of Christmas underpants, all the while listening to the speakers play "Joy to the World" or "White Christmas" again, and again, and again......

            Oh yeah, those were fun times! I miss those days (not)
            Flying around the room under my own power.

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            • #7
              And by the way, if Circuit City advertises a sale on laptops for $200 and promises at least 15 per store, don't most people realize that means only 15 per store? And if there are 150 people waiting outside the door, that basically means you've only got a one in ten chance of getting one? It just seemed so obvious to me.
              If anyone does figure it out, they just camp out earlier.

              And the stores have figured it out, and have 135 laptops at the $400 mark ready and waiting.
              Radhil Trebors
              Persona Under Construction

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              • #8
                ... Black Friday shopping is a tradition. I remember going out with friends and fighting the crowds at the mall... It was a nightmare.

                ... Now I see clips of people beating on one another for cheap Play Stations, and trampling a pregnant woman someplace to get into a Wallmart....

                ... Very sad.

                ... Black Friday shopping totals used to be a decent economic indicator - how much people would spend in that one day was analyzed by various economists, who released reports... which would be reported in the news...

                ... Now, no doubt, the Chinese are looking at those reports with equal interest (Wallmart, etc..), and the Sony Corporation is undoubtedly very interested as well.

                ... Beating each other up to buy junk made by virtual slaves in Chinese factories . . . Happy Holidays.
                "I think I'll pass on the tuna, thanks."

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                • #9
                  Growing up in one of the most dangerous cities in America, I have heard many stories over the years about muggings in the early morning hours. My ex-girlfriend's mom and aunt would be out at 05:00 every year, but with guns in their purses. For defensive purposes, not to mug...

                  Me? It's just not worth it. These people are no better than the buffoons who camp out for six months just to be the first in line for the next Star Wars movie. Shit, I was asleep until 09:00 on Friday...
                  Recently, there was a reckoning. It occurred on November 4, 2014 across the United States. Voters, recognizing the failures of the current leadership and fearing their unchecked abuses of power, elected another party as the new majority. This is a first step toward preventing more damage and undoing some of the damage already done. Hopefully, this is as much as will be required.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jan
                    Me, I'll shop online, thanks.

                    Jan
                    The cool thing is that some of the black friday deals are available online as well and there are several sites out there dedicated to letting you know about the deals. Hot Deals is one example of this. I managed to get a 19" lcd monitor for $150 (after rebate) because of it.
                    ---
                    Co-host of The Second Time Around podcast
                    www.benedictfamily.org/podcast

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the info people. It surprises me somewhat that it mainly confirms my initial suspicions : that this is a marketing-induced frenzy that the shops have turned into some sort of annual tradition. Am I right so far?


                      BTW : I haven't heard of similar stampedes in the Netherlands but we do have these sort of sales every now and then. Perhaps the Dutch are a bit to much down-to-earth to go and stand in line for a toaster. But on the other hand; last week the shops did open at midnight so they could flog the new H. Potter, and Robbie Williams' concerts were sold out in under an hour.
                      "En wat als tijd de helft van echtheid was, was alles dan dubbelsnel verbaal?"

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                      • #12
                        And I did absolutely no holiday shopping last Friday. I guess I am just out of touch with society.
                        "Ivanova is God!"

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                        • #13
                          Or poor.....
                          "En wat als tijd de helft van echtheid was, was alles dan dubbelsnel verbaal?"

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                          • #14
                            One of the jobs I've had was in retail. I've worked 2 day after Thanksgivings, and skipped my third one. Aside from enjoying spending time with my family at Grandma's, any special meaning the holidays might have had for me has literally disappeared. One of the joys of working retail.
                            RIP Coach Larry Finch
                            Thank you Memphis Grizzlies for a great season.
                            Play like your fake girlfriend died today - new Notre Dame motivational sign

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Towelmaster
                              Thanks for all the info people. It surprises me somewhat that it mainly confirms my initial suspicions : that this is a marketing-induced frenzy that the shops have turned into some sort of annual tradition. Am I right so far?
                              I think you've got it about right. People take comfort in traditions and it's truly amazing what they will adopt for traditions. For some people it seems like they go for a perverse thrill in telling people afterwards how hellish it was. Others seem to like to go to people watch. Quite a few are looking for the deals. I'm not sure how the deal thing works out since I hate crowds too much.
                              "That was the law, as set down by Valen. Three castes: worker, religious, warrior."

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