Buckeyes, WWW

Fear and Loathing on Black Friday (and screw that team up north): While We’re Waiting

Cleveland Sports

Craig asked me to write this at about 9:15 p.m., the night of Thanksgiving. At this point in my night, I had already spent four hours on a quest to find a Nintendo 3DS for my daughter for the bargain basement price of $99.99. Mind you, I had no clue how much a Nintendo 3DS cost anyways, but was assured that THIS price was something special. As of this writing, I still don’t have said Nintendo 3DS, and While You’re Reading, I’ll likely still be waiting.

Black Friday Really, REALLY sucks

I need to preface all of this with a simple fact that I’ve come to accept: I don’t like shopping. I don’t like going to malls, department stores, Big Box stores or local businesses. I hate looking for things, finding things that should be there that aren’t, or trying to make decisions to buy something when there are 100 of those things there. I DO like finding the two or three people at said stores that are on my side, and ripping on the entire experience with them, but past that, shopping really sucks.

When I want to buy anything, I try like hell to find it online for as cheap as possible, but if I can’t, I spend weeks researching, come up with exactly what I want, find the exact store that has it, and get in and out as fast as I can. Christmas shopping is never an issue, because I know exactly what the kids want.

And then there’s Black Friday, which is really more like “Black…Thursday, or perhaps Wednesday,” but more than likely “Black Week before Friday,” except it’s not really “Black Week before Friday,” they just throw that out there so people pay attention.

Of course, I don’t.

So when both of my kids filled out their Christmas lists, as they do every Thanksgiving afternoon, I didn’t feel any pressure to have to go shopping on Black Friday, or Black Thursday, or Black Week before Friday, or whatever the hell it’s called now. Normally, I get the list, figure out what stuff the grandparents will get, and go about online shopping for the rest of it.


Except it wasn’t.

My wife noticed that my daughter had written “Nintendo 3DS,” with not one, not two, but THREE plus signs next to it. That means she really wants it. I mean REALLY WANTS IT. Before I could get out, “alright, Amazon time,” my wife stepped in. “The Walmart ad said they have the 3DS for $99.99, and that’s $50.00 cheaper than the regular price!”

Maybe I was still recovering from the Tryptophan, or just tired from laying around watching parades and football, but I didn’t say no. I didn’t argue. I didn’t say, “it’ll be online.” I just said, “Okay.”

It was 4:00 p.m.

At 5:00 p.m., with all the Turkey and fixings packed away into the fridge, and with a stomach full of pumpkin pie, we were off to Walmart for what I thought would be a quick trip. I mean, who buys Nintendos anymore, amirite? That’s what I was seriously thinking.


As we walked drove into the Walmart parking lot, I immediately realized three things:

  1. There were a lot of people there.
  2. All these people would be guerrilla shopping.
  3. This wasn’t going to take five minutes.

But I was on a mission at that point. There was no way I was going to waste more time than I had to for a stupid Nintendo 3DS. But, I was there. I was committed. I was going to win.

And in the end, that’s what Black Friday is all about, right? It’s who’s going to win the battle. Who’s going to get the things they want, or need, or don’t need…first. It was a race, and I was intent on winning. I walked right in, right up to the Walmart door greeters (there were seven), and said, “Nintendo 3DS, where are they?” Without missing a blink, all seven greeters pointed in seven different directions. They paused when they realized this, conferred, then said, almost collectively, “electronics.”

I hope you’re picturing a completely blank Jim Pete face, because that’s what they got.

“Thanks,” I said, remembering that there were more important things at hand other than trying to explain to the seven greeters that I, indeed, understood that the 3DS was a piece of electronic equipment. I moved on, with the tsunami of people that all heard the word “electronics” as a cattle call. I suddenly knew what the Running of the Bulls must be like.

In the meantime, I’d lost my wife, and I feared the worst. I’ve seen plenty of running of the bulls videos. I wasn’t sure I’d ever see her again.

Big Savings for Big Fans at Fanatics.comAs the throngs of people swept me to the electronics department, I noticed an employee being shoved right along with me, a few feet to my right, and took this opportunity to focus my search.

“Excuse me, do you know where the Nintendo 3DSs are in the store, and for the record, I know that they are electronics, but want to make sure they aren’t anywhere else, or that I have to wait in a line for them.”

She laughed and said, “Nope, you won’t have to wait for them. Just head over to the games, and the cabinet will be unlocked. Go ahead and grab whatever you need.”

I was home free.

This was too easy.

And I was getting a free ride to the electronics department to boot!

On the way back, I noticed lots of racks and boxes and stacks of everything you could possible imagine, and people just grabbing everything they could, almost without even looking. I watched a lady grab, in succession, a pack of underwear, socks, wireless earbuds, a DVD player, an art kid, a Black and Decker wireless drill, and a 24-pack of candles.

As I started pondering what someone could do with all of those thinks while stranded on a deserted island, I jumped out of the herd, and straight into the video game section of the store. There, before me, were the 3DS’s. The moment was placed before me, and my night was over…

…well…other than losing my wife, who was possibly trampled.

I grabbed the first 3DS I saw, and was off, and realized that the price tag said $179.99. The one next to it said the same thing, and the one next to that was some sorta crazy bundle. I grabbed all three, and headed to the checkout line, only now, going against the hordes of people, who all looked as though they were running from a fire, and straight towards me.

But I played football, and this wasn’t going to stop me. I sidestepped into the women’s clothing department, dodged around a rack of fuzzy leprechaun adult onesies (!?!?), squeezed between two endcaps of MASH and Little House on the Prairie videos, hopped back into the masses, did two complete spins to avoid carts full of butterfly chairs (?) and pillows (??), and ended up right in front of the video game register, with my three different versions of my 3DS.

She quickly said, “Those aren’t the ones that are on sale, these are,” and pointed to a box of about ten, sitting on the rack behind her.

“Oh, okay, I’ll take one of those then,” I said confidently. “Don’t worry,” I chuckled to her, “I’ll be able to weave back and put these away, and be back to pay for the game before you know it!” Now it was her turn to laugh. She pointed the opposite way from which I’d come and said, “That’s the line for electronics,” and I realized that much of the flock of Walking Dead that had barged in to Walmart with me, were way ahead of me.

Standing in front of me were at least 100 people, hunting for electronics, and I was confident, were all going to buy a 3DS.

I decided to go all in. “Look, I’ll spot you a $10 spot if you give me one right now.” She laughed, as though it were illegal to bribe a Walmart employee on Black Friday, or kinda Grey Thursday. “Nope,” she whispered, “I could never do that. You HAVE to get in line.”


This is when I saw my wife for the first time, alive and well, but as grateful as I was, I now had someone to blame. “I TOLD YOU IT WAS IN ELECTRONICS, AND THAT WE HAD TO GO WAIT IN LINE.”

I lied, but that’s what you do in Walmart, on Thanksgiving Day, while you were fighting thousands of people for a game you had never heard of in your life prior to that afternoon. “WE NO HAVE TO WAIT IN THIS LINE, FOR THESE TEN GAMES!”

My wife shook her head, and started walking back to the end of the line, which was weaving in and out of aisles like Barry Sanders (the Detroit Lions running back, not Bernie Sanders, the NON Detroit Lions running back) avoiding death behind the worst offensive line in football.

This wasn’t going to end well.

There was no way in hell I was going to wait in this line, so I decided to start interviewing the folks in front of me, to see if I could count 10 people who wanted that damn Nintendo. After 10 people, eight said they were, and I still had at least 40 people in front of them.

The Walmart quest was over.

Big Savings for Big Fans at Fanatics.com

I contemplated just spending the extra $80, but when I asked the clerk behind the electronics counter where to pay for it, she said, “you have to pay for it here.”

As we walked out the front door, failures, we decided that the night was new, and that there were other stores to peruse. Target, Best Buy, Game Stop…the possibilities were endless.

Three hours later, with the bounce in our step gone, we had only managed to buy the Blue Ray of John Wick and the regular version of The Equalizer, so we had something to do when we got home.

I’m watching John Wick right now.

Pretty good.

The rest of the night? Not so much.

But don’t worry. By the time you’ve read this, I’ll have slept for three hours, gotten up, and done it all over again. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

By the way, if any of you have an extra Nintendo 3DS lying around, I know a guy…

We don’t give a damn for the whole state of…

I can’t make it out of this WWW without mentioning the big game tomorrow. When THE Ohio State University plays that team up north, everything else stops. It won’t be any different this Saturday, with so much at stake for both schools.

But that’s really not what this is about. What is about is pure hate. I hate that school. I hate that team. I hate that coach. I hate the glasses he wears, and the up-to-his-chin khakis, and their muskrat mascot. I hate that Jabril Peppers gets more press than Curtis Samuel, who’s the better player. I hate that people try to talk sense to me about statements like that Samuel statement.

This is the big game. THIS IS THE GAME. I hate that team. They hate us. I try and not say that team name, they fail to say the word “state.” They’re morons, we aren’t. That’s just the way it works.

That’s why I bet a senior in high school who was a misguided fan of that other team that the loser had to eat a Sport Magazine article proclaiming that team in crap blue to be the better of the two. I was in seventh grade.

He lost. He ate, when half the wrestling team forced him too, after that lily-livered idiot refused.*

There’s no sense in this rivalry. There’s none. That’s the point.

Ohio State’s just the better team…always. Tomorrow will be no different.

Screw *ichigan.

The fantastic site, Eleven Warriors, put out a nice hype video the other day. We’ll end with that.

Have a great weekend everybody.


*I let him use ketchup, and salt and pepper. He refused.