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Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences

by Diane Harrison / November 26, 2004 1:29 AM PST

I am snickering as husband and child are heading out the door to Sears in the mall to get "the great deals" the day after Thanksgiving. You couldn't get me out there in the mall with a shotgun! Okay, I'll admit I was tempted by the computer store ads (512 MB USB keychain for $9.99), but then I had violent flashbacks to the Terrible Morning of the Furbies.

Yes, ToysRUs is the reason I run and hide when the mention of post-Turkey Day shopping is mentioned. We were in quest of a sale of Furbies that dreadful year when I was talked into doing a 3 a.m. trek to ToysRUs for the 6 a.m. opening. Limit 200 people allowed to get a max of 2 each on the insipid talking toys. In addition to freezing in 37 degree F weather, fights broke out in the line as people tried to take cuts, and carloads of thugs arrived trying to break in and take cuts through intimidation. It was humanity at its worst.

And that was only outside of the store! Inside was pure chaos. People raced like their lives depended on it to get to aisles with certain toys. Calls for medical assistance (run over fingers on children, minor fights, falling stock from top shelves hitting people, etc.) were announced over the p.a. periodically. Tussles broke out between supposed adults, over the last toy on the shelves. It was truly ugly.

And then, of course, the lines at the cash registers went from a two hour checkout time to far longer when Murphy's Law came into full force and effect and the computerized credit card and ATM confirmation machines went nuts and died.

Parents refused to leave the checkout liines for fear of starting all over again when their youngsters had to go to the bathroom. I heard the words, "Just hold it!!!" spoken more times than I can recall. And then we'd hear, "Cleanup at Register ___" when those instructions failed to take.

I can't help but think that many a child ended up thinking that the Furbies that year came programmed with swear words by the end of that day. So, no more insanity shopping days for me. I will stay home and gladly clean my house while my husband tries to remember where he parked his car after he flees the mall, patience exhausted (his maximum tolerance for ANY shopping on any given day is 20 minutes, so this ought to be very interesting).

What are your best and worst shopping experiences? And how many of you dared brave the stores today?

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Re: Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences
by Josh K / November 26, 2004 2:37 AM PST

I watched the news footage of people lined up outside stores at 4 AM and laughed. Haven't these people heard of the Internet??

And one clip was one of those "only in New York" moments. The film crew was at Macy's Herald Square store and as one woman walked past the camera, she covered her face like she was doing the perp walk or something. I figure either she was planning to shoplift or had some outstanding warrants, LOL.

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Re: Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences
by Diane Harrison / November 26, 2004 2:54 AM PST

That is too funny with that woman covering her face!!! I'm sure the store security people are going nuts today trying to keep an eye on things. I believe it was Arkansas, from what the news said, but one of the clips they had of a mall opening this morning with all the folks lined up outside, had one woman going down, falling and nearly being trampled, with her friends yelling for her to get up or she'd be seriously hurt by the crush. How stupid is that for people to behave that way?!!

The news commentaries here said that EBay and other on-line companies are faring poorly this year compared to stores. People want to actually SEE the item, and they only use the on-lines to comparison shop and to check the ratings on things. The one exception they mentioned is Overstock.com, which while all the other stores (except Kmart out here) were closed yesterday, they had record hits from yesterday to early this morning.

I was very surprised to see the prices in the- hmm, what are they called - pull-outs? or throw-aways? sections. Very good prices compared to normal pre-Christmas nonsense this year. The shopping analysts are saying this is the year of the personal luxury items. Things like jewlery and watches are big this year.

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Re: Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences
by Cindi Haynes / November 26, 2004 3:43 AM PST

Hi Diane,

My worst was the time I actually went to a store between Thanksgiving and Christmas! My best is any time I get it done before then, or else the satisfying click of the mouse on the "submit order" button.

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My first ever.....
by lylesg / November 26, 2004 10:23 AM PST

early bird shopping experience was this very day.

Item- Kodak dig. cam. 4 Mg, 4X optical zoom. SRP-$299.00. Sale price $149.00 between the hours of 6am-12pm.

Retailer- Best Buy

Arrived at site-5:30am

Waiting line- Approx. 300-400 ft. long.

Weather- Moderately cold

Intestinal fortitude- I lined up at the rear.

Experience- Fantabulous! Best Buy had a dozen or so employees working the line and handing out tickets for items insuring the holder of a ticket (s) a purchase of the listed item. They decided to open early due to the large turn out (approx. 5:40am). I moved rapidly toward the entrance and as I entered the bldg., I heard one employee tell another ? we are near 375 people ?. I assume that was the occupant limit for the store. Another employee yelled out ?no pushing or shoving folks!?. I was disappointed at that statement because my forearms and elbows were already in position. Shucks! I then made my way to the dig. cam?s. I handed an employee my ticket, he handed me my camera and then told me I could pay for it right there. I swiped my debit card, got my receipt and hit the road with a nice buy on a dig. camera for my daughter and son-n-law (let me rephrase that one?the wife?s son-n-law.) Ha! Whew.......... and I am the one who always picks the longest check out line and I never find a parking spot within five hundred feet of the store at which I wish to shop. This was a good day. Happy

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Re: Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences
by Steven Haninger / November 26, 2004 10:46 AM PST

It's not just the shopping. It's coming home and spending more time copying receipts, cutting up boxes for the UPC labels, filling out all those cursed rebate forms and addressing all those envelopes because nothing is just on sale!!! Whew..I feel better. Happy

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Re: Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences
by MKay / November 27, 2004 3:13 AM PST

I like the way Best Buy gives you any extra receipt for any item that needs a register receipt for a rebate and specifically for that item. Really a big help.

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Re: Let's hear your worst and best shopping experiences
by James Denison / November 28, 2004 1:49 PM PST

Best experience was about 5 years ago, managing to get 3 of the $10 special Microtek scanners at Best Buy. Whole family outside in the cold, big rush upon opening and worry that we might not get everything we came for. We managed to get most of it. Seems most people were there for the complete computer sets and specials on television sets and VCR's. DVD was not the big thing then like it is now.

The next year we did the same thing, it was colder, and the bargains weren't as good. Thankfully they started handing out tickets on limited items, starting at the front of the line moving backward to see who was there for the bigger sale items. People were quick to point out who had cut into the line and didn't deserve a ticket. Yep, almost a few fights, mostly words from disappointed line cutters.

After we returned home I heard from others who had been at the Walmart there had been line fights. The next year Walmart had hired cops to keep it orderly.

People are crazy this time of year. My teens did the early after Thanksgiving thing this year. All went smoothly for them.

These stores need to ALWAYS have some people out there maybe an hour before opening the doors to monitor the line and keep order, preferably some rent a cops, or actual police.

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The worst was when I was single. I used to start shopping
by Kiddpeat / November 28, 2004 3:00 PM PST

on Christmas Eve when the stores were jammed, and I usually lost the car.

The better was after I got married. My wife got all the presents, so I just had to shop for her (still on Christmas Eve).

The best was/is shopping on the net. Click submit...

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