Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In One Store & Out the Other: My Black Friday

1932 Great Depression
It's 2010 and I'm about to compare the competitive shopping we all so lovingly refer to as Black Friday to the bread lines of the Great Depression. I feel I've earned the right, somewhat, because I've just been through Hell and back over the Thanksgiving weekend.

2010 Black Friday Lines

I was in line because of the economic fallout but not because I was starving to death. That's probably the only distinction between bread lines and Black Friday. However, I can imagine that the bread lines included much of the types of stampeding that my group encountered. We not only had a group behind us targeting us for some type of whack-o hatred because they weren't sure if they would get their reduced price TV, we were also offered $100 to allow someone to stand in line with us since we were the first 40 in Target's line. My sister was run over by a cart and called a bitch and I couldn't get past a crazy girl to get out of the store without the evil eye and having to suffer getting my face fake sneezed on. Next year I'm avoiding Target's bread line at all costs. One of my group was offered $100 for his TV because he got the last one. We were shewing people away like flies. Hell, I didn't even know what a Sing-a-ma-jig was until I got the "Golden Ticket" to buy one. Do I need an exclusive holiday Sing-a-ma-jig that costs $14.95? No. But I was one of 50 people who got a ticket so I of course I bought it, that's part of the excitement of Black Friday--I might get something someone else won't. I've decided Black Friday should just be called the Bread Line Experiment.

My Black Friday Group at Target

I still maintain that I would rather go stand in store lines for hours than query during the holidays but that's only because at the end of the day I have the opportunity to get one over on the stores. I get to beat them at their game. I stood in line for hours and finally paid what I consider reasonable prices for toys and whatnots for my three kids and extended family.

In some ways the experience is a lot like querying. I got all the same stomach churning excitement out of the final few minutes before the doors opened at ToysRUs as I do when I get ready to hit send on a query. In those moments before I get in the store I wonder if I'm actually going to get the hot toy before someone else, or if I'm just going to come out of the whole night feeling dejected and insecure based on the comments of some stupid asshole grouped up in the line behind me. I have to put those negative thoughts behind me and remember who I'm there for, my kids. Okay, my bank account. I can get the toys in advance at a premium (or regular price but I consider it a premium) and still make my kids happy, but I feel so much better when I know I can buy $1,149 worth of toys for $552 (I saved 50% at ToysRUs, sure my cart was filled with items for my whole group but still, I saved over $500 on toys).

Now I just have to figure out how to feel as upbeat when I query. I need a way to remind myself of how I can get rid of those insecure thoughts, that feeling of panic that I might have screwed up and put the wrong agent's name in the body of the letter, or that someone else could write my story better. I guess I'll just have to remember what I go through on Black Friday and think querying is a cake walk in comparison (even if the result feels more personal than professional).

Me in front of ToysRUs Black Friday
  • Number of stores hit inside of 16 hours: 6
  • Michaels: Opened 4:30pm -
    • Wait time: Virtualy none.
  • ToysRUs:  Opened 10:00pm -
    • Wait time: Outside--5 hours (4th group in line or #13-17)
    • Inside checkout line--Approximately 30 minutes.
  • Target:  Opened 4:00am -
    • Wait time: 4 hours (had a place holder in line up to 2 hours earlier, #40-45).
    • Inside checkout time: 2 hours in line.
  • Best Buy: Opened at 4am -
    • No wait, in and out because we didn't get out of Target until after 6am.
  • GameStop: Opened at 5am -
    • No wait. In and out because of Target.
  • ToysRUs: Second round started at 5am. In and out.
  • ToysRUs: Third round. Went back at 9pm on Friday.
Woke up at 6am on Thursday, went to bed at 8:45am on Friday.

This post is a follow-up to Not Me, I Won't Query.



  1. So happy for you Pat, after what you've been through you are smart and bold enough to find some positives from the experience. Yes, send in that Query!

  2. So what are you gona do with that sing a ma jig? I would have turned around and sold it right then.

    I already heard most of this story but Im still impressed you saved that much at ToysRus. Thats crazy!

    Im going to be preparing my query next week while Im on vacation and cant wait to start querying. I feel a lot better about my chances with SEEING. I havent made those edits yet so Ill be doing that next week too. I figure right now its too close to Christmas so I have a good month to get the edits done and my query ready.

    We can be query buddies. Haha.

  3. Ha. I was totally thinking about you during Black Friday! And before! Because...

    Earlier in the week my 16 year-old son asked if he could *do* BF with his friend and his family. I asked him if he really understood what BF was and explained it to him. YES. I discouraged him from it.

    He said he'd like to try it just once. I said okay whatever!

    So, Thursday about 7:30pm I suggested he call his friend and find out what time they'd be picking him up to go do BF. I was thinking like 3 or 4 in the morning, but my son came back and told me they would be picking him up at 8:30.

    I scrunched up my face at him and said, but you'll miss all of the great deals. Why so late?

    He shook his head and said, no mom. 8:30 tonight. They're picking me up in an hour!

    ACK! My motherly instincts kicked in and I panicked a little. I couldn't let my son go out all night long! But... I did.

    He left with them at 8:30pm and returned at 5:30am. I didn't sleep a wink.

    He had a blast and got some great deals.

    Not me.

  4. Querying sounds so much easier!
    I stuck to the internet sales and finished my shopping on Friday.

  5. I avoid Black Friday like the plaque it was named for. LOL
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  6. Thank you all for your comments. I can't blame any of you for avoiding Black Friday. If I didn't have such a great and fun group to go with, I wouldn't do it either.

    Quinn - Last year I got the ticket for a Zhu Zhu pet. I ended up selling the little maze starter kit for twice it's value on eBay only to find out that it was exactly what my daughter wanted for xmas. I had to go back out and buy another. I kept the Sing-a-ma-jig and just put it on th couch for the kids to play with over the holidays. It's actually really cute.

  7. I do Black Friday, because I think it's fun to get out in the crowds and the deals and the Christmas songs and (sometimes) the snow, but I've never done the go-early-and-stand-in-line thing. I'm too easygoing to even try to fight the crazy-eyed people.

  8. I have done the 6:00 am at Wal-Mart shopping in the past, but this year we did 5 stores (none of yours - we don't have those in our town) between 8:00 and 11:00 am - got everything we wanted, still got the early bird deals, and avoided the a$$holes. Yay!

  9. Wow! That is some serious black friday shopping. I was at my in laws. They live in a very small town. I went to Wal-Mart at midnight and my husband went back in the morning. That was about it.

    I'm also looking for someone to interview on my blog next week. Could it be you? Please ;)
    Here's my blog address. http://perfectingthecraft.blogspot.com/
    Please email me at michellemmerrill at hotmail dot com
    Thanks :)

  10. Hi, cutie! ROFL! You're so funny--but SO accurate--on comparing Black Friday to the bread lines of The Great Depression. *Shudder* I would NOT want another GD! :/

    As far as Black Friday is concerned, I hole myself in my home and celebrate my family. I don't fancy mean people, lines, and crowds! :P

    I really hope you were able to get what you needed. *HUGS* I'm sorry you experienced all that abuse.

    Btw, thanks for following my blog, you rock!

    ~Elizabeth :)

  11. This is funny. I love your profile pic too. and i seriously can't believe i forgot to follow you back! what was i thinking.

    Following now.


  12. ha ha I hope next year i shall be able to storm the stores too, Black friday is a love it or leave it thing and I love it.
    Hmmn query since I write category romance for now, i am kinda thinking maybe I dont need an agent yet, but I am really on the fence about it. I will try to query I really will cos I know agents are really helpful.