Black Friday baffles me. I canâ€™t imagine getting up at the crack of dawn to stand in line outside of Best Buy, and I consider myself a thrifty shopper. Iâ€™m just not that committed, and thatâ€™s what Black Friday at Best Buy requires: commitment. Think about it. You probably would need camping chairs, blankets, snacks. Maybe a tent and a group of people to take shifts, and a deck of cards would not hurt either. The prize is that 40-inch flat screen that you could get for $179.99. Doesnâ€™t that sound like a sweet deal?
I guess it does, but Â I just donâ€™t think it is worth 164 hours of my time. Thatâ€™s how long a family from California spent waiting for Black Friday at a Best Buy parking lot, according to the LA Times. Thatâ€™s almost seven days.
Now, thatâ€™s commitment, and I just donâ€™t have it in me. Â I keep thinking of what I would be giving up in order to do it. What if it rained? Who would feed my cats? Would I have to take time off work? What if I worked a full-time minimum wage job? How much money would I forgo?
Well, if I took only three days off at minimum wage, I would be out $174 before taxes. Thatâ€™s almost the cost of that flat screen. Of course, I could consider it a vacation. Â The family in that LA Times article does. I imagine how I would break it to my significant other. Iâ€™d probably say, â€œHoney, I have a surprise for you. You always said you wanted to go camping. So, letâ€™s camp out at La Cantera. I hear Best Buy has a 40-inch flat screen for $179.99.â€ There is no initial response. Choice expletives follow.
Pondering the wait time is bad enough, but thatâ€™s not the worst. No, the worst part of Black Friday would be the people who go nuts for a $2 waffle iron. Â If youâ€™re wondering whether people would actually do that, donâ€™t wonder. It happened last year, at a Walmart in Arkansas. Gawker called it the Great Black Friday Two-Dollar Waffle Iron Riot.
Although 2012 was tame by comparison, Black Fridayâ€™s track record for incidents is pretty solid in my mind, especially because now anyone with a phone can record egregious behavior and post it on YouTube. Thatâ€™s how I learned about the Black Friday pepper spray over Xbox scuffle of 2011. This year, though, Â the scariest incident I read about involved a line cutter, fisticuffs and a concealed firearm, properly licensed. Yikes!
For all of these reasons, I prefer Cyber Monday. I donâ€™t have room for a 40-inch flat screen anyway, but I can always use some new T-shirts emblazoned with quirky pop culture references.
Happy holidays, everyone! See you next year.
Cyanara Medina is a visiting professor in the department of communication.