Black Friday’s Matter

I’ve been putting off buying a new television set for about year. We have an old plasma screen that has about 50 horizontal black lines running through it making it tough to view a program. There are some good deals going on right now, but my Black Friday matters to me. I know if I go out and buy a new TV, I will spend the entire day putting it up on the wall. Not that it’s a difficult task, but because I know that something will go wrong or I will be missing one step in the instructions and will have to start from the beginning. I also don’t want to fight traffic and constantly bump into people all day long. I can expend an entire days worth of extrovert energy with one trip to Best Buy on Black Friday. I could just stay home and feast on Thanksgiving leftovers all day, or I could get some exercise by increasing my heart rate by igniting all the anxiety triggers in my brain. American Life is tough.

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Amazon.com is your new rude roommate

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We invited Amazon Echo and Alexa into our homes about a year ago. But now, Amazon wants to have a key to our home? Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy the novelty of Alexa, but out of nowhere we get a weather update or notice that she’s having trouble finding something. Amazon wants to listen in and interrupt when they see fit. They also want to barge in and drop your delivery of toilet paper inside your door so that thieves won’t get it. If you going to deliver toilet paper, just bring it all they way to bathroom.

I can see why, but don’t think it’s necessary for Amazon to have lock and key entry into my home. Of course I also didn’t think I needed 2 day shipping for a yearly fee. I also didn’t need a robot listening to my television and record “breaking bad” dialog into my NSA file, but here we are. I’m letting it happen. Before long Amazon will just ship stuff to my house in anticipation of my needs. Yeah, serious about the bathroom toilet paper deliver. Maybe by drone?

How to yard sale

  • Bring large bills and pay for .50 cent items. Get a possible freebie because no one can change a $100
  • Ask for small bills as change to wipe out their supply for other shoppers
  • Automatically cut 50 to 75% off their asking price
  • Look into the garage and ask about pricing for things that are not labeled or obviously for sale. Bikes, pets, water heaters, etc
  • Gain access to the house, come out one of the doors asking how much for the tub
  • Try to purchase one of their vehicles.
  • Request items like “needle nose pliers”, if they don’t have any for sale ask. “Well, why not?”
  • Bring a few shovels and start uprooting their sod. It is after all a “yard sale”

No restroom for men…

So I went to a store and had to use the toilet. To my surprise, there was only a “Family” and a woman’s restroom. My family wasn’t with me, so I had to use the woman’s restroom, no other choice.

It’s not the first time I’ve used a woman’s toilet. I was interviewing for a job and was exhausted from the long flight and uncomfortable hotel bed. After my lunch with the recruiter I met my sister at Sam’s club to buy some snacks. I stopped off at the bathroom first and wondered why there were no urinals. I picked a stall next to someone who was sitting. I stood up to pee as normal. As I walked out I did a double take as I saw the “Men’s” sign as I exited the Woman’s restroom. My sister was doubled over in laughter, but I’m sure the lady that was still in the toilet was just as confused as I was.

Small carts = big prices

It’s subtle, but stores that offer the smaller carts usually have higher prices. Warehouse stores that offer the large carts serve a purpose for bulk loading. When you enter a store and see that the little cart is the only option then walk away. Smaller carts are easier to push but you can’t put as much in them, so the store will jack up their prices so that you can’t carry too many of their items to your home. I’ve noticed these carts at: Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, and now PetSmart.

How to check out faster at a store

Typically humans will form a queue if there are multiple registers open. The term first in first out (or FIFO) comes to mind. However there are people who subscribe to the LIFO life (Last in first out). LIFO is our natural inclination, we are self-centered creatures and have our own interests in mind. So when someone bypasses the established queue, simply give them a reminder they’re not the only person in the store or on the planet.

For instance, this evening I was checking out at a sporting goods store and approached the register. At first I thought the checkout was empty until I saw the queue of four people waiting for the first available cashier. I took my place in the queue. As my turn approached a person jumped in front of me and began to place their items on the counter. The cashier said nothing. A person behind me said passive aggressively “Some people don’t know where the line starts”.  I kept walking and politely informed the lady that the line started (I pointed in the direction of the 5 people behind me). She said something like “she didn’t see the line”. I replied, “Yeah, it’s right over there”.

A queue makes sense if you are in a busy store that’s understaffed. It’s the faster way to check out. The only problem is the person who starts the queue has to enforce it for the second person who arrives. You have to space yourself at the just the right position between both registers. It helps the register are within close proximity.

Force Friday

Whatever happened to letting kids buy toys. I took my children shopping for Star Wars toys this evening and the shelves were empty. I can only assume that grown men and women went to buy the toys earlier and are now selling them on eBay for profit.

I know it’s fun to purchase “Hard-to-find items” but let the kids have a shot. If you really want one of each item then buy an entire case from entertainmentearth.com and let the children experience shopping for new toys rather than looking at a barren wasteland of potential Star Wars happiness.

I don’t know if this happens but retailers should split the toy shipment into two pieces. Set aside half of the shipment for the people who stand in line at midnight. Then the other shipment for people who have to work and have children who may want a few toys.

Yes, I’m just bitter that I didn’t get any new toys.