Thursday, December 2, 2010

No Shopping, but How about Desserts?!

My Black Friday experience was quite different from many others. My family and I didn't go to shopping until around 7:30pm at our local mall. My cousin worked at Aeropostale in the mall earlier that day and said that the parking lot was so full that people parked their cars on the ramp off the highway exit and walked to the mall. When I heard that I was convinced that I would not go shopping that day.

However, my family went out to eat that night and after we ate we wanted some dessert so we decided to go to the mall because they have 5 or 6 good dessert choices such as Cheryl's cookies, Cinnabon, Marble Slab Creamery, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, etc. When we arrived at the mall we were surprised that the parking lot was not much fuller than a normal night at the mall. We figured that 95% of the Black Friday shoppers had already finished with their shopping for the day, so we lucked out.

The stores were surprisingly not crowded at all as we walked by them. Many shelves and racks in every store were totally wiped clean, and several employees were beginning to take down signs advertising special deals on clothing, entertainment products, and shoe stores. The only place that was crowded in the mall was the food court. I expect that all the shoppers were getting a late dinner after a full day of shopping. We ventured into two different dessert shops, and to our surprise, there were no deals or specials on any food. We assumed that since these stores were in the mall, regardless of the fact that they sell food, they would have a sale on Black Friday. I was a bit surprised, but nonetheless, we bought what we wanted and were satisfied with our purchases.

My family was probably one of the few who went to the mall without going into any stores other than food shops, but "Black Friday" did it's job by getting us into the mall to purchase. Several other dessert suggestions were brought up before we decided on going to the mall that night. I would say that the normative influence of Black Friday pulled us in to deciding on the mall. We were curious to see the craziness and join in the fun atmosphere of the informal holiday.

My First Black Friday

I have never gone Black Friday shopping before. I've always been curious to see what it would be like after hearing crazy stories from others. This year, I stayed in Anderson for Thanksgiving so I decided to give Black Friday a shot. I decided I wasn't going to go at midnight but instead would sleep till five and then venture out. I ended going to local stores such as Old Navy, Target, Wal-Mart, Bath & Body, and Shoe Carnival.

I was not really on a mission for anything specific. I just wanted to look at what the stores had for deals and perhaps purchase some Christmas gifts if I found anything. I had no intention of spending hundreds of dollars, I merely wanted to see what it was like and the craziness I had only heard about. Well, needless to say, I think I missed most of the craziness since I went later on in the morning. However, I did see a few things. Besides the long lines, I saw people flock into Shoe Carnival right around nine o’clock when the store held a drawing for a $100 gift card. This had been advertised and obviously paid off because right before nine, the store was packed with people waiting to hear if they were chosen. Second, I was impressed with how much security was in Wal-Mart. Around every corner was a police officer or a man in a suit with an earpiece looking official. That is something I would never expect to see at a Wal-Mart. Lastly, I noticed how many people, including myself, were buying things that were not even on sale. For instance, I bought a pair of boots and a dress that were not on sale. I just happened to find them and purchase them. Black Friday is a good way to get people into the store, but once they are there, many will find things to buy even if they are not on sale.

My conclusion about Black Friday is that it is fun, but if I really want to get in on all the deals, I should probably have gone earlier to get the full Black Friday experience. This would have been especially nice for all of the doorbusters. By the time I got to most the stores, the doorbuster specials were gone. Finally, next year I should probably be more prepared and know what sales are at each store ahead of time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Tis the season for chaos! I purposefully stayed away from the madness this year due to prior experiences. Individuals transform into different people around Black Friday due for the chance to buy a product at a "discounted price."

My story of Black Friday was in Walmart. I was recruited by my friends parents to wait in line for a 42' flat screen television. In total, his parents recruited 3 friends to wait in line for various "big ticket items." This alone shows the seriousness of Black Friday and how consumers plan out days in advance to get the products that they want. There was a very high level of involvement in the decision making and was carefully planned out. I arrived at 10 p.m. the night before for a product that would go on sale at 5 a.m. the next morning. Walmart was packed with consumers frantically scurrying around like squirrels trying to find nuts.

I went to the line dedicated to the television. I was thirteenth in line, and they had a total of 35 televisions. Luckily the line where I waiting was in the pillow isle. I was able to take a 2 hour nap on 4 pillows until a Walmart employee told me that I could not lay on the pillows. Many veteran consumers brought chairs and blankets with them while the rookies (me) suffered without a padded seat. The fun started when the line began to move. The story began getting very loud due to the plethora of lines all throughout the store. The chaos was due to many consumer behaviors like buying products that they may not afford any other time. The emotion of bargains and buying possibly out of your social class.

With all the chaos and time spent in line, I told myself that it wasn't worth it. I sat a cold tile floor for a television I wouldn't even get to enjoy for 20 dollars. It was a different experience that I was glad that I could see first hand... once. I can wait a few more hours or a day to do my Christmas shopping, it's just not worth it. Having a well thought out plan is the way to go for the Holiday season. Shopping within your means and looking for deals which are all around!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How a trip to the mall on Black Friday led to a slight postmodern view of masculinity (wait…what?)

Last week I went downtown Christmas shopping in Indy with my family on Black Friday. We were in Nordstrom, looking for a scarf for my cousin, Rachel. Now, I never shop at Nordstrom, to me it’s just a walk through area if I happen to park in the Circle Center garage to go out downtown. A quick observation without paying close attention, while we were looking for a scarf, I didn’t see a sharp contrast between the man and the woman sections of the store. Did each section have its own floor? I don’t remember. Were there even two section to begin with? Seriously though, everything from the lighting, to the colors, to the manikins, and yes even the sales associates all seemed to blend together androgynously. Anyway, we ended up in an area that had scarves and hats right next to some designer bags and whatever else. Close, by was a sunglass table, where I tried on a weird looking pair to show my bro for a laugh. Being a little over 50% confident I was in the women section quickly diminished after the sales associate said that most of the sunglasses were unisex. Right then I became perplexed and realized that my conventional wisdom of a department store and what it looks like and how its organized, is getting turned on its head.

This made me think of the obvious, as we talked about in class and read about in Chapter 13 of Consumer Diversity that since the advent of the term “metrosexual”, the spectrum of aesthetic sexual orientation between masculinity and femininity seems to be shrinking while at the same time becoming increasingly androgynous. Now for this to be true we are told that a metrosexual is androgynous by exhibiting a feminine trait of taking great care towards displaying a quality aesthetic appearance. Meaning masculinity is now partially defined with the trait of one not caring too much about his/her outwardly appearance.

Now lets look back at history, way before the term metrosexual was used. In the 16th through the 18th century, in the western world, men wore Powder wigs mainly as a symbol of social status. White was the most common color of powder used, giving the man an older and much wiser appearance, here by increasing his social status. That’s just one example. A skirt thirty years ago, was called a “gown”, which before the 18th century was worn by both male and females. Just look at the kilt worn by those in Scotland. A male wearing that in the U.S. might have his masculinity questioned but in Scotland it is a formal garment for men that is also used for sporting in the highland games.

My main point is that looking at the aggregate of known history and across different cultures, minus physiology behavior, there is no real objective way to display masculinity.

Cyber Monday

Now I was not one of the millions of people who woke up early or did not sleep in order to go out and get all of the amazing deals offered on Black Friday. I however did take advantage of Cyber Monday, this being the Monday following Black Friday. The best part about it was I did not have to wake up at any ridiculous hours in order to have access to the sales at the stores I want. I woke up at my normal time and began my search from the comfort of my apartment for the items I would possibly want for Christmas. Of course I went to my favorite store's site, Finishline, and boy oh boy did they have some deals for me. As well did some other of my more popular websites, I could not believe that I had never heard of this until my Junior year in college. I have always been a fan of online shopping but this is by far the best days of the year excluding Christmas of course. I had a field day yesterday with this, in the previous years I would have been one of the many Americans waiting in line on that freezing Friday morning, but thanks to Professor Colvin, I was not. With this large increase in online shopping within the past few years I do believe in the near future that Black Friday will be nothing more than a regular shopping day.

Satisficing Decision

Ah, the busy time at the end of the semester when all the projects come due, presentations are given and final exams are just around the corner. It was amid the kind of craziness this point in the semester brings about last night that I realized I once again had a need. A group I was in was giving a presentation this morning and I realized that although I had both a suit and tux in my closet, my one pair of dress shoes were at home. At this point I had a decision to make: either drive home and get them or go buy another pair. Since I had plenty of things to do last night and I did not feel like driving to Noblesville and back I decided to just go buy another pair. My pair at home is kind of old and scuffed up anyway. Let me start by saying that I am not a big fan of shoes. Sure, they are necessary sometimes but I would much rather just go barefoot whenever possible. Since that was obviously not an option, my ideal pair of dress shoes would have a thin sole and be as close to going barefoot as possible. It turns out these don’t really exist, at least in the shelves of local stores so a satisficing decision was made. I decided to go for a pair that was good enough which translated to a pair of shoes that were cheap and fit fairly well. This is one time when I deviated from my usual philosophy of buying things that are made very well and last a very long time. However, I figured since I had a pair already, two pairs would last me quite a while. I ended up stopping at payless shoe source and found a pair that were under $30 and did not have laces which I liked since dress shoe laces always seem to want to come untied easier than any other kind of shoes. After trying on a couple pairs for the correct size I made my purchase and crossed one more item off of my to-do list for the night.

And I bought them because...?

Sometimes I buy things, and then I wonder what the heck I was thinking. This was one of those times. After my graduation party, my graduation money was beginning to burn a hole in my pocket… so, I decided that I wanted to buy a new pair of shoes. One day my friend and I went to the mall so I could look around and see if there was anything I was interested in. It was summer time, and I would be going to Kings Island a lot, so I figured that maybe I would get some nice tennis shoes or something that would be comfortable to walk around in all day. Then I saw them… a huge green and purple pair of Osiris shoes sitting on display at Journey’s. I bought those dang $90 shoes. That’s right… $90… for a pair of shoes. I'm still not really sure why I thought it would be a good idea to buy those shoes.

The first time I even wore them to Kings Island, I got such ridiculous blisters on my heels that I had to wear flip flops for a few days after. So really, there was no point in keeping them. I found them to be uncomfortable and they just didn’t fit my style. They sat in my room for about a year before I finally decided that I had to do something with them. My younger sister had had her eye on them for quite some time, but since I had put so much money into them, I was afraid to just give them to her. But I figured that I would most likely never wear them again, so I just let her have them. She literally wears them to school every day, so at least my money didn’t go to waste.

For all you Mac lovers...

For all you computer lovers out there, this blog is for you. I have recently come to the realization that i am in need of a new laptop. This idea has not come from the intense WANT of a new and improved device seen in an ad. No...this comes from the fact that my current laptop is falling apart. I feel it’s my job as a respectable student to put both it and I out of our misery and move on to something better. Sort of like a laptop break up. My current laptop is a HP and I bought it my senior year of high school in preparation for college as many people do. While choosing witch brand I was going to choose, I looked to my close friends and saw that all but one had HPs (and the one is an impulsive buyer...he’s special ha).I therefore followed the obvious thought pattern that HPs must be the best buy for the money. My HP now has broken a hinge, its touch volume is defective, and now the bottom section of the screen is literally split open, but the fact about me is...I’m a frugal guy. I could get a new Mac computer and be perfectly happy with my purchase (that is the computer I want), but I would see this laptop as unused revenue in a sense. I invested a lot in buying this and its lasted 3 years...but is that really enough?

I’m currently looking into Macs to see my options. I want the simple MacBook which is priced around $999. What do I like? Well I like the 10 hour battery power (mine currently has about 1 hour), I like the overall sleekness and simplicity of the computer, I love the idea of garage band and have loved using it before, and the security of knowing viruses can’t harm your Mac computer is definitely a plus. I love talking to people about their Macs because they are so passionate about them. I would really like to own one of these computers. I’m currently trying to find a way to maybe sell my old computer for parts or some type of return on investment. If i can do that, this summer might be lookin' good

My Crazy Fascination with The Polar Express

I like all kinds of movies. I also like buying different kinds of movies, especially when I think I’m getting a good deal on one. Since I’m a pretty big fan of Christmas and some of the movies that are shown around the holiday season, I felt the need to a Christmas movie to my collection. Last year I became obsessed with the movie The Polar Express. I had watched it and really wanted to buy it. So, my motivation for finding the movie was fairly high and searching for it wasn’t really the problem. I found it at the store Half Priced Books for what I thought was a decent price: around 12-15 dollars or below. Since I wanted it so badly, I was willing to pay that amount.

Had my motivation not been so high, I might not have wanted to buy The Polar Express. Of course, I didn’t buy the movie brand new, but I was okay with that. I just really wanted the movie in my hands. I feel that this purchase was well worth it. Yes, it may be a previously viewed movie, but I have watched it a number of times. I thought I would just watch it around Christmas, making it my own little tradition, but then watching it around Christmas time turned into watching it all year long.

Although I’m extremely happy I bought The Polar Express about a year ago, some of my family and friends aren’t as excited about it. I tend to watch it more than the average person should watch any movie, really. But, at least when I watch it in the next couple of weeks, my excuse for watching it will be that it’s getting close to Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My First Black Friday

The reason for me attending Black Friday this year was kindly due to my brother-in-law, Ben. I should probably let you know that I'm a big super-hero fan. Nerdy, I know. So, with that being said, one of my favorite shows of all time is Smallville. I had all the seasons up until season 6. But since seasons are so expensive (usually around $40-$50) and I'm now having to live off of a college student budget I haven't been able to purchase a season since. However, Thursday night at Thanksgiving dinner Ben changed that by informing me that all Smallville seasons (up to season 9) were on sale at Best Buy for $10. That's when I immediately decided that I would take the plunge and take part in my first Black Friday experience.

When I got to Best Buy, it was a mad house even though it was close to 1PM. I thought I would miss the huge crowd, however I was entirely wrong. People were running this way and that. Huge carts were being pushed left and right. I was yelled to move out of the way around 6 times. The words "excuse me" were said in the most obnoxious of ways. I almost left, but then I remembered I was on a mission.

My friend, Bethany, who I dragged along with me, and I immediately headed to the DVD/Television section. I almost cried (a little over-exaggerated, but you get the point) when I saw that Smallville seasons 7, 8, and 9 were all sold out. However, as I turned the corner I saw the display and beamed. Right in front of me stood seasons 7, 8, and the very last one of season 9.

Friday I purchased three, I repeat, three seasons of Smallville for $30. It may have been one of the best days of my life. (Again, a little bit over-exaggerated)

Black Friday

So this past Black Friday I unfortunately went out shopping in the madness because my friend wanted to go out to Aurora Farms which is an outlet mall by my house. He has never been out on Black Friday and I tried to warn him that it is going to be cold, thousands of rude people, and lines out the wazoo but he still wanted to go. So my attempt to dissuade him from going out so that I did not have to failed and we went out about 11:30. The outlet mall is like 10 minutes from my house but because of traffic it took us at least 30 minutes to get there not a good start. Because the parking lot was so full at Aurora Farms we had to park in the condominiums parking lot right next to the outlets and this is where the story becomes fun! As we are walking to the outlet mall we are talking and this old lady living in the condos was standing by her open window and started yelling and cussing us out because according to her we were yelling and people were trying to sleep. She had a very "colorful" vocabulary you could say and after it was all said and done and she threatened to call the cops on us I responded with happy Thanksgiving to you too!

I should have known that was just going to be the start to an awful night and sure enough I was right there were so many people out there that it just made me sick. And the lines that I saw were easily worse then any line I have ever stood in for a roller coaster it was ridiculous! Then to make matters worse the only reason I went out was because my friend wanted to buy some Christmas gifts, but he ended up not getting anything because he did not want to wait in the lines. So I pretty must wasted my night outside getting cussed out and ran over by people when I could have been in bed sleep! So needless to say Black Friday will not be seeing CJ Holmes anytime soon at all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday!!!

This is my second year participating in black Friday. I ask myself why do I do this? Why do I decide to wake up early and compete with hundreds of other grumpy shoppers? This year was interesting because I decided to shop Walmart's midnight sale. They had several things on sale, from video games, toys, dvd's blue rays, and etc...I already have an addiction of buying Walmart's five dollar dvds, so when I heard Walmart was having a $1.96 dvd sale I had to go! I was amazed to see the number of people that were there at midnight. It was like vultures hovering around a dead animal. When midnight finally struck, we were allowed to start looking through the dvds and make our choices. I swear the lady next to me dropped like five dvds on the floor because she was in such a hurry. I was able to pick out ten movies that I wanted and was very happy with my choices. I picked up the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Bourne Trilogy, I Am Legend, i Robot, Fools Gold, and Casino Royale. I honestly probably would have bought more, but crowds make me uncomfortable especially when people are being pushy. This year I decided not to go to the 5am sale because I did not see anything I was interested in buying. My brother is a manager in electronics so I was able to get details from him on how it went. He said people were lined up well before midnight for the deals on TVs, laptops and the other major deals. He said these customers were definitely dedicated to get what they wanted, and waiting was not an issue for them. I just find black Friday interesting, so many people go crazy and do things they normally wouldn't do, just to save some money. But in the end it has to be worth it, we continue to do it year after year.