Black Friday Story

charlie chip

So, last Thanksgiving, I fell asleep early. Surprise!

I woke up about 1:00 AM, and everyone was asleep. This is a perfect opportunity to get on my new mac mini computer, so I get on. While I’m on, I had the idea that I need some memory and that I should clean up some of my email. I notice a Fry’s ad in my email. Hmmm.

1 day only

Hmmm. I look at the deals. Hmmm! I do need another Linksys WRT54g, and it’s on sale! Hey, my wife needs a new printer, they have an HP Color Inkjet for $20 (no rebate!)! Hey, check out that firewire 160gig drive for $40 in an external metal case!! Wow.

Ok, when does Fry’s open. 5 AM. Uh.. ok, I’ll go!

I wait.

Its 4:50 AM as I’m sneaking into my room to grab some clothes and Aiden wakes up and asks where I’m going. I say I’m going to Fry’s. He says, “I want to go!” I don’t know why. He has never been there.

5:20 AM, we’re cruising down 101 to the Palo Alto Fry’s. We hear on the Radio that the one in So Cal is on record as being a ‘mad-house’.

5:30 AM. We get there. Wow! There is no parking in the entire parking lot! We cruise around a few times. It is also raining. We find a spot from a guy in a BMW who is out of there.

We’re in. First we go wait in line for the Firewire drive. They already brought a palet of the Hitachi drives out and people almost tackled the guy delivering them. He kept shouting above them with his 6′ 3″ voice, “there are MORE palets in the back, don’t worry!” The palet is emptied in under a minute of drives. These were the 80 gig drives that were essentially $0 after the 2 or 3 rebates.

The Firewire drive line I was in hands one to each customer and urges them to move on. Unfortunately, my box says USB 2.0, but I don’t question. I must move on.

I then go grab a printer for fear that they will be gone before I get one. I must get one for Char. Luckily, there is no line and I score a printer.

Aiden at this point is highly entertained by the whole thing.

Now it is time for the memory. This line is very slow. It takes a good 20 minutes. Aiden gets a little more bored. We get the order for the memory and I grab the Linksys router that is there as well.

I then head back over to the Firewire drive spot. Aha. The red box has the Firewire drives, so I grab one and drop my USB 2.0 drive.

What is next? We look around for an MP3 player that was on sale for Aiden. We can’t find it and then decide to get in line to get out of the place.

This is where it sucks. I wait in line for a good 30 – 40 minutes! Ouch. We snake from the back of the store by the air conditioners to the check-out lines. Aiden hangs in there like a champ, but I could see how that would stink.

We finally get to the check-out. The memory is the tricky part. We wait a good 15 minutes for the cashier to come back with the memory. They always suck at this. Tada. It’s the wrong kind. So, instead of buying it I leave it and get the hell out.

Several observations:

  1. The place is basically wall to wall packed with Asian’s, with a particular strong showing of old Asian men. Everybody is polite and eager for a deal. The easy conclusion: I’m an old Asian guy, I must have been put up for adoption at birth.

  2. Don’t go to Fry’s at 5:00 AM unless you are already up. Nobody walked out of the place with a deal who got there at 5:00 AM vs. 6:30 AM.

  3. Have someone wait in line for you while you are grabbing stuff. This will dramatically cut down the checkout line wait.

  4. I went later to get the proper memory. I didn’t wait at all for anything.

  5. I love Fry’s

  6. Charlie Chip is a 20 pin DIP

Update: forgot to mention. It’s a good thing I brought Aiden. It turns out he hid my keys and wallet and I would have never found them 🙂 smart kid.

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