My daughter caught a case of jealousy when her brother purchased his own computer after saving up for the better part of the year. Tired of butting heads with my wife for the use of a computer that contains her SIMS computer game, she decided she wanted her own computer as well. When we started talking about how much one that would serve her needs would cost, and how long it would take her to save up for it, there were tears. A lot of tears.
When you’re eleven years old, eight months is an eternity.
Daddy heart melt of epic proportions occurred, and my instinct to make the tears stop kicked in. My wife and I agreed that with Christmas on the horizon we would pay for half of a reasonably priced laptop if she saved her allowance and any other funds she happened to earn to pay for the other half.
It was understood that this would be a very large portion of her Christmas gifts.
Over the last few months, my daughter had constantly explored the Best Buy website looking for laptops, calculating her price range by determining how much she could save by Christmas, and then doubling it. I slowly educated her on the minimum specs that the computer needed to have to fit her needs. The discussion on the difference between memory and hard drive capacity was a particularly proud moment for this tech savvy daddy.
On Thanksgiving Day, I was looking through the Black Friday ads when Tori snuck up behind me and asked me if I found any good deals on laptops. There actually was one at Best Buy, however it was their door buster. I explained to her that I could either spend time with the family, or I could go stand outside our local Best Buy all day for a chance that I may be one of the lucky ones to get one of a small number of laptops in stock. I was choosing to spend time with my family.
She understood, but walked away with her eyes cast on the floor.
On the afternoon of Black Friday, after all the craziness had calmed down a bit, I asked her if she wanted to go with me to Best Buy just to look around. To our surprise, we found a laptop on sale that met all our requirements, and was within our price range. Tori’s eyes lit up when the sales person said they had one in stock. Our eyes met, and I knew the question that was forming in her head without her saying a word.
“Daddy, can we get it?”
A quick phone call to talk to my wife, and we were on our way to the checkout counter. As we were waiting, I confirmed several times with an excited young lady this is what she wanted to spend her cash on. The cashier put the box in a large bag, and handed me my receipt. I turned to my right to head towards the exit, but what I saw stopped me in my tracks.
Five feet in front of me was a pyramid display of the door buster laptops.
I picked up one of the boxes to ensure that the product was really in the box. It was a bundle package that came with a carrying sleeve, a mouse and an 8GB flash drive. It was also $30 cheaper than the laptop we had just purchased. A sales person indicated that the sale price was still active and guided me to a display (oddly quite a distance from the other laptops) where Tori could examine the sale model. After a few minutes, and a few “oohs” and “aahs,” we decided to make an exchange. With the just purchased laptop in one hand, and the door buster in the other, we headed to the customer service counter.
The evening news was filled with stories of chaos, crowds and fights from late Thursday night, and early Friday morning as shoppers overran retailers with the start of the Holiday shopping season.
Getting a great night’s sleep and STILL getting a door buster deal at 5:00PM on Black Friday?
Did you have any interesting Black Friday experiences this year?
I actually went to Walmart on Thanksgiving to stand in line for a gift for a family member and – OMG- it was complete and total chaos. Fortunately I was only there for one thing that they ran out of immediately so I just had to get a voucher for the item and pay for it. I hate shopping so the entire experience was painful!
I’m not a fan of shopping either, Holly….and I’ve done the Black Friday door rush and hated it more than almost anything on the planet. I have to admit though….by 5PM, Best Buy looked much like it normally does. There were no crowds, and no snaking line to the checkout counter. I’ll take that any day. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I’ve given up on trying to get electronics on Black Friday. Too many manufacturers are making one-off models that just aren’t good. For example, you may see a 27″ monitor. Maybe you did a little deeper to figure out that the resolution matches another monitor. But then you have to dig through and see stuff like contrast ratio, etc. And even if all of that does match, there’s no spec for “a full white screen doesn’t have even coloring” or “the pixels get a bit blurry in the corners (back in the CRT days)”.
That’s not to say we haven’t gotten some doorbusters, but we’re realistic with them. For example, the $199 laptop we got? It’s still running, but the battery wouldn’t hold a charge after 3 months. We looked at the warranty process, but it would’ve cost a bunch of time and money for another battery that probably wouldn’t last.
I agree, Bryan….many times the door buster deals are substandard products. I actually did my research on this particular laptop while I was watching football on Thanksgiving…and while it’s definitely not a high end machine, it’s perfect for what my daughter wants. One of the main things I read over and over in the reviews is that the black case was unattractive and bland. I got a kick out of that as I’ve never looked at a laptop and thought, “WOW…..now that’s SEXY!” LOL…great to hear from you Bryan!
You’ve obviously never talked with hardcore Mac enthusiasts. They would buy lingerie for their laptops if they could, especially if Apple charged them $89 for it. 🙂
OMG. Best. Comment. EVER!
Nice work Travis. You can certainly get doorbusters much later than normal these days. I didn’t do anything this Black Friday. I was thinking about shopping online, but I didn’t. I just slept in and did nothing all day. That was priceless to me.
I agree with Bryan’s comment above. I used to sell electronics for a living and I know this process all too well. It happens every year!
I wonder if they intended to sell out of these items and just didn’t get as many takers as they thought or what the deal was, but I was happy to see the product still available. 🙂 Good for you for sleeping in and doing nothing. To be honest, my trip to Best Buy was originally intended only as a mood lifter to let Tori see what choices we had and to keep her interest up. But it all worked out well in the end. Thanks for stopping by, Grayson!
Smart move not to bother standing in line all day for a chance at a doorbuster deal. Manufacturers make specific (and cheap) models of electronics just for Black Friday events, which is A. why they have a limited number and B. why the retail price is much lower (and the only reason I know this is because my husband used to work at Best Buy, and spent 5 years in the computer and camera departments). It’s not worth it to be a part of the madness and the crowds.
I read a story on Thanksgiving that many times the door buster price is also just a mirage – that the quoted “original price” is one that was inflated just so it could be slashed…OR….it’s a price that the product hasn’t been priced at for 6-8 months. It’s all games – which is why I did my homework on this particular laptop and knew that the product + the extras was definitely worth the money. Always good to get the scoop from an insider like your husband though…thanks for sharing, Kali!
ha ha suckers who got up early! 🙂 You showed them! Ah…to have a happy 11-year-old girl again. PS, it only gets worse as we get more moody! 🙂
My wife and I sometimes joke around making the “Wheeeeeeeee!” sound as our daughter’s mood changes (like we’re riding a roller coaster). She hasn’t caught on yet what we mean. Are you telling me she’s going to get even MORE moody? Oh sh*t, I’m in big trouble. HUGE trouble. 🙂
You are in big trouble Travis! I remember turning 11 and all of a sudden the “mood swing monster” came outta nowhere 😉
And how awesome that you still managed to get a great deal and didn’t have to fight any crowds!!
My daughter is a very passionate person…just like her mother. That combined with the roller coaster mood swings makes for very interesting times…lol. All kidding aside, I wouldn’t change a thing about her – she’s such an unimaginable joy to have in my life. She makes me smile. 🙂
Haha! It sounds like you won in the end. You couldn’t get me to join those crowds if you paid me. I will stay home and save my money, thank you! Much better!
I’m with you, Debt and the Girl. I’ve done the Black Friday thing, and I’m totally over it. I was happy to get my deal at 5pm when the crowds and madness had receded, though!
The only Black Friday shopping in-person that I’ve ever done is in the afternoon… when the hoards are napping or eating lunch so I have no interesting stories.
I love that you set the example of family time being more important than things for your daughter! I’m glad you were both able to get a deal on her laptop! I
That’s the most important thing I wanted to teach, Rachel….family togetherness first. Shopping and sales can wait. Glad to hear you avoid the hoards as well….thanks for reading!
I just shopped online..got some items to give to a charity. Coats for $19.99, supposedly $80.00 regular price. I wouldn’t go out in the madness if you paid me to. Here is TN there were people fighting over towels and parking spaces. Ridiculous. Someone got tazed. Tazed going shopping? Yikes!
I saw stories on the news about people fighting over 29 cent towels at Walmart, Gina….crazy. I’ll pay a couple bucks for towels to avoid getting punched in the face, wouldn’t you? 🙂
I’d call that a win-win, getting a good deal while still beating the crowds and the craziness that is a big box store on Black Friday!
Agree, Laura! This is one of those stories I’ll be telling the grandkids 30 years from now. I was really surprised at how much things had died down by afternoon…I really expected it to still be crazy busy.
That’s awesome! It seems like a lot of the doorbusters really weren’t doorbusters but were deals that would be widely available the next day. I also slept in and made a killing on the Kohl’s website – $156 for boots for my wife, 3 dress shirts, a really nice sweater, and a winter jacket. Also got $45 kohl’s cash and free shipping. My Mom couldn’t believe it when I saved her a hectic trip to Kohl’s on black Friday by showing her the sales prices were also available online : )
One would think that stores would get more sales by making good deals available throughout the whole day or weekend (and online), wouldn’t you think, DC? I mean, sure they lose the whole crowd rush and impulse buying for the first 60 minutes but it would be replaced by steady traffic for a longer period of time which I would think is preferable. But what do I know….I’m thinking of it from a consumer perspective. Thanks for dropping in!
That’s awesome Travis! You can’t beat making your kid happy and getting the deal to boot. It just goes to show you that the hoopla by the retailers is not always the most accurate. We did a little shopping online on Friday, but mainly watched some football, spent some time with the family and brewed a new batch of beer with my younger brother.
Oh, brewing a new batch of beer….now THAT is time WELL spent. I’ve wanted to get into that hobby for quite awhile…..one of those “if I ever have more time…..” 🙂
Great deal and great post. I’m so glad you’re teaching your daughter not only about money but computer specs. I always ask the boyfriend what I need technologically cause I’m clueless.
I’d like nothing more than for my daughter to head out on her own (in about 1,000 years) being both financially and technically savvy, Stefanie. The more you know….. 🙂
It’s always great when things work out unexpectedly – especially when it comes to your children. When they don’t work out, it’s a big test of character, but sometimes we do have to hold the line and say, “No, you’re not getting what you want – at least not now.” The big eyes and tears are hard to stand up against. Hopefully, when that’s the way things unfold, there is some character development in the child too – becoming resilient in the face of disappointment and gaining the patience necessary for delayed gratification.
Saying “No” is hard to do, especially for me when it comes to my little girl. Due to some extra funds she’s earned doing some jobs for our neighbors (feeding cats while they were away, etc) she saved up her half (at least what we approximated to be her half) ahead of schedule. She had gotten the idea in her head that once she got her half saved up that we would buy the computer. So the last couple weeks have been marked by several discussions about how we were waiting and looking for the right deal. That wasn’t an easy thing for her to swallow either…. Thanks for reading and commenting, Prudence!
We had a very non-traditional Thanksgiving this year due to a broken hip by Grandma, so we didn’t have a meal or any family stuff other than visiting her in the hospital. As a result, we found ourselves at the mall on Thanksgiving night, more as a sociology experiment than a shopping trip. It was fascinating. Lots of the stores opened at 8PM, and there were cops directing lines at the Microsoft store and Victoria’s Secret (no idea what was their big deal). It kind of gave me a headache and we left after walking around a bit. There isn’t much I need so badly that I’d stand in line for hours to get, but apparently, lots of people think differently.
Oh, sorry to hear about your Grandma, Kim…I hope she’s OK and recovers quickly. Just sitting and watching people during that shopping rush would be a very interesting experience indeed. I spent overnight in a parking lot one year to get a laptop – it served us well for many years, but I agree….the money saved was not worth standing in line all night in the Minnesota cold! 🙂
if I can’t buy it online, I won’t buy it! or like you, I’d risk the sleeping in and try after the crowd died down!
Right on, Catherine. I’d love to see someone do a study on what percentage of the “deals” are available later on the same day. Of course retailers would HATE that, wouldn’t they? 🙂
Love it! I love how you not only got a great deal for your daughter but also taught her so many valuable lessons along the way. I can only imagine how excited she was to go home with her hard-earned computer. 🙂 You’re a good, Dad. I definitely did not brave the crowds on Black Friday. 🙂
Aw, thanks Shannon…I certainly do my best! My daughter’s whole life revolves around how she wants her room. She wants a chair, and a mirror and she already has her laptop. She’s eleven and sounding exactly like a teenager. It’s been almost a week, and she’s still crazy excited about her computer. Let’s hope she puts it to great use. Thanks for your comment!
Great deal! Knowing me, I would have walked away with the original purchase, but good job catching that door buster deal!
I almost walked away too, Lisa…I’m a big proponent of making things as easy as possible and exchanging the laptop I just bought was going to be a hassle. But something told me that it was going to be worth it. Thanks for stopping by!
Just love this story, Travis. Maddie is in the process of saving up for a laptop right now, so this one swells my heart big. Great job, all of you, on making it work!
Thanks, Laurie….I hope to read a post about how your daughter’s laptop adventure goes!