Taking Black Friday to an Entirely New Level

Taking Black Friday to an Entirely New Level

Bad news.  This past Thanksgiving Holiday, one of my neighbors was killed at a Black Friday stampede.  Sure, I wept for Bill, but his death was not in vain.  It gave me tremendous insight into a revolutionary new marketing epiphany, one that’s sure to cause an uptick in the GNP of the USA.

The premise is quite simple.  Every year, thousands of people are killed at Black Friday rampages.  One would think there’s a clearance sale on precious metals, or some sort of Fountain of Youth 12-pack giveaway.  But no.  Big box stores are selling the same crap as always.  In fact, they may wheel out even more crapola.

So what gives?  Why do people risk life and limb (and eventually lose life and limb) only for some junk they could buy any other Friday of the year?  I believe it is the thrill of the hunt.  Bargain shoppers become Captain Ahabs when they catch wind of a 25 cent-discount on a can of beans.

To confirm my theory, I visited the home of Bill, my felled Black Friday neighbor, and spoke with his still grieving widow, Candy. “Bill was killed on aisle six, trampled to death when he tried to pole vault his way to aisle five,” she told me.  “The pole slipped, and we…we lost him in the thongs.”

“You mean, throngs, right?”

“No, the thongs,” she dabbed at a tear.  “He fell into a big bin of thong underwear that was ravaged by discount-crazed women.  There was such upheaval in the bin that a thong wrapped around his neck and choked him.”

It sounded like a kinky way to go, but I refrained from making any comment.  I looked around Bill’s den.  All along the walls were various household items affixed to plaques – blenders, socks, garden rakes.

“Those look like big game trophies,” I said.

“To Bill, they were,” Candy sniffled.  “Some of these he got for half-price, from Wal-Marts as far away as Manilla.  He fought through some serious scrapes for these.  He was a brave, brave shopper, my Bill.”

I left her to her misery, saddened by her loss, but quite pleased to have uncovered the persona that my new marketing epiphany would exploit.

The Ten-Minute Mega Sale

Part of what drove Bill to his untimely death was the quest for a bargain.  Part of it was also the masochistic tendency to endure absolutely barbaric conditions during the hunt.  Candy told me he hadn’t spent a Thanksgiving with the family in years.  Two years ago, he’d actually lost several toes to frostbite in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  (He’d turned lemons into lemonade by later dragging himself through the aisles and finding a great deal on a pair of crutches.)

With Bill’s Ahabian persona in mind, my epiphany took shape.  I would open a big box store, sell absolutely worthless crap, discount the living daylights out of it, and then hold a sale at the most inconvenient time and at the most inconvenient location imaginable.  It was bound to be a winner.

First, location was critical.  I talked to a local real estate agent, who tried to get me to look at several abandoned Borders Book Stores.  I didn’t like the karma, nor the location of what he showed me.  I wanted something remote, way, way remote.  I thus rented a plane and made my way to the far reaches of Antarctica, where no human soul had visited.  Ever.  It looked to be the perfect place for my new mega-store.

I tried to find the municipal building for the government of Antarctica, but all that existed were research stations and an Arby’s. In fact, the only person I saw was an old man, sitting on the park bench feeding some penguins.  “There are only about 5,000 people in Antarctica at one time,” he told me.  “And they’re scattered over 4.5 million square miles.”

“That’s perfect!” I cried.

Without further ado, I flew in a crew of hearty construction workers to begin construction on the store.  Cash for the project had come straight from Warren Buffett’s  cash jar, as he, being the ultimate deal-seeker, promised to be first in line.

Even though conditions were bitterly cold and raw materials were nowhere to be found, we built a store twice as big as the Mall of America.   I then proceeded to stock the entire store with junk I found in my closets at home.  Hardly-used spices, single socks and lampshade-less broken lamps filled half the store alone.  For the rest of the store, I hit up garage sales at the various research stations.  That netted me a bunch of microscopes and some wind socks, which I knew would be big sellers.

I then sent out a press release, notifying the American media that my mega-store would be open on Christmas Eve for ten minutes. During the time, everything would be on sale for 99.99% off.

The Battle Cry of the Bargain-Shoppers

I sent the press release out on October 28th.  On 6:00 am on October 29th, the lines had already began to form.  The first shoppers had come, riding in dogsleds the size of minivans.  They set up shop and waited in misery for the next two months, happy as clams.

As news of the long-lines spread to civilizations, more droves (throngs, actually) trekked to my mega-store.  Some even abandoned their Black Friday perches to make their way south.

I’m sorry to say that many of these brave souls waiting in line didn’t survive.  With nowhere to plug-in their space heaters, the cold took the weak and frail.  Fortunately, the dead provided nourishment for the remaining shoppers, as many were saving their precious cash for the big sale, and didn’t want to waste it on a roast beef sandwich at Arby’s.

On Christmas Eve, I shot off a flare.  Like the star of Bethlehem, it shone in the night sky, attracting more hordes to my midnight madness.  Promptly at 11:59 PM, I simply whispered, “We’re open,” and took cover behind an iceberg.

No one bothered with the doors.  Most just drove their dogsled/minivans right through the front doors.  Within 9 minutes, the mega-store had been completely picked clean, and my crack cashier staff had checked out a shopping population the size of Rhode Island.

Our net for the day was $2.3 billion, which totally mystified the consumer analysts as they had never considered unused, obscure spices, lampshade-less lamps, and single-mittens worth so much cash.  But I had proved them wrong.

The day after the big sale, I was elected President of Antarctica in a landslide.  But to be honest, I didn’t want the job.  There was nothing left for me here.  We had actually sold the entire store to the ravenous shoppers.  They’d dismantled the beast and put used shingles and splintered two by fours in their shopping carts.  The only thing for me to do was to rebuild, in a far more inconvenient place, at a far more inconvenient time.

Next year, we’re looking to hold out the Ten-Minute Mega Sale in the depths of the Mariana Trench, or at the furthest moon of Pluto.  Mark your calendar and clip your coupons, folks. This sale promises to be our most inconvenient one ever.

Photo by jeffkarpala

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  1. Carolyn Ferriano says:

    I liked it, both the epiphany and the illustration!!

    • Greg Mischio says:

      Thanks Carolyn! Actually a photo this time. Kind of a pain in the butt pushing all those shopping carts to the South Pole, but for the good of the blog, no sacrifice is too great.

  2. Gina Krupsky says:

    This totally made my day! SO funny!

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