Pitt prepares for Black Friday + Holiday Gadget Guide


Students brace for shopping season

Jay Benedict | Editor-in-Chief

wp-image-4163″ title=”Apple’s iPad Mini.” src=”http://psucollegio.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/hero-150×150.jpg” alt=”Apple’s iPad Mini.” width=”150″ height=”150″ /> Apple’s iPad Mini.

Every year, millions of people awake from their tryptophan comas and venture into the cold dark night in search of the best deals of the year.
This is the nature of “Black Friday.” Stores all over the U.S. open as early as midnight the day after Thanksgiving to let shoppers get a jumpstart on their holiday shopping, and it’s when mobs of eager consumers hit stores to get their hands on the biggest discounts they’ll find.
“I bought two Invicta watches that cost about $700 each for under $200,” said Scott Whitlock, junior in marketing.
Deals like this are the norm on “Black Friday” and it attracts all sorts of customers and leads to some strange behavior. Whitlock says he talked to a man at Wal-Mart early one morning who had an interesting technique to avoid the crowds.
“He smelled terrible and seemed happy about it, so I asked him what was going on,” Whitlock said. “He told me that he purposely hadn’t showered in days and was wearing dirty clothes, so people wouldn’t get near him and he could shop in peace. It was working.”
Sarah Brownback also had difficulty dealing with crowds at Wal-Mart on a previous “Black Friday.” She says she was there shopping for toys early in the morning when someone grabbed something off a rack before the sales had started.
“An employee blamed it on us in the confusion because there were so many people,” said Brownback, senior in business. “We didn’t get it cleared up until he finally understood that we only had a heater in our cart.”
With the stores opening well before regular business hours on Friday, people start lining up out in the cold in anticipation of the sales. Colleen Anderson says the bizarre hours of “Black Friday” sales are what draw her to it.

Microsoft's Surface.

Microsoft’s Surface.

“It’s weird to have trouble finding parking at 3 a.m., but that’s just part of the experience,” said Anderson, sophomore in early childhood unified. “I’m not really there for the sales; it’s shopping from midnight to 5 a.m. that’s interesting to me.”
Most large department stores hold special hours for “Black Friday.” Anderson, Whitlock and Brownback all say they did their shopping at stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and clothing stores like American Eagle and Old Navy in malls.
Brownback and Anderson say they weren’t avid sale hunters, but Whitlock says he has a system.
“I make two trips on ‘Black Friday,’” Whitlock said. “I usually go to one at midnight and then go home and check out the ads. After that I head back out to the places with the best deals at about five or six a.m.”
This year, Whitlock says he’s actually done a lot of his “Black Friday” shopping online, before the actual day.
“Some sites have presales where their deals come out before Black Friday,” Whitlock said. “I’ve actually already bought several things, including a fishing rod for my brother-in-law that has a camera near the lure that lets you watch the fish bite.”


GADGETS TO LOOK FOR

Click the gadget names for their official sites.

  1. Microsoft Surface: Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? Microsoft’s new crossover device claims to be the best of both worlds, boasting a tablet-based version of Windows 8, called Windows RT, and a snap-on touch keyboard. What Microsoft lacks in terms of apps, it attempts to make up for with Office 2013 coming pre-loaded on the device. The Surface comes in 32 and 64GB versions with the option of a black, physical-type keyboard as well as a USB port and microSD storage option. Click here for more CNET’s review of the Surface.
  2. Kindle Fire HD: Amazon has released a second-generation version of its popular e-reader/tablet, the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire HD comes in a 7-inch Wi-Fi version and Wi-Fi and 4G 8.9-inch versions and sports a heavily modified version of Android’s “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system. The device also features Dolby audio speakers and instant access to Amazon features like Prime, Instant Video and Cloud Player. Click here for CNET’s review of the Kindle Fire HD.
  3. iPad Mini: In an effort to quell the interest in cheaper, smaller tablet interests, Apple has released the iPad Mini. Complete with an 7.95-inch screen and Apple’s trademark A5 chip, the mini also features iOS 6 and a smaller version of the iPad 2’s Smart Cover. Click here for CNET’s review of the iPad Mini.
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