In America, Black Friday is as close to an honorary national holiday as a day can be, next to the Super Bowl, and obviously Gamestop isn’t a stranger its traditions with their own particular way of handling the crowds and special set of doorbuster deals gamers and collectors are willing to shiver for.
Gamestop is one of those places where only a particular group of people would go camp on black Friday eve, due to the fact that it mainly sells video games.
Unlike other bigger retailer department stores, all Gamestop locations stuck to a more traditional opening time at 5:00 a.m on Friday morning. While Target and Walmart started their doorbuster deals at 6:00 p.m on Thanksgiving day, whoever wanted to do some last minute videogame shopping according to this year’s black Friday standard went to Gamestop .
For the regular Joe who’s looking for amazing deals on black friday, Best buy, Target, Walmart, or the mall would be the ideal place to optimize Joe’s black Friday shopping spree.
Little do people know that Gamestop does have their own hidden gems for those who are willing to wait outside the cold on Thursday overnight.
Like many other department store, Gamestop released their black Friday catalog close to a week in advance so whoever is looking to campout knows exactly what they would be getting.
The sale ranged from discounted PS4 and Xbox One bundles, $20 off selected popular PS4 and Xbox One1 games such as Dishonor 2 and Battlefield , limited edition new Nintendo 3DS for $100, and not but not least mystery boxes.
At the Gamestop in Rowland Heights, the first to arrive at the front door were a group of students that started lining up as early as 11 p.m., right after their Thanksgiving meal.
At first, it seem predictable what anyone would get at Gamestop, but the first 10-20 people were there not to buy the obvious choices such as discounted PS4 or Xbox 1 bundles, but instead they are there to get first dibs on the $20 mystery box that holds limited collectable vinyl figures called Funko Pop!
Each mystery box has a chance to hold 1 of 5 limited edition Pop, the rarest being the gold Power Ranger.
The following group didn’t join the line until 3:00 a.m., and once again most of them were aiming for the Pop collectables, with some discounted PS4 and Xbox One titles here and there.
When it got to around 4:45 a.m. there are about 30 to 40 heads deep, lined up in front of the tiny storefront of Gamestop Rowland heights.
In line, there were two tourist who were visiting the United States from Taiwan over the holiday season, and they really wanted experience America’s black Friday first hand. They were in line since 4:30 a.m., and were looking to buy the 3DS, but unfortunately it was sold to the first 20 campers because there were only 5 units in stock that day.
Most people in line before 4:30 said it was their first time camping out at Gamestop, and haven’t experienced anything crazy and acknowledge that there shouldn’t be anything crazy at a Gamestop release.
Though the first group said there was a man who came up to them as ask what they were lining up for that carried a hatchet, but besides from his curiosity what Gamestop have for black friday, he didn’t seem to have any malicious intent.
The campout for Gamestop, as expected was relatively civilized with no shoving and running involved.
Like many other Gamestop around the greater Los Angeles, the Rowland Heights store wasn’t particularly large in the storefront department, though small they had their own ways of preparing for one of the busiest days of the year.
According to the store leader in the Rowland Heights store, the typical shift have 2 to 5 on rotation and having coverage for store front and register on the open day of black Friday.
“The experience is pretty exciting but there is a bit of pressure not to make people angry,” said Sean the store leader.
The store leader said this year would be his 8th black Friday working, and compared to last black Friday, there were much more people this year, and last year’s rush only lasted about 30 minutes, but at the same time his experience gave him the chance to make the campout more organized.
The employees were surprisingly upbeat upon opening, and most of them were friendly and very helpful.
One employee explained that a typical shift is about 4 to 5 hours each regular shift and gets bumped up to 8 hours during the holiday season. Though she’s actually glad to work at Gamestop during black Friday due of her miserable experience working at Target last holiday season.
As the crowd starts to thin out, few campers are going back out into the battle field of black Friday to catch some more deals at the local mall, just wanted to go back to bed and catch up with sleep, and as for the employees, they were just thankful that their black Friday operation wasn’t a disaster and are all waiting for their next lunch shift.
Each camper and employee had their own story on why they were up that particular Friday morning, whether it was to finish up a figurine collection or to earn a few extra bucks on over time, despite the all the hectic black Friday stories on the street, the one at Gamestop was a mellow yet eventful experience.