Friday, November 28, 2008 at 8 p.m.
Like the rest of the country, Orange County residents awoke early on the day after Thanksgiving and rushed to national chain stores which, despite mainstream media claims otherwise, were waiting to pounce with rip-offs and lies.
At 8:30 a.m. at Best Buy in Orange (not far from Disneyland) dozens and dozens of would-be-shoppers couldn't find parking, but continued to circle the full parking lot for 10, 15 and 20 minutes. Inside, a shopper who would only tell me his name is Chris--a young man who said he lives in Anaheim--was pissed off. The Best Buy ad in his hand for a $120 discount on a computer product was a lie, he insisted.
Chris politely confronted a clerk, pointing out that the store had not even stocked one item of what Best Buy listed on sale. After about five minutes of dribble, the clerk finally admitted the truth, but tried to convince Chris to buy another similar product at full retail price.
"FU," Chris told the clerk and left.
What? Did you say, "bait and switch"?
Nearby, two customers argued over the remaining computer of another alleged sale. "I was here first," the man said. "I'm holding the box," the woman said, while her friends repeated said, "Don't let go of it."
I don't know how the standoff ended. It lasted at least 15 minutes and, at several points, verged on violence. Feeling indigestion, I left.
Getting within a half-mile of Fry's Electronics near Fountain Valley was an ordeal this morning too. Vehicles were backed up so far that the wait just to enter the parking lot was 30 minutes. Inside, shoppers bitched that items listed in the company's advertisements weren't in stock.
Vinh, a shopper from Garden Grove, fumed that he'd come to buy a memory stick that had been listed for sale but wasn't available. A clerk told him he should buy a similar item for full retail price.
I think Vinh cursed in Vietnamese before he left.
But there's good news to report too. In Santa Ana, one graffiti artist may have acknowledged the holiday period with a gesture of kindness. Instead of ruining a street sign, he/she colored his/her gang moniker "GIANT" on a sticky U.S. Postal Service label and stuck that to the sign.
(R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly)