Monday, November 28, 2011

Heath Fowler looks at a video game at GameStop on Black Friday. PHOTO: Kate McPherson.

Heath Fowler smells lotion on Katie Burks’s wrist. Fowler was shopping at Bath and Body Works on Black Friday to find deals on Christmas gifts for his mother and stepmother. PHOTO: Kate McPherson.
Two Denton, Texas high school seniors spent their first Black Friday shopping experience avoiding lines and grabbing deals.

Ryan High School students Katie Burks and Heath Fowler said they have skipped Black Friday shopping in years past because of the horror stories they’ve heard.

“When I’m around a lot of people, I tend to get nervous, so the idea of being around hundreds of competitive shoppers is really intimidating,” Fowler said.

Despite the stress, the pair decided to brave the crowds in order to grab the best deals, Burks said.

“I’d really like to find some discounted winter clothes, some jeans or boots,” Burks said.

“I'm a little nervous about all the intrusive crowds and masses of shoppers. I'm not going to get in someone's face over a shirt or something, so I'll be a little rattled if someone gets in mine.”

Deals on movies and CDs were attractive, but store promotions were the most intriguing part of the shopping spree, Fowler said.

“I really want to check out Bath and Body Works, just because I heard they give out free apple cider,” he said.

The pair shopped at Golden Triangle Mall, stopping in Bath and Body Works, Spencer’s, American Eagle Outfitters, J.C. Penney’s and PacSun, according to Burks.

The sale prices were impressive, Fowler said.

“The best part of the day was the experience of snagging items I had wanted to buy earlier in the year for a great deal less,” he said.

“American Eagle’s storewide sale of 40 percent off really surprised me, and I was really impressed with the sales I ended up taking advantage of.” 

Burks said the number of people shopping surprised her.

“The lines weren’t that bad,” she said.

“It really wasn’t as crazy as I’d expected. It seemed like a fairly typical shopping experience with a more focused intent on savings.”

Black Friday retail sales climbed 6.6 percent this year, according to ShopperTrak. Fowler said he felt the effects of more shoppers.

“Bath and Body Works was crazy, and I definitely stepped on a few unhappy individuals,” Fowler said.

The pair suffered from sleep deprivation, Burks said.

“The worst part was the exhaustion while shopping,” she said.

“Because of the competing stores and prices, you had a lot in mind while shopping, which ultimately took the leisure out of the entire experience. Shopping isn’t near as fun without its therapeutic aspect.”

Fowler said he thinks sleep is an important part of Black Friday.

“I found that people tended to be in an overall negative mood,” Fowler said.

“When people are deprived of sleep and running only on abnormal amounts
of caffeine, I guess that is to be expected.”

Despite these negative experiences, Burks and Fowler said they plan to shop on Black Friday next year.

“I’m pretty sure I will be out there now that I know how awesome sales can be, but I’ll definitely have a game plan next time,” Fowler said.

“I think it would be helpful to research some of the bargains and get an idea of what to be looking for.”

“I saved money without spending extravagant amounts of money, so I’m
definitely pleased with the turnout,” Burks said.

“I just might have added a new tradition to my typical Thanksgiving repertoire.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog 7: Multimedia

Blog 7: Zombie Prom scares up dancers

The University of Oklahoma Resident Student Associations hosted Zombie Prom last Saturday in Couch Restaurants.

The event, planned by Traditions West RSA President Brianna Versteeg, invited students to dress up as zombies and enjoy food, dancing and face painting. Zombie Prom also hosted the service event A Million Thanks, an event that asks students to write thank-you notes to veterans.

This is the first Zombie Prom, though not the first RSA dance, Versteeg said.

“I came up with the idea for Zombie Prom after I went to the Halloween store for another event I was doing,” Versteeg said.

“I was going down the aisles, and I saw some zombie stuff, and I thought it would be really cool to have a zombie event. We had just had another event, our Awkward Ball, and everybody loved it, so we’re doing kind of the same thing, but with a zombie theme.”

Zombie makeup was easy to do, said freshman Alexandra Arcuri.

“Basically, all I did was color my face with Crayola marker, red and brown, and cover my face with white eyeshadow and mess up my hair,” she said.

Freshman Kayla Cunningham said she was not as excited as her friends to be at Zombie Prom.

“I decided to come to Zombie Prom because my friend and her roommate decided to come, so I just tagged along,” Cunningham said.

“I didn’t dress up because I’m not planning to stay long.”

The zombie theme was the best part of the night, said Arcuri.

“I love zombies. I used to go play something called zombie tag at home, so I was really excited for tonight,” she said.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

OU group raises money with music

    A University of Oklahoma group raised money for Rwandan AIDS prevention by playing music in residence halls on Oct. 27.
    Facilitating African Rehabilitation, a group dedicated to raising awareness of African issues, organized the annual event. The group recruited OU student musicians to perform for donations in residence hall lobbies and elevators.
    The group has played music in elevators four times in its history, FAR president Erin Weese said.
    “One of our former presidents actually came up with the idea,” Weese said.
“He was an RA who had a bunch of friends with instruments. He started by raising money for the group Invisible Children, but we’re donating to the OU chapter of FACE AIDS.”
FACE AIDS will donate the money to an organization that provides AIDS medication and education in Rwanda, Weese said.
    Facilitating African Rehabilitation had no problems recruiting musicians, Weese said.
    “We have two members that are musically talented,” she said.
    “One’s in civic orchestra, and one’s in a jazz group, so they ask their friends or people in their classes. [The people who play in the elevators] like playing music, and they like charity, so they’re generally really happy to do it.”
    Sophomore Alyssa McCollom said she enjoyed playing mandolin in the elevators because of people’s reactions.
    “Most people have enjoyed [our music], and they were super excited about it,” McCollom said.
    “They get even more excited when we play a song they know. Some people start singing along with you, which is interesting.”
    Most people like having music in the elevators, Weese said.
    “Most of them think it’s kind of a nifty idea, but I think some are bothered by the fact that we’re taking up space in the elevator.”
    Residents of the halls said they liked the fundraiser’s concept.
    “I think it’s really cool they’re able to raise money in such an interesting way,” freshman Christopher Sharkey said.
    “I’ve never seen anyone do this before.”
    The group often had trouble explaining why they were fundraising, McCollom said.
    “I think we should have had signs in the elevator because people did get confused,” she said.
    “The ones who gave money, we definitely made sure we told them where it was going, though.”
    The lack of information made some people uncomfortable, Sharkey said.
    “The reason I haven’t donated is partially because I don’t know too much about what the money is for,” he said.
    “I know it’s for AIDS, but I’m not sure what they’re doing with the money, and I’m not comfortable with that.”
    Despite the occasional lack of understanding, the group raised approximately $400, but they hope to accomplish much more, Weese said.
    “We want to work toward changing the misconceptions that a lot of people have about Africa,” Weese said.
    “We want them to know that Africa is not just a poverty-stricken place, but we want people to know there’s good things happening in Africa. We know our contributions aren’t going to change Africa completely, but we still want to help and give.”

Violinists Sydney Bader and Nathan Thomas perform in the lobby of Walker Center. The pair raised money for AIDS prevention in Rwanda.