This is my third year shopping "Black Friday" and my second with my now-wife. I found this year to be less interesting that last year, but I still found a few helpful deals. We got to Circuit City at 4:30am, and the line was around the store, out back, and I was parked about three stores away. At 5am, like locusts on the grain fields, the start of the line was in and grabbed all the DVD-R packs and 1GB and 2GB USB drives; I didn't get the key items I was after. But I found a few movies I wanted for gifts and my wife found the Half-Life 2 Xbox game I wanted for a gift. Then we got in line. This Circuit City was a complete disaster. Lines were rambling everywhere clogging major aisle, the ends unmarked and unclear. Long lines forcibly merged together before registers, and you couldn't tell which register you were going to until on top of it. We entered the store just after five, shopped for maybe 20 minutes, and then spent 80 minutes waiting to checkout. The lines were worsened by the remarkably inefficient checkout process. Each item had to be handscanned by a gun, an manual five-digit code entered for each one, mailing address info manually entered at point of sale, and the rebate slips slowly printed by the computer. I estimate it added one to two minutes per customer, which becomes substantial with 30 to 60 people ahead of you. Forunately, I had good line neighbors and we chatted. And at the register, some discarded USB drives were found, salvaging this trip. Worrying we'd be late for CompUSA to get the H700 earpiece I wanted, we dashed there. The store was quiet and slow and we quickly found the earpieces. True to form, I chose the slowest line. The one guy in front of me, buying a single item, took 10+ minutes: The item rang up wrong. They waited for a manager. She took several tries to get it right. The customer then tried to pay with a check, which wasn't worked. Finally, he had then cancel the sale and headed out to get cash from an ATM. And I bought and was out quickly. To BestBuy: I wanted a SanDisk 1GB MP3 for my mom. These were hot last year and I thought they'd be all gone, but we gave it a shot. BestBuy had stocked copiously; salespeople were hawking them to people waiting in line. In contrast to CC, BB was perfectly organized with roped lines and guides to point customers to the next open checkout. So back home with my stuff, Christmas shopping started and a couple new gadgets ready for use.