For shoppers this year, Black Friday (excuse me, Black Thursday) is not a marathon. It is a sprint. When most people can barely get off the couch after overindulging in their Thanksgiving feast, thousands of shoppers lined up to take advantage of this year’s additional discounts.
With Wal-Mart opening earlier than usual this year, shoppers stood by their prized possessions until workers screamed, “GO!” It was a free-for-all as shoppers sped through aisles, grabbing the latest Call of Duty Xbox game, half-price appliances and flat screen TV’s.
"What size do you need," one Wal-Mart shopper screamed across the aisle as she chunked a couple of boxes of cotton sheets in the air to her friend.
This year, Wal-Mart had three different sales which started at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday, November 22 and another at 5 a.m. on Friday, November 23. A family of four split up and strategically placed each family member at a different “time sensitive item” station throughout the store. There, they stood for hours with their hands on the item waiting for the nearby Wal-Mart employee to give them the go-ahead.
As bystanders watched and waited for their items in store at Wal-Mart, shoppers anxiously awaited outside to get into Target’s new 9 p.m. sale Thursday night. Dozens of Target employees walked around asking shoppers what they were waiting for.
“If you’re waiting for the 50-inch Westinghouse HDTV, then that won’t be available until 4 a.m.,” screamed one Target employee.
The line snaked from the front doors of Target all the way into the next shopping center and Target employees were giving out free energy bars and coffee to those in line. Some shoppers had been waiting in line all day and others were waiting in their cars until all the shoppers in line burst their way into the store.
If standing in an incredibly long line sounds silly to you, then some shoppers waiting anxiously at Best Buy will be sure to tickle your funny bone. Alongside the entrance at multiple Best Buy stores were more than a handful of tents set up.
“I’ve been waiting here since 7:30 a.m.,” said Emmanuel Diaz, who was at Best Buy waiting to get a 40-inch flat screen Toshiba HDTV. “I’m in it to win it!”
If tents are too much for you, then Kohl’s was the place to be during Black Friday. Kohl’s is traditionally known for its excellent sales and long lines on Black Friday. While standing in line, shoppers were planning how they would break up their time so they didn’t miss Black Friday sales at the mall.
“I didn’t get up early enough,” said a Kohl’s shopper waiting in line with her husband and son. “The lines are too long and I still have to get to jcpenney. You’ll have to drop me off at the front door and you can go to the men’s side and I will go to the women’s.”
To my surprise, after standing in line for 15 minutes, I was greeted by Kohl’s worker Nilou Far. She was still pleasant and cheerful after standing on her feet for five hours.
After getting out of Kohl’s in a surprisingly timely manner, most mall shoppers were circling for a place to park and dropping off their kids at any entrance that didn't already have a line. At around 10 a.m., most mall shoppers were sitting down or taking a break at the food court to re-energize so they could continue their day of shopping at Macy’s, Sears, jcpenney and all the specialty shops.
With such a large crowd in every store I visited this Black Friday, it was refreshing to see families shopping, dining together and enjoying the holiday weekend. With every push, shove and long line each shopper had to endure this weekend, I wonder how many people will still be excited about shopping on Cyber Monday?