Long waits, deep discounts during shopping blitz
November 24, 2006
Kristina Cormier and Lanaia Lammay’s Black Friday shopping experience started before the turkey dinner, with a survey of the advertisement circulars and a delineated shopping strategy penned inside Lammay’s coupon clutch.
Their early-morning wait at Wal-Mart and quick jumps to other area retailers is an annual tradition for the Douglas County sisters-in-law.
“We write down every store we’re going to, we know what we’re getting at every story and we’re in line early in front of the door,” said Lammay, a stay-at-home mom.
The largest and most promoted shopping day of the year brings large profits to many retailers, putting them “in the black.” The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales will rise 5 percent this year to $457.4 billion. According to a recent poll from Consumer Reports, an estimated 63 million Americans started the holiday shopping season Friday. Many Carson City shoppers said they were using cash, rather than rack up debt on credit cards.
After the 4:30 a.m. visit to Wal-Mart, the duo, with Cormier’s 8-week-old son Arrigo in tow, headed to J.C. Penney. At 6 a.m. they picked up the annual snow globe door prize (“I don’t know how many of these I have,” Lammay said, “Definitely more than five.”) and Christmas dresses for their daughters.
While flipping through the racks of velvet holiday dresses festooned with red bows, the two mothers said they’ve saved for four months to spend $1,000 each on Christmas gifts.
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They got what they wanted at Wal-Mart. Cormier said she picked up a $50 digital music player and a $55 sewing machine. Others didn’t leave with the same feeling of Christmas accomplishment.
Some were disappointed with the limited number of discounted merchandise used to tempt shoppers into the store. Kelly and Shane Frerking, of Carson City, stood in line inside Wal-Mart for a 52-inch projection TV but left empty handed and a little disgruntled.
Because of miscounting or a line cut, no one knows for sure, the Frerkings did not get a rain check on the $474 television that they had expected. After a high-tension wrangle with managers, and churlish words from another Wal-Mart shopper, the Frerkings get their name on a list.
“We’re hoping that maybe someone who has a rain check won’t have the money,” Kelly Frerking said.
April Arden, of Carson City, calls Black Friday the “American holiday.” She shopped with her mother, Carolyn Parker, for their sons, 8-year-old Trevor Arden and 13-year-old Tyler Parker. They’re getting formula racing radio-controlled cars for Christmas.
“Only Americans go crazy like this,” Arden said.
Friday promotions and doorbuster prices worked for Best Buy, which had a line around the building before opening at 5 a.m. and a full parking lot throughout the morning.
Jonathan Teran, 19, and his family were in line at 4:40 a.m. He said shoppers seemed to be orderly – so far.
The Teran family missed the sunrise over the north Douglas County parking lot as they waited in line with their digital camcorders, cameras and PlayStation 2.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.