Making deals, friends, on Black Friday
Despite the bitter cold, shoppers lined up at local retailers Friday morning, some standing around makeshift fire pits or sitting inside tents – all eager to save some money on Black Friday sales.
Lines at Target and Kohl’s were estimated to be in the hundreds by early morning, as well as Best Buy at Topsy Lane. And while most said the discounts inside made standing in frigid temperatures tolerable, many said Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, is a social experience, too.
By 4:30 a.m., a line of a couple hundred shivering shoppers had wrapped around Best Buy’s exterior. In the front of it was Christopher Thompson, 31, who was waiting for the doors to open at 5 a.m.
He said it was his turn to wait in line after his friends and wife started taking shifts at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Their mission: Buying an electronic reader for his wife’s friend.
“I’m standing in line for a friend, I’ve only been here since midnight,” Thompson said. “Well, my wife’s friend is wanting a Nook in there, I think it’s a hundred bucks. Somehow I got drafted into doing this for other people.”
About 50 people down the line stood Travis Lersch, 19, who had brought a steel drum to serve as a fire pit. A small crowd gathered around it, Starbucks coffees in hand. They said they all pitched in to buy firewood.
“Everyone seems to like me,” Lersch said.
He said he had been in line since
9 p.m. Thursday, hoping for a chance to buy a Toshiba laptop for $180, but did not get one of the coveted tickets handed to shoppers in line to make the purchase. He instead planned to buy a fax and printer for his Dayton business.
“We came into it not really knowing what to expect, just knowing it was going to be cold,” Lersch said. “Slowly but surely everybody kind of opened up to us. We just made a couple good friends.”
As he was making his way into the store, Richard Nalder, 24, said he showed up for a PlayStation 3 and a couple of games for $299.
“I come out almost every year to people-watch mostly,” Nalder said. “This is actually my first year trying to buy something.”
Joannie Artman, 53, a Best Buy employee, equated the Black Friday rush to a rock concert as customers poured through the doors, making their way for TVs, MP3 players, laptops and video games.
“When those doors open it’s like they are ready to get the front row seats,” said Artman, who has worked three Black Fridays, including one at Old Navy.
“Last year there was a little bit more only because the weather wasn’t as cold,” she said.
Mary Ann Iverson, the store manager at the Carson City Kohl’s, which opened at 3 a.m., said the line wrapped around the entire building before it opened.
“I would probably say 500 or 600 people have been here today,” she said, adding, “We’re happy.”
Mike Williams, 49, and his daughter Nicole, 19, were on their third stop as they waited in the checkout line at Kohl’s to buy some Christmas gifts.
“It’s something different,” Mike Williams said of his first Black Friday experience.
At their first stop, Target, Nicole said, “people were walking out with TVs left and right.”
Erin Anderson, 29, was also on the hunt for TVs Friday morning, but didn’t make it to Walmart in time – the TV she was hoping for had been picked over. She went to Office Depot as a back-up plan.
“It’s definitely worth it,” Anderson said, adding she’s been shopping on Black Fridays for four years and has saved hundreds of dollars each time. “It’s not too bad. It’s only 11 degrees out here.”
Crystal Cantua, 36, was second in line at Carson City’s Big Lots on Friday morning, waiting for her chance to buy an $18 video camera for her child. She said she usually doesn’t do Black Friday shopping, but couldn’t pass up the deal.
“I’ve only gone to Walmart one time, and I don’t want to do that again,” Cantua said.
Matt Furedy, 35, was the first customer to make his purchase at Best Buy Friday morning after waiting in line since 2:30 a.m. for a Nintendo Wii, which included a $30 discount.
Did he think standing in line in the bitter cold was worth it?
“My wife thinks so,” he said with a grin.