For the folks out shopping late Thursday night and early Friday morning at the Quintard Mall and Oxford Exchange, the urge to participate in Black Friday seems too good to pass up.
The big post-Thanksgiving shopping day came early this year, with stores such as Walmart and Target opening Thursday night, rather than the traditional midnight or Friday morning opening.
“That it opens early certainly helps,” said Neil Shupe of Anniston, who was able to get in and out of Target at the Oxford Exchange in under an hour after the store opened at 9 p.m. Thursday. Shupe snagged a brand new 40-inch television.
“Also, the weather is nice, which is good too,” he said.
Shupe said this was the first time he’d ever participated in Black Friday. But for others, it’s not an event to be taken lightly, rain or shine.
“It’s definitely the deals,” said Cynthia McPherson of Anniston, while waiting in line before the midnight opening of Kohl’s, on why her and her sister get to the stores as early as possible every year. “It’s not worth it if you’re only going to save $20, but if you’re going to save hundreds of dollars on stuff you wouldn’t be able to buy otherwise, it’s definitely worth it.”
Samantha Matthews of McComb, Miss., and her two stepdaughters, Olivia Matthews and Heather Bouan of Sardis said Black Friday has become an annual tradition for them. While taking a quick break outside of Target around 11 p.m. Thursday, they said they’d been shopping since 5 p.m., and planned to still be at it long after the sun came up Friday.
“With the stores opening earlier, there’s more time to spend with family,” Samantha said. “So that’s a good thing.”
And as Black Friday gets longer, it seems the budget for those shopping gets bigger too.
“We’re spending way more this year,” Bouan said. “Kids just keep getting more expensive.”
Even for those going alone, being part of the largest day in retail shopping is too good a tradition to pass up. Andy McCall drove to the Oxford Exchange from Lineville at 5 p.m. to grab a spot in line outside Best Buy in hopes of getting some the big-ticket electronic items before they ran out.
“I went last year with a lot of my friends, so I had to come again this year,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s ‘fun,’ but it’s something you got to do.”
But at least one customer out shopping late Thursday night had a more succinct answer. A woman, who declined to give her name, who waiting in line three hours before the midnight opening at Kohl’s in Oxford, summed up the mad rush for the best deals in the late hours and early morning with a clinical diagnosis.
“We’re all insane,” she said with a laugh.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star