The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 23, 2012

Black Friday or Black Thursday? Shoppers unenthused about earlier open times

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Many loyal shoppers are eating their turkey dinners earlier and earlier to cash in on big deals on Black Friday.

Major retailers Target and Wal-Mart began their sales at 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday, leaving shoppers with little time to celebrate Thanksgiving before snagging a prime spot in line.

Alyssa Kenney and Michael Peters of Clinton snatched the coveted first spot in line at Target on Thursday, but it took dedication.

“I ate Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30 p.m. and got here around 2 p.m.,” Peters said.

The two brought lawn chairs, an umbrella and bundled up as dedicated three-year Black Friday veterans. Peters even took a nap. Both were in agreement that they preferred the midnight open time.

“I would much rather prefer midnight or Friday morning,” Kenney said.

As usual, electronics topped nearly everyone’s list of things to get. Televisions, game systems, iPods, movies and toys were some of the most desirable items. For some it was a year to get more basic items.

“I’m hoping to get some toys for my nieces,” Travis Drury said. “I’m thinking Nerfs and Barbies.”

Drury and friend Stephen Harrison arrived at 3:30 p.m. to stakeout their spot. While they were not fans of the earlier open times, there was no way shopping was going to take over their Thanksgiving plans.

“It’s just too early,” Harrison said. “It worked out well this year, but there is no way I would be here if this encroached on my Thanksgiving plans.”

Many other shoppers, like Darcy Berggren of Maquoketa and Dawn Gardener of Charlotte, were in unison about the materialistic event taking over the thankful holiday.

“Thanksgiving is for Thanksgiving,” Berggren said. “It’s called Black Friday for a reason.”

For some Target was a one-stop shop, but for others it was a beginning to a nightlong and morning adventure. Wal-Mart and Kohl’s were also shopping meccas as well as stores in the Quad-Cities. Todd and Jason Manon of Albany and Fulton had plans to cover Target and Wal-Mart and then come back for Blain’s Farm and Fleet and Office Max in the wee hours of the morning.

“It’s a family tradition,” Jason said. “I just help get the gifts, but never get anything for myself. I’m kind of the runner.”

The father and son passed the time standing in line by making new friends and playing games on their phones. Friend Tyler Brown of Clinton was also an experienced Black Friday shopper.

“I’ve been going to Black Friday since I can remember,” Brown said. “My grandparents used to take me.”

So despite the undesirable opening times and the usual long waiting time in line, Black Friday enthusiasts left with a smile and, of course, not empty handed.