The new ‘Black Friday’

Published 2:22 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cindy Willoughby, from left, her daughter, Lena Tatem, and Willoughby’s mother, Trish Prince, look up deals on a cellphone while waiting in line at Belk in Franklin on Thursday. -- ANDREW FAISON/TIDEWATER NEWS


FRANKLIN—Trish Prince put up with 38-degree temperatures and a 3 ½-hour wait to be the first in line for Belk’s Black Friday midnight opening; she was looking for the $100 boots on sale for $19.99.

“This is the only sale that I really wanted to come to,” said Prince, 52. “I’m here for the boots.”

Prince was joined by her daughter, Cindy Willoughby, and granddaughter Lena Tatem, all of Gates County, N.C.

Willoughby, 35, said the excitement of being out for Black Friday — the official kickoff of the Christmas shopping season — is a big draw for a lot of people like herself.

The 250 gift cards, ranging from $5 to $1,000, were another nice perk.

For Tatem, it was her first Black Friday.

“I’m here for the experience,” the 19-year-old said. “We went to the early Walmart sale at 8 p.m. and it was pure craziness.”

Willoughby said she could not have imagined all of the sales at the Armory Drive discount department store happening at the same time.

“I’m actually glad that stores are starting sales on Thursday,” Prince said. “I’ve always wanted to shop on Thursday because I need the exercise, and walking in the store is the best way to get it.”

After arriving at Wal-Mart at 20 minutes after the 8 p.m. sale began, Ricky McClenny, 26, couldn’t find a shopping cart and came up with an alternative.

“I looked when I came in and there were no baskets anywhere,” the Courtland man said. “So I found a plastic trash can on wheels and put all of my items in there.”

McClenny said the idea of Black Friday shopping on Thursday is interesting, but believes sales shouldn’t begin before midnight.

“I feel it takes away from the spirit of what is Black Friday,” McClenny said. “ It’s all fun. It’s Black Friday, and that’s what I’m here for.”

Summer Carr, 27, who liked the Thanksgiving Day sales, said Wal-Mart was crazy even with different things going on sale at staggered times.

“This whole event works out better for me since I have to be at work at 6 a.m. and wouldn’t have been able to go to the traditional Black Friday,” Carr said.

Jessica Parr also liked the idea of Thursday sales.

“I’m not the kind of person that is going to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to be here at 5,” the 22-year-old Boykins woman said.

“It’s easier to come out at this time because I have someone to take care of my kids, while I go out and shop.”

A mother of two, Parr was shopping for Christmas gifts and electronics.

Bryce Steele, a junior at Southampton High School, arrived at Walmart at 7:15 p.m. Thursday to purchase a game console to share with his bother.

“I think it’s actually smart because it relieves the stress of actual Black Friday sales,” said Steele, 16. “It should take out what about 40 percent of people so that they can attend other events.”