I was just finishing up interviewing some shop owners and a few late customers carrying bags stuffed with Black Friday bargains when I spotted a figure huddled near the ground holding a going-out-0f-business sign on the corner of 15th and Bryant in Edmond. At first I wasn’t even sure there was a person holding the sign, maybe it was just a large pile of clothing.
Walking closer, I came upon Gary Chambers, bundled from head to toe except for his blue eyes. Chambers currently resides at City Rescue Mission in Oklahoma City and was hired for a six-hour shift to hold the sign for Bombay & Co. in Spring Creek Plaza. For his time, he’ll earn $30.
There were two other men holding signs on opposite corners.
It’s a pretty cold day outside with temperatures barely making it into the 40s, and windy, so I had one of those stupid reporter moments and blurted out, “Is this job even worth $30?”
“It’s better than sitting around at the shelter all day,” Chambers said.
I took the easy road this morning and didn’t check on Black Friday shopping until after 10 a.m. By that time, I figured the hard-core shoppers would be headed home and the lines would be down to near nothing. Wrong.
I headed to Kohl’s at Danforth and Santa Fe in Edmond. The parking lot was packed, my first clue. Inside the store, the line for the cash registers stretched from the front of the store to the rear.
One guy said, “I guess I should have gotten up at 4 a.m. after all.”
Another lady stopped and asked, “What is this line for?” “Check out,” somebody told her. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding,” she said. Nope. People never get enough.
Black Friday shoppers search through CDs after the doors opened at 5:00 AM at the Best Buy store on North May Avenue in Oklahoma City. Shoppers at many stores camped out the day before.
Oklahomans have been out and about today trying to catch the best deals. Click here to see who’s out there.
If you’ve spent today at the usual Black Friday stops–Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, etc.–chances are you’ve run into one of these women.
Hailing from Duncan and Tulsa, they call themselves “Just the Girls” and refer to the day after Thanksgiving as their “Annual Hunt.”
After almost 10 years together, the group has grown to 14. This is the first year they designed their own red “Hunting for a Bargain” T-shirts, featuring a woman in camo.
Although they say their shop-a-thon is strictly for fun, they mean business.
Today they started at 6 a.m. at the Wal-Mart in Duncan and made their way to Oklahoma City in four cars. They suspect their day won’t end until 9 p.m. tonight at an Olive Garden–their annual Black Friday dinner tradition.
If you see them, be sure to say hello!
–SARA GANUS, Business Writer 10:50 a.m.
Department stores aren’t the only ones attracting early-bird shoppers.
Customers looking for a caffeine buzz immediately formed a line at the Starbucks in Penn Square Mall at 6 a.m.
–SARA GANUS, Business Writer
I’ve never not shopped on the day after Thanksgiving.Retailers call it “Black Friday” but I call it nirvana.Sales sales everywhere!For a dedicated shopper, Black Friday is like the Superbowl, minus the cheerleaders, but keeping the occasional tackling maneuver.
So it is with great dismay that I vowed NOT to shop today. I’m done with my holiday gifts because we paired back our list this year. We’ve got no room for more holiday decorations. I have no relatives in town to entertain at the local mall.
And I almost made it.
I’d like to say my car suddenly came alive and forced me into the Macy’s parking lot that just happens to be on my way to work. But it wasn’t the car — it was the $10 off coupon burning a hole in my pocket.
So yes, Santa, I was naughty. But there’s a certain little girl who’s going to get a Hanna Montana T-shirt to wear to the concert next month. As thrilling to her, as the coupon was to me.
Susan Simpson, Staff Writer
Some customers at Best Buy, 5801 N May Ave., complained about the lack of security before doors opened today at 5 a.m.
Those who arrived Thursday afternoon or early Friday said people were cutting to the front of the line to try to snag the store’s doorbuster vouchers.
“A bunch of kids came, and they just kept piling in,” said Leif Fisher, 57, from California, who had been in line since 6 p.m. Thursday.
John Butler, 27, from Little Axe, said he eventually called police.
“It just wasn’t right,” he said. “They roll in an hour or two before and want to get all the stuff that everybody else has been waiting 14 hours for.”
Butler and Fisher said Best Buy’s security showed up around 3 a.m. this morning.
–SARA GANUS, Business Writer 10:24 a.m.
I was a first-time early bird this morning, braving the cold weather only for my two teens whose paternal grandparents had gifted them with substantial pre-Christmas cash.
Of course my daughter was up by 3:30 a.m. , wanting to head out to the stores at that hour. Her brother and I snoozed some more and we finally made it out of the house by 5:30 a.m. We thought we’d go and try to snag one of the 500 goodie bags that Quail Springs Mall was giving away to the first customers.
Here’s the thing: When we got there about 5:55, the line to get a goodie back snaked along the mall. We figured a lot of the people got into the mall through the stores that had the early-early sales — 4 a.m. — like JC Penney.
We didn’t want to lose any shopping time standing in the long line so we just headed to the stores. It was amazing to see all those people — bright-eyed and ready to shop — at the time I’m usually still trying to rub the sleep out of my eyes.
Hey, the kids loved it though. They think we should make this a tradition.
I don’t know about that, but at least I can say I made the early-bird shopping rounds at least once.
My hat goes off to all the “oldtimers” who’ve made this a habit for years.
Usually I’m about four-deep when I go to buy my breakfast at the rural conveinence store I stop by each morning in Logan County. Today at 7 a.m., I was the line. So I figure the majority of people were either hunting bargains, hunting deer or sleeping. Now, I have to admit, I thought about it last night. I thought about getting up and taking my daughter to a 4 a.m. sale and then coming in to work. And I have hit those early sales before. But not today. Maybe next year. But today, I was just happy being the one-person line.
Sadly, I missed my first opportunity to witness any pushing or shoving through the department store’s doors.
I went inside, and the crowd was surprisingly sparse. Maybe this Black Friday thing isn’t that crazy after all—I actually got a great parking spot, and everybody seemed happy to be there.
The greeter handed shoppers a free Mickey Mouse snow globe with a $10 off “bonus savings coupon” on any single store purchase of $50 or more Saturday–clearly a way to lure shoppers back another day.
Looking back, I guess that was the calm before the storm.
Within 15 minutes, my claustrophobia was setting in as it got harder to maneuver around the friends, families and wife-with-reluctant-husband duos going after their wish lists with newspaper ads in hand.
At Best Buy, it was five times worse.
Determined to see an authentic Black Friday store opening, I left Penney’s at 4:15 a.m. for the Best Buy on May Avenue.
What I saw there was both shocking and admittedly humorous.
At the front of the line that weaved to the other side of the strip mall was a group of twenty-somethings who had camped out in a tent since 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. With cots, laptops and a propane heater, the group clearly was stopping at nothing—for the second consecutive year—to get their LCD televisions, MP3 players and digital cameras.
They weren’t shopping for their families; they were shopping for themselves.
Now I know these insane shoppers really do exist!
I guess it was worth it to them, though, when Best Buy’s doors opened at 5 a.m. They entered the store flailing their arms and yelling, leading a pack of at least a couple hundred other eager customers.
Before I left, I saw one of the guys from the tent leave with a cart-full of everything he had wanted, and I was happy for him.
–SARA GANUS, Business Writer 7:55 a.m.