Chill doesn’t deter shoppers after deals
Posted: November 24, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — For $720 in savings, Tedder Reed and his two children forgot about the chilly weather and a cold sidewalk while camping outside the Best Buy store for more than 12 hours on Thanksgiving Day.
First in line, the family’s plan was to snag three 40-inch Toshiba LCD television sets — marked down from $419 to $179 — when the store opened at midnight.
While Reed and his two children — Ian, 12, and Lauren, 9 — warmed up with sleeping bags and movies, Della Reed shuttled hot chocolate (Thursday’s low was 26 degrees) and Thanksgiving leftovers to her family.
“She’s our relief driver,” Reed said. “She comes and brings us supplies.”
Black Friday came earlier this year, as many area retailers welcomed shoppers at midnight. Toys R Us, Walmart and Sears got an even bigger head start by opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
By Thursday afternoon, hundreds of people wound outside the Target and Old Navy stores off Pleasant Valley Road.
At Best Buy, those in line Thursday night were in high spirits.
Supplied with Waffle House hot chocolate, they tossed footballs, cuddled in sleeping bags or made music.
Shenandoah University sophomore Benjamin Simmons, who plays in the school’s jazz band, offered Christmas tunes on his saxophone.
“Most of the time, people come out with a bad attitude,” he said. “It’s cold, and there’s pushing. I just want to bring something good.”
Standing nearby, 50-year-old Kenneth Ritter of Winchester entertained his neighbors in line by singing “This Little Light of Mine” and John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”
He stood in line for the 40-inch Toshiba TV set after coming to the conclusion that his 9-inch set at home wasn’t sufficient.
“Whenever it gets dark, I can’t see anything,” Ritter said. “I just have to sit there and imagine what’s happening.”
Old Navy opened at midnight with 700 people waiting in line, according to store manager Andy Hoge.
Some of the hot-ticket items included jeans and fleece items on sale for $15 and $5, respectively.
Maria Myers, 14, and her mother Tamitha, 43, both from West Virginia, started their shopping spree at 8 p.m. Thursday at Walmart. At 5:30 a.m. Friday they were trying on bargain-priced fleeces at the large store on Pleasant Valley.
“We kind of got a second wind,” Tamitha said. “We got a little tired there for a bit.”
Although the mother-daughter duo participated in the shopping extravaganza, they admitted they’re not diehards.
“I don’t have to have anything,” Tamitha said. “I come for the fun of it.”
The J.C. Penney store opened its doors at 6 a.m. Friday.
Not long after the lights turned on, lines began forming behind the cash register, with customers holding large boxes containing crock pots, coffee pots and toasters — on sale from $20-$30 down to $8.
Niki Himelright, 29, and Tina Davis, 38, both of Frederick County, started at 8 p.m. Thursday. By Friday, they were winding down by stocking up with 12 boxes of appliances — bringing their Black Friday purchases to $800 each.
“We scoped out the sales papers,” Himelright said, laughing.
The duo had so many boxes that they had to use one of the store’s large steel inventory carts to carry everything around, causing confusion for other customers who believed the items were part of the store’s stock.
All of the activity took its toll on the shoppers.
“We’re tired,” Himelright said. “This is the last stop.”
Going easy on the Black Friday fun were Strasburg residents Sue Horton, 68, Kim Rush, 42, and Horton’s two teenage grandchildren.
“We just like being out and being together,” Horton said. “We like to walk our Thanksgiving turkey off, too.”
This year, the gang started at 6 a.m. Friday. Last year, they started six hours sooner, at midnight..
“It was a disaster,” Rush said of the 2011 shopping trip. “I was in the car asleep by 6 [a.m.] waiting for them.”
— Contact Rebecca Layne at email@example.com