- Last Updated on 07:41 AM 11/26/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
It seems the holiday for giving thanks may be taking a back seat to shopping enthusiasm with many stores starting what used to be known as “Black Friday” sales on Thursday evening.
This year local shopping madness got under way on Gray Thursday as many county residents headed to area stores after Thanksgiving dinner to snag retail deals once reserved for the early morning of “Black Friday.”
No parking spaces could be found at Walmart by 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving with overflow shoppers being forced to park in the nearby Heritage House parking lot.
Shoppers started lining up as early as 8 p.m. Thursday for the midnight opening at Belk in Hupps Mill Plaza.
Some brought their chairs and blankets and made themselves at home on the sidewalk with the line extending all the way to Advance Auto by the time the store opened.
Janice Wallace and her children, Brandy, Jason and Sarah, all of Halifax, made Gray Thursday and Black Friday shopping a family affair hitting Walmart and Belk for the deals.
Jason patiently waited in line at Walmart from 7:15 to 10 p.m. to snag a 40” television, while mom Janice got caught up in the mad dash to buy bath towels.
Nearby things got a little crazy in the line for bed sheets. As the Wallace clan watched, people started pushing and shoving, so store associates moved the sheets back behind a set of double doors forcing each shopper to have to individually ask an associate for the specific color and size set of sheets they wanted to purchase.
Meanwhile, at Belk, Brandy said following a one-hour wait, she successfully purchased a pair of casual boots.
Sarah bought some pillows and a griddle to make pancakes at college and lots of DVDs.
“I just wanted to go and watch the people,” Janice said.
Another Walmart shopper, Nicole Davis Marshall of Halifax, got caught up in the Black Friday shopping event spending much of her time in the toy section.
“I came to get toys that were on sale, and there was still a crowd then (later on that day).”
Earlier, Marshall traveled to Danville to scope out the stores before returning to finish her shopping at the South Boston stores.
Amy Carrington of South Boston also was among area shoppers at Belk and Walmart late Thursday.
“This was my second year going shopping on Black Friday, and it was just as crazy as the first year. Fortunately, I got everything I came out for and more without getting trampled on,” Carrington said.
The big rush seemed to be late Thursday evening and in the wee hours of Friday morning, shoppers said, and by 4 a.m. Friday, much of the hype and frenzy often found on “Black Friday” had lessened at area stores.
By midafternoon, area stores remained packed and parking spaces were still hard to come by, but “Black Friday” shoppers seemed more relaxed than earlier that morning.
Then again on Saturday, easy-going post-post-turkey day shoppers made their way to some of the small town businesses to spend their hard-earned dollars on Small Business Saturday.
Today, those shoppers who refused to brave the Thanksgiving weekend shopping rush or who made a conscious decision to keep Thanksgiving family-oriented, can do their hectic Christmas shopping online on Cyber Monday, a marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday created by companies to persuade people to shop online.
Last year Cyber Week saw American consumers spend over $6 billion online from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.