As sales events encroach on Thanksgiving, Black Friday mellows

kjahner@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2013 

— With more and more stores starting post-Thanksgiving sales on Thursday night instead of waiting for Black Friday, Garner shopping centers by midday Friday remained busy but quieter than on Black Fridays in the past, consistent with the trend Triangle-wide.

By the time the preliminary rush of the retail holiday dissipated, most remaining shoppers expressed lukewarm feelings on the core concept of Black Friday and disagreed with the invasion of Thanksgiving, while many said similar bargains could be found online without the hassle.

“I usually don’t come out at all. I don’t care to fight the crowds,” said Beth Revas of Willow Springs. “I just wanted to go to Kohl’s. I made my husband and son go, and it turned into us going to Target as well.”’

Revas, like many of those interviewed, didn’t like the encroachment of Black Friday into Thanksgiving.

“I think Thanksgiving is a time to be with your family,” Revas said.

None of more than a dozen shoppers interviewed had taken part in the madness Thursday, though a few had joined the rush in the past. For some, the savings and joy of the hunt makes the occasion enjoyable.

“I did it last year. It was fun,” Pam Shirley of Clayton said.

She did not repeat this year to take care of her new granddaughter, whom she held in her arms outside Michael’s at White Oak Crossing. Callie Shirley, standing next to her mother, said she also has done it but didn’t like it as much.

“I did it one time. I’m like my daddy. I don’t have a lot of patience for waiting in line.”

Some see the shopping as a chance to bond. Jake and Laura Wertman, en route to Best Buy seeking nothing in particular, said they have shopped on Black Friday in the past more than now.

“It’s a brother-sister bonding experience,” Laura said on her way into Best Buy with Jake before teasing: “I don’t think he likes it as much. He pushes the cart and I do the shopping.”

And without the initial onslaught, many found the Black Friday crowds manageable this year; Kiesha Green, a first-time Black Friday shopper, thought that Target, crowded but not bursting at the seams, would have been worse.

Many shoppers said they had simply come out for convenience, not for the shopping event. And they typically had little interest in fighting a tidal wave of shoppers.

“We don’t fight that crowd. It’s too crazy,” Alison Klimanskis said.

“You can wait 10-12 hours to shop,” added Nancy Capps, who lives in Charlotte but used to live in Garner and was shopping at Target on Friday.

And with expanding shopping options, many shoppers are eschewing the rush and yet finding what they believe to be comparable savings. Wertman said a lot of the deals she found later in the Christmas shopping season proved comparable, and multiple shoppers said they found Black Friday savings from the comfort of home.

“Only when I’m forced to,” Ray Honeycutt said when asked about shopping on Black Friday. “I can do just as well online.”

Honeycutt also expressed sympathy for the people who found themselves working on on Thanksgiving.

“I think it’s unfortunate for all the employees at the stores. You’d think opening at 6 a.m. would be enough.”

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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