Black Friday shoppers

After three years of covering Black Friday, I’m beginning to agree with some of the haters.

These people are a little on the crazy side. Full disclosure here, I love shopping. In fact, I may be obsessed. Last year? I started working, talking to Black Friday shoppers at 10 p.m., and finished my story around 6:30 a.m. I hadn’t slept. But I couldn’t resist the urge to swing into the Shopko parking lot and see what I could find. I scored a bunch of great deals, including many Christmas presents for the family, and then headed home to curl up in my warm bed.

But this year the only urge I have is to steer clear of the 41st Street and Louise Avenue. Tempted, yes, to spend the $10 Macy’s coupon in yesterday’s paper. But then I think of crowds, trampled messes, grumpy workers and disorganized “sale” racks and shudder a little bit. 

The thing is, if I’m going to do Black Friday, the whole waited in line in the South Dakota wind and cold for hours on end, and then waiting in line even longer to buy the stuff I want … It better be a stellar deal. A deal I’ll remember forever. Plus, I bargain hunt all the time, and score great deals - all year long.

My sister said yesterday that if she waited in line for 13 hours to buy a TV at Best Buy, she’d be ticked every time she looked at the thing because she’d remember how much time she wasted to get it. Me too. Totally agree.

But these people are different. I think they do it for the sheer adrenaline rush of being amongst the crowds, standing in line and just taking it all in.

Still, what’s surprising to me is some of the people I talked to last night, who remember waiting in line for hours last year at Toys R Us, but couldn’t remember what they bought. Must not have been that cool then, huh?

Or, the people who say if they get something, that’s great, but if they don’t find anything, no biggie. Maybe I’m too competitive that way. If I’m waiting for it, I better get it.

The “freebies” may be the best part of Black Friday. And by that, I mean the best scam of all. These people wait in line for hours, to get some goodie bag that probably costs the manufacturer $2, but customers think it’s valued at $30. I heard Walgreens was giving away a free Redbox rental to the first few customers. Isn’t that worth like, $1.23?

Nope, not worth it. I’ll cuddle with my blanket and have another piece of dessert.

One guy told me he thinks Black Friday is ridiculous, and called it a scam. He said this while waiting in line at Toys R Us, holding his 11-month-old sleeping baby, a half hour before the doors open.

Another guy was wearing a T-shirt and sandals with no socks. At 8:30 p.m. yesterday. I was freezing, wearing boots, two coats, a scarf, hat and gloves. Enough said.

I saved the best for last. The best story I heard last night was this:

Toward the front of the line at Target on Louise Avenue, Tabi Penn of Beresford was wrapped in a blanket, eager to buy towels, gloves and pj’s. It was about 8:15 p.m. and she’d been in line since 5 p.m.

“Don’t forget towels,” she reminded her friends. “They’re only $2.50.”