Readers share their best Black Friday stories
By Aimee Heckel
For some of us, like Annie in Colorado, Black Friday feels like all hype with major letdown. A few years ago, she saw an ad for a free printer at Best Buy. She took the day off work, went to bed early, set her alarm clock to wake up in the middle of the night, made a steaming cup of coffee and headed to the store.
She got schooled.
She had vastly underestimated the other shoppers’ commitment, and as she eyed the line around the building, she realized she didn’t stand a chance. But she was up anyway. Might as well just check things out, right?
After standing in the icy morning air long enough to chill her coffee, finally the doors opened. The crowd pushed Annie through the doors, where she stood, paralyzed — completely bewildered and overwhelmed — for about 10 minutes, before she silently turned and walked back to her car. Tail between legs.
Never again, she says. She’s not cut out for that kind of competitive shopping.
In honor of Black Friday — whether you were one of the gold-medalist shoppers out there this year, or whether you sat at home far away from the chaos — we asked readers to submit their favorite Black Friday stories with us. Here’s what they shared.
“I have gone to the Mall of America every Black Friday for the past six years. I know that Minneapolis is way more exciting. One Black Friday, I was standing in Macy’s on the second floor, and I could feel the floor underneath me moving up and down, there were so many people there. And I have stood in lines that wrapped all the way around Target and then back through the parking lot.”
– Savannah, of Longmont, Colo.
“I was called stupid and fat when I worked at Nordstrom a few years ago. I wanted to ask her if her grandkids hated her. Ask me why I’m not in retail anymore.”
– Jess, of Denver
“When we first moved here, the retail area near my house was new. And Black Friday was a new concept, too. And so the rent-a-cops were really hostile and kicked everybody out of the premises when they camped out for door-buster stuff. So people would scatter. And then regroup. Off and on all night from midnight until the stores opened.”
– Ray, of Detroit
“I stay awake 30-plus hours straight and spend roughly 24 of said hours shopping. I go hard, son, armed with my bag of ads, folder of coupons I’ve been compiling for weeks, thermos of coffee and other snacks.”
– Deana, of Fort Collins, Colo.
“This one time, this unnamed newspaper sent me to Walmart at 3 a.m. I managed to wedge myself into the electronics section. Big mistake. Huge. I could not move for over an hour. However, the wall of human flesh allowed me the cover I needed to whip out the old notepad and start interviewing my neighbors. After squeezing out the front without any merchandise, security stopped me. Apparently it’s suspicious to be in a Walmart at 3 a.m. and not leave with a pile of junk.”
– Heath, of Denver
“Black Friday used to be fun but then they moved it to Thanksgiving and now I don’t go anymore.”
– Becky, of Seattle
“I got the last Walmart bike once. My son was 3. I felt bad for the lady in line behind me — but it was a sweet bike.”
– Laura, of Loveland, Colo.
“I used to map out where I would need to go based on importance of sale item, time store opened (3 a.m. verses 5 a.m., etc.) and route. I would also go to stores ahead of time and hide items in baby crib displays that were high up so that no one would buy or find my items when I came in on sale day. Truth.”
– Rebecca, of Portland