Early-bird shoppers know that Black Friday doesn’t start on Friday anymore.
“If you’re here at 5 a.m. Friday, you’re late to the party. Everyone else has been shopping for eight hours already,” said Clinton Fain, 27, standing at the front of a crowd that waited for Sears to open at the Augusta Mall early Friday morning. Like many shoppers, he had been shopping through the night to make the most of Black Friday sales that started on Thanksgiving.
“We started at Walmart at 9 p.m. (Thursday),” the Augusta resident said. “It was crazy. People got angry. Stuff went fast.”
His fiancée, Brooke Gilmer, said they stood in line for two hours to check out. After Walmart, they hit Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, then Sears.
“I feel like a zombie,” Fain said. “I could drop right now.”
Andrea Skywark of Grovetown is a seasoned Black Friday shopper, and says this is the first year she’s pulled an all-nighter.
She and her friend Tara Mason started at Kohl’s, then went to Walmart Thursday evening.
“We didn’t head out until 11 p.m.,” Mason said. “We like to eat our Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Let Thanksgiving be Thanksgiving,” she said. “I wish they’d push back the sales to 4 a.m., like they used to be.”
The two also shopped Macy’s, where they found good deals on kitchen supplies, Bath & Body Works, and the food court at the mall, which was packed with shoppers.
Nearly half of Americans – an estimated 152 million people – will shop today, Saturday and Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s up from 138 million last year.
“Last year, I don’t think there were as many people,” Skywark said. “There weren’t as many mall stores open this early. This year, 75 percent of the stores are open and it’s only 4 a.m.”
The pair decided to hit a few more shops before calling it a night.
“I can assure you that my butt will be in bed by 8 a.m.,” Skywark said. “You can only shop for so long.”
Falon Wren and her family shopped the mall before lining up for the 5 a.m. opening of Dick’s Sporting Goods.
They started shopping at Walmart at 6 p.m. Thursday, but didn’t check out until past 11 p.m.
“We were there forever,” said Wren, who shopped with her 10-year-old daughter, BreAnne Page.
“We did find good deals on toys, games, movies, those kinds of things.”
They also visited Old Navy, where they waited in line at 11 p.m. Thursday, but weren’t able to enter the stores due to crowds until 12:45 a.m. Friday.
“We bought scarves for $1,” Page said.
The family planned on brunch at Golden Corral before calling it quits.
“I feel like I’ve been shopping for days,” Wren said.
Outside Staples at the Augusta Exchange, Kerry Towne of Barnwell, S.C., lined up at 1:30 a.m. today to be the first in line for the store opening at 6 a.m. She hoped to save several hundred dollars on laptops, Kindles and tablets.
An hour before opening, store employees handed out Krispy Kreme doughnuts and orange juice.
Towne started her shopping Thursday evening at Kohl’s in Evans, where she bought gifts for family and a $400 pair of earrings for herself, on sale for $99.
“I think I saved a total of $720 at Kohl’s,” she said. “I should be able to save at least that much at Staples, too.”
After checking out, Towne said she might hit a few more stores, but most likely, she’ll make the drive back to Barnwell.
“I’m getting some coffee and going home,” Towne said. “It’s time for bed.”