The Richmond Register

Local News

November 24, 2012

‘Black Friday makes me see red’

Register staffer participates in ‘shopping madness’ for first time


“This is like a zombie apocalypse – but with live people,” my partner Jimmy said Thursday night as we tried to drop in for a few groceries at Walmart. It was stupid of us; I know that now (Stop shaking your head at me).

I’m usually content with ordering all of my Christmas gifts online and paying that extra in shipping just to avoid the madness of holiday shopping. Because of my lack of Black Friday experience, however, I didn’t know how crazy it could get.  We tried to gauge the crowd Thursday night by how many spots were left in the parking lot. It was 6 p.m. and the sales didn’t start until 8 p.m., we had time right? Wrong.

The “people-herding” rails, caution tape and emergency cones were already in place. Security officers stood stoically next to stacks of toys, electronics and 300-thread count bed sheets.

 We maneuvered our cart through the dairy section and saw people sitting on the edges of the coolers. “Why are people waiting in line to buy eggs?” Jimmy asked.

I giggled at his naivety – I may be Black Friday stupid, but I knew people weren’t waiting for eggs.

“No honey,” I said, “these people are waiting for that 40-inch television about a mile over that way.”

We needed shampoo, so we head over to the personal-care section where merchandise bundled with plastic wrap was stacked between the aisles. Customers were standing around the bundles with one hand touching it to claim their spots. It’s like when you were a kid and you took one bite of every cookie so nobody else could have them.

Argh! I just wanted to get some shampoo, and these people were in the way. But then I realized that we were the ones out of place.

I ducked under some caution tape and apologized to someone standing in line. “I’m just getting some rice,” I said. “You’re here for groceries?” The man asked incredulously.

As we left the lot, I saw a nearby restaurant selling parking spots for $5 each. Just as I was about to say, “Nobody’s going to pay $5 to park near Walmart,” cars started pulling in.

Cars circled like vultures for any remaining spots. Apparently we were the only ones leaving. Everyone else was in for the long haul.   

Although I get all highbrow about not participating in the Black Friday madness, I am a little jealous of those who stick it through for the bargains. My brothers waited for an hour to buy a 32-inch television for my grandfather. Their line snaked through five grocery aisles, but they only paid $140 for a TV that retails for about $300. That’s worth it, right?

Oh, and did anyone get the memo? Black Friday starts on Thursday now. And no, I’m not talking about camping out Thursday night for the early bird specials. I’m saying you have to wrap up your Thanksgiving feast early Thursday to make it to the pre-Black Friday sales. Black Friday has gotten even more competitive, and as I’ve heard some complain, it’s cutting into the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Bill Birkenmeier, the store manager at J.C. Penney in Richmond, said when he came to work this morning at 3:45 a.m., people were snuggled up in a sleeping bag to wait for the store’s opening at 6 a.m. Now that’s dedication.

But, just like most people, I’ve got a kid to buy for. I don’t have a lot of money, so I have to make those limited resources stretch as far as they can. With two Black Friday coupons and just $50, I braved the crowd at Kohl’s on Friday morning.

I showed up and the parking lot wasn’t full. “It’ll be alright,” I thought. “Put your big-girl britches on and do this.”

The shopping part wasn’t so bad. They didn’t have any buggies left, but I’m used to buying only what I can carry. It’s kind of a policy of mine when I go shopping for non-necessities ? only buy what I can carry. Believe me, I’ve gotten pretty creative with that.

Anyhow, I go up front to find a line, which turned out to be a big mistake. The lines didn’t start up front.

I made my way to the back of the line, which I found in the back of the store. As I firmly planted myself in a spot, the lady in front of me waved to her friend to join her. I found myself immediately getting angry. I wanted to protest, but my hands were full, and shopping had just taken all the fight out of me.  

 I overheard one guy who said this was his third visit, and he had been there at midnight when the store opened. In the wee hours of the morning, he said, there had been two lines that wrapped around both sides of the store. He waited more than an hour to check out, he said.

That didn’t sound promising to me.

As I stood in line, my hand going numb from balancing my purchases, I watched shoppers walk by searching for the end of the line. Their facial expressions went from anxious to disbelief when they discovered the line went back farther than they thought. I imagine I looked the same way when I came to that realization, too.

I snapped a photo of the line from the back of the store and texted it to my co-worker Ronica Shannon. “In line at Kohl’s. Be there … tomorrow. lol,” the text read.  

Surprisingly, the line moved quickly. Sales associates were directing customers to each register and the cashiers were moving as fast as they could go.

Although I never buy anything at full price during the rest of the year, I walked out of that store with a newfound sense of accomplishment – as well as three awesome Christmas presents, a toddler-sized Oxford shirt and some new kicks for my son Ryker. My receipt says I saved $135.59 (cha-ching!).

This experience got me thinking … I could really use a new TV next year. Egg cooler, here I come!

Crystal Wylie can be reached at

or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Tab-a-PULLooza1.jpg Friday last day to collect pop tabs for Tab-a-Pullooza

    Before throwing that soda can in the recycling bin, twist off the pop tab and donate it to a local elementary or middle school for this year’s Tab-a-Pullooza celebration.

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pot throwing downtown leads to arrest

    A Berea man was arrested Saturday after police say he damaged a downtown Richmond business and a parked vehicle by throwing flower pots.
    Jonathan A. McCullough, 34, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal mischief as well as alcohol intoxication, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 21, 2014

  • London police chief ordered to stay away from Berea woman

    A woman who who moved to Berea in February 2013 after a live-in relationship with London Police Chief Stewart O. Walker has obtained an emergency protective order against him from Madison Family Court.

    April 21, 2014

  • Task force reveals plan to make ‘Meaningful Math' matter

    It’s all too common to hear parents say, “I was never good at math...,” as if to excuse their children for not being good at math, said Madison County Schools Superintendent Elmer Thomas.

    April 21, 2014

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 4-18 Hong Kong 1.JPG Hong Kong fifth-graders visit Kit Carson

    A group of students from Hong Kong got a taste of the bluegrass last week thanks to an invitational education program at Kit Carson Elementary School.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

     View Results