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Post-Thanksgiving frenzy enough to make some people freaky on Friday

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

In light of this year’s horrendous shopping incidents, Black Friday ought to be re-christened “Wacky Friday.”

But what do we expect, when the lure of after-Thanksgiving bargains has people rising at ridiculous hours—or not even going to bed at all?

Sleep deprivation could have been a culprit when one California woman, hell-bent on getting her hands on a bargain Xbox before anyone else, got a bright idea to clear the decks to the deal by pepper-spraying competing shoppers.

Or maybe she was just plain crazy.

The jury’s still out—and hopefully will someday soon be on hand to render a verdict—regarding this quick-draw queen who later turned herself in—after exiting Walmart with her new bought-and-paid-for Xbox in hand.

Just down the road in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a North Carolina family was robbed, pistol-whipped and shot by two unknown hoodlums who ambushed the victims as they were attempting to load their car with holiday treasures purchased at Walmart shortly after 1 a.m. Friday.

The suspects fled only after one of the victims reached for her own pistol in the car and fired warning shots in the air, scaring the lily-livered thieves away.

After hearing news reports of other Black Friday violence and less-than-courteous incidents in the early hours at stores in Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii and other states and sites too numerous to list, I’ve come to the conclusion Black Friday is fairly freaky.

It’s now become the norm on Black Friday for many stores to launch their fabulous sales at midnight, encouraging people to camp that much sooner outside their doors.

I, on the other hand, prefer a good night’s sleep any day.

I admit I once got caught up in Black Friday madness. Just three Thanksgivings ago, I got up around 1 a.m. at my mom’s house in the mountains and drove 44 miles to a chain office-supply store in hopes of snagging a new laptop computer for $349 for my daughter, who’d just had her old computer stolen from a college dormitory study room.

Passing through Sevierville, Tenn., I marveled at shoppers converging on a sale launched at midnight at Tanger Outlets, an early pioneer in post-Thanksgiving cuckoo-clock shopping. People were milling back and forth across the Parkway like a summer night. So far as I know, no hair-pulling or pepper-spraying broke out that dark morning.

My own store didn’t open until a measly 6 a.m. Upon my arrival around 2:30 a.m., people were already ahead of me in the “line.” Believe-you-me, these early arrivals were vigilant about making sure everybody knew and took their proper places prior to the store’s opening. It was like a little society or POA that sprang up overnight, with its own pecking order and governing board for those disobeying the rules.

I spent the next few early-morning hours dehydrated and fending off the cold, while the hardier shopping veterans swigged coffee and Monster Drinks, wrapped in blankets on their portable lounge chairs they’d been savvy enough to bring.

I ultimately was one of the “lucky 25” in line who snagged one of the bargain laptops. And was it worth it?

Well, three years later, the bargain laptop is now in need of a new lid that’s about to topple off its hinges and other repairs.

This year, my daughter and I ventured out on yet another Black Friday excursion in search of a replacement.

We arrived at the store around 5:30 p.m.—not a.m.—just in time to sift through what items remained after the day’s sales frenzy.

We finally found her a new laptop that cost more than the ones the wee-hours shoppers probably battled over just 12 hours earlier.

It was definitely worth it.

 

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.