Self-proclaimed super-shopper Nancy Reynolds probably would have been ready for Black Friday if it had been moved up to Wednesday.
As it was, the South Glens Falls resident was more than ready to handle this year’s earlier start to the biggest shopping day in the country, which now begins on Thursday night.
“You just have to plan around it. Do things a little earlier,” said Reynolds, who was starting her shopping extravaganza at Target in Wilton to buy a PlayStation 2. For her, the early start meant getting the family’s turkey into the oven by 10 a.m.
A handful of big box retailers began offering their Black Friday deals at record early times. Walmart began selling some items at 8 p.m., Toys’R’us was selling doorbusters at 8 p.m. too, and Target began letting people in at 9 p.m.
At the Walmart in Halfmoon, things were very calm a few minutes before 8 p.m., as people waited with their shopping carts next to pallets of stacked items that weren’t yet available. Once the awaited hour hit, people began ripping apart the displays and creating traffic jams as they tried to get to another stand of goods. Other stacks of items remained under the watch of an employee and untouched, as they wouldn’t be available until 10 p.m. or midnight.
There was some backlash against those earlier starts, as some employees and labor organizations decried them as unfair.
Reynolds expressed reservations about forcing people to work earlier on the holiday, but said it was fine if the employees had a choice.
Tommy Barnard, 21, who works at a Wilton retail store offering deals at midnight Friday, was able to spend quality time with his family as they waited for a deal to start at the Best Buy in Wilton. He, three siblings and his mother were the first people in line, which they secured by arriving at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Where he was spending the holiday, though, didn’t matter to him. “It’s Thanksgiving, so you got to spend it with family,” Barnard said.
The family’s setup included two tents, a space heater, a charger for their electronic devices and a car nearby for warmth during the night.
After failing to secure a television the family wanted last year at Best Buy, Tommy’s mom, Andrea Barnard, said this year they wouldn’t let it happen again. Their desired haul at Best Buy included a handful of televisions, electric toothbrushes and a sound bar.
“When we got here, the manager said, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever seen someone get here this early,’ ” Andrea said. “We were not going to miss this deal.”
She added that they already ate turkey multiple times this week, saying, “I think we are all turkey’d out.”
After Best Buy, the Black Friday veterans were moving on to JCPenney for a stainless steel waffle maker and then on to BJ’s.
Multiple stops were also the plan for Nancy Reynolds, who was hoping to accomplish most of her Christmas shopping. “I’ll go to Walmart after [Target] and then I’ll go to sleep and then Home Depot at 5 a.m. when it opens and then Joann [a fabric and craft store],” she said, clarifying that the last stop was to pick up quilting supplies.
When she mentioned quilting, another woman in line noted that she shared the hobby. Upon realizing the bond, Reynolds, who had already been chatting with the people around her in line at Target on Thursday evening, said, “I’ve met the best people standing in line and talking.”
Saratoga Springs resident Bill Weisenforth was taking a more isolated approach to waiting at the Walmart in Wilton. Armed with a collapsible chair, his smartphone and an iPad 2, he arrived at the store around 3:30 p.m. to secure a 60-inch wide screen television.
Once he found out where the line started for the item, he opened up his chair and set up camp as the first person there.
“This is my first time,” said Weisenforth, who felt the deal was too good to pass up and noted that if he was home he would just be watching television on the couch. Instead he was watching television and movies on his iPad.
His deal wasn’t going on sale until 10 p.m., but he wasn’t concerned, considering he had full battery life on all his electronic devices.
Black Friday deals continue today, with another wave of sales starting around dawn and lasting well into the afternoon.