“At the old store (which operated a mile to the west) we were closed on Thanksgiving Day, but we were open here last year and again this year, and it worked very well,” said Jo Ann Hileman, customer service manager.
The store featured many marked-down items at midnight Thursday, then had a second sale that started at 5 a.m. Friday.
“There was a big rush at midnight, and then again at 5,” said Hileman, a 20-year veteran with the giant retailer. “It went smoother than last year, though I have seen bigger crowds. But I think that was because we had the split sales. The sale on toys was at midnight and then at 5 it was electronics.
“People pretty well got what they wanted. A lot of them had to stand in line last night at 9 p.m. for the midnight sales, and even the 5 a.m. one. The TVs went out fast. We had good markdowns.”
At 7:45 a.m., there were not many people in the aisles at all. The lights at 16 of the store’s check-out stations were on, but clerks stood idly by their counters.
Out in the parking lot, it was nearly 8 a.m. when Jackie Book and Beverly Suter, both of the Minford-Wheelersburg area, unloaded the last of their shopping carts into Book’s blue van, which had the two rear seats laid down flat and seemed to be quickly filling.
Had they found the bargains they anticipated finding?
“Yes, we did,” Book said.
She came to Walmart the first time at 11 p.m. Thursday “to get the video games and the toys I was wanting.”
After the midnight sale, she went home for a while, booted up the computer, and did a couple of hours worth of online shopping.
“Then at 5 a.m., I came back here and finished up,” Book said. “And now we’re headed for Ashland (Ky.).”
In the strip mall just east of Walmart, Radio Shack had a large line waiting when the doors opened at 5:30 a.m. Friday.
“We had everything marked down. Our biggest seller was the GPS (global positioning system),” said the store’s manager, who asked that his name not be used.
At Staples, where signs indicated many items were marked 50 percent down from the normal prices, the rush came early and things were back to normal before 8 a.m.
Black Friday, so-called because retailers hope it is a day when customers begin Christmas shopping and they can put their ledgers in the black, was over, or at least that was so for the early shift.
But not to worry. Shoppers still have Cyber Monday coming up.
Despite difficult economic times with many people still unable to find jobs, getting together and giving and sharing seemed to be on the increase this Thanksgiving.
At the Turkey Trot foot race held Thanksgiving Day in Russell, Ky., where the entry fee was a can or box of imperishable food to be transported to area soup kitchens and food pantries, the number of entrants, and thus the amount of food, was up from last year, organizers reported.
In Ashland, Ky., the Ashland Elks Club reported “an incredible demand” this year for the free meal of turkey and all the trimmings it prepares and shares with individuals or families every Thanksgiving Day.
The club’s volunteers said they ran out of food at 1 p.m. after delivering 900 meals to homes and serving more than 350 people at a sit-down dinner at the lodge.
And at another Turkey Trot, this one held in Detroit, Mich., more than 12,000 runners entered, the most ever in the event’s 115-year-old history.
Huge crowds lined the streets in New York City for the 84th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Crowd favorite giant balloon characters such as Shrek and Snoopy were there.
And there was a new one: Virginia O’Hanlon. She was the 8-year-old girl whose letter to the editor elicited the response, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236, or email@example.com.