CHARLESTON, W.Va. – First it was dinner, then dishes, then a mad dash to the mall and retail stores. Those traditional Black Friday sales turned into Thanksgiving Thursday buys.
Most malls and retail stores in West Virginia opened their doors on Thursday, many for the first time ever, to draw in big business. Leslie Raab of South Charleston was the first in line at Toys”R”Us in Charleston.
“I have three kids, 3, 5 and 7. Obviously Christmas is expensive. I’m lucky that my husband is at home with the kids so I can come out and do all my Christmas shopping at once,” explained Raab, even if she had to miss part of the holiday to stand in line alone.
Amy Fleming, of Julian, in Boone County, said with two kids, she had to be near the front of the line.
“That whole economy thing…I’m on a budget. So this is the best time to get it.”
And Fleming bundled up for the 30-degree weather.
“Well I have on a long sleeved t-shirt, a sweat shirt, my ski parka, jeans, two pairs of socks, tennis shoes and gloves!”
Toby Moore of Charleston sat outside the South Charleston Best Buy for ten hours before the doors opened. He was determined to get a certain hard-to-find electronic device.
“Last year, me and my mom came to Best Buy and Wal-mart. We got there really late and it was just chaos,” he explained. “So we were like, ‘This is not happening again!’ We’ve got more time than money, so I’m here as early as possible.”
He only beat the next guy in line by five minutes.
Further down the line at Best Buy was Whitney Phillips of Charlotte, NC. She was in visiting for the holidays and wanted to get her grandmother something special.
“I’m here to get my MaMa an I-pad. MaMa’s with me but she’s going to go to Wal-mart to get something else,” said Phillips. “So I’m going to stand in line for her.”
Over at Target, it was a party atmosphere. The first in line was Chuck Sovine and he was the ring leader, cracking jokes the entire wait. Why did he show up so early?
“I’m just competitive. I’m here to get urinal cakes and tooth brushes,” he laughed.
Actually he was there to pick up a big screen TV for his kids. He brought along a tent and heater to help keep him warm during his six hour wait.
Most of those in line made the best of it, but for some, shopping on Thanksgiving was bittersweet. Fleming says it meant less time with her family.
“I had to cut my dinner short with my grandmother. I don’t know how many more Thanksgiving dinners I’ll have with her. That was the only bummer about the whole thing but she understands,” explained Fleming.
But for the die-hard shoppers, cutting their holiday short was no problem. They had many places to go and a lot of gifts to buy.
“I have nine stores to go to. I’ll go home about midnight and take a couple hours nap and go back out.”
In fact, Heidi Edwards of Cross Lanes was in it for the long haul.
“Oh no, no, no. I’ll probably be out until 1 or 2 [Friday] afternoon!”
With just 25 shopping days until Christmas, time is running short.