Love it or hate it, Black Friday brings ’em out

A look at the Walmart Black Friday crowd.

On Thanksgiving night — or Gray Thursday, if you want to call it that — crowds of shoppers gathered inside of Walmart awaiting the proverbial 6 p.m. starting bell that allowed them to buy discounted items such as TVs, iPads, video games, vacuums and even Tupperware.

Yes, Tupperware. But to be fair, at less than $7 for 30 items, any 1950s housewife will tell you it was a steal of a deal. And any 2013 gamer will say you’re crazy if you’re not in line for $30 copies of Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto V.

Love it or hate it, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales sure do have a way of bringing out customers.

I watched as teenagers got on their hands and knees to get cheap video games, DVDs and BluRays.

A walk around Walmart shows just how crazy this country gets over deals. People take whatever they can get in their shopping carts, find a way out of the melee and then determine what they should buy and what they should put back on some random shelf.

I saw a man on one of those Walmart motorized scooters bulldoze his way through the crowd at in the section where hundreds were huddled around video games. No word yet on if he got his copy of Just Dance 2014.

In Friday’s edition, we ran a Forum News Service story about the psychology of Gray Thursday and Black Friday deals.

In it, North Dakota State University marketing professor Joseph Jones stated that shoppers enjoy Gray Thursday and Black Friday shopping because they believe they’re receiving the best available deals, though multiple studies have shown that isn’t entirely accurate.

While at Walmart to take a picture for The Press to go along with the psychology story and to possibly grab a copy of Madden 25 — special shoutout to the high school girls who were kind enough to snag me a copy — I snapped a picture with my iPhone and messaged it to a group of friends.

One stated: “I will NEVER go shopping on Thanksgiving. Is anything sacred?”

He wasn’t alone, as several stores in Dickinson and around the country gave their employees family time instead of making them come into work on Thanksgiving night. Menards received national attention and social media praise for the short letter they placed in their circular on Thursday that stated they chose family over money.

Still, one sentiment was clear in the aftermath of the sales: a lot of people will go deal hunting regardless of whether or not it is a holiday and most didn’t seem to mind that stores opening earlier than ever.

Most friends and random bystanders I spoke with at Walmart and the Prairie Hills Mall on Thursday night said they would rather be able to shop in the evening hours of Thanksgiving instead of waiting around until midnight for stores to open or get up for 5 a.m. Friday doorbuster deals.

We walked past a group of people wondering why Boot Barn wasn’t open. They commented on how much money the western wear store could have earned that night. Boot Barn took the Menards approach, keeping their door shut across the country to allow employees family time — though I wonder how many of those employees took advantage of the day off and went shopping.

Whether you love or hate the idea of stores opening on Thanksgiving, at least the shoppers in Dickinson were — for the most part — peaceful about it.

The Dickinson Police Department reported just one shopping-related incident Thursday and early Friday. That was a person who had items they had purchased that night stolen out of a car they didn’t lock while it was running. It’s something that could have happened any day.

In some cities, there were reports and YouTube videos of fights breaking out inside of Walmart as people went after items with some sort of survival-of-the-fittest mindset.

One video that has gone viral showed a man violently pushing a woman to the ground after returning to the rack to get a second item after he had just picked up a flatscreen TV. You can’t tell what the item is he assaulted the woman over. Perhaps Walmart had a deal on bars of gold.

One way or another, that shouldn’t happen.

If you want to go shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, have at it and rack up all the credit card debt you want.

Just don’t behave like an animal so you can get some off-brand 32-inch flatscreen that isn’t nearly worth the money you believe you’re saving on it.

Author: Dustin Monke

Former newspaper editor. Now I market the best baked goods and donuts in America. But every once in a while, I write a cool story too.

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