The wind kicks up and he shuffles his feet while looking at his watch. It is 4:45 a.m. on Black Friday. Dave Young braves the shopping centers every Black Friday while his family snuggles deep under the covers unaware of the craziness outside. This has come to be known as the busiest shopping day of the year. The deals are tough to beat and the joy of being one of the first in line is incomparable. And so, Young waits, running through his plan of attack for when the doors open.
“You have to go into this with a game plan,” said Young. “Every year I wake up and know exactly what I am looking for. I look at the bigger items on my kids’ lists and hit those first. But if I can find good deals on some other things too that’s great.” The line to rush into the store has slowly started growing and growing. “I got here about 4 a.m. and there were a few of us sitting in our cars keeping warm. I saw some people start lining up at 4:30 so I figured I should start working my way in.” Young has come every year alone braving the elements, the hysteria, and the lines. “My wife stayed home with the kids,” confessed Young. “Plus she likes to wander and browse and you just can’t do that. I am in an out as quickly as possible.”
Through the years there have been those certain toys that seem to be on every child’s wish list. Whether it was The Cabbage Patch Dolls, Tickle Me Elmo, Power Rangers, Nintendo Wii, or the infamous Ferbies, Young has seen it all. “I can remember buying those Cabbage Patch dolls for my daughter and the Ferbies and Power Rangers,” reminisced Young. “Thankfully my kids are grown and now only want GPSes and clothes and cell phones.”
Surprisingly the doors opened at 4:50 a.m. and a sea of people swarmed the doors. Young quickly took off toward the electronics and wasted no time in finding his Christmas goodies. People were darting around in every direction, grabbing toys off shelves, and running to the cash registers. Although a large majority of the early morning shoppers are adults getting their children’s Christmas gifts, there are some children tagging along as well. “My kids never knew I even came out and shopped like this,” laughed Young. “They were always home sound asleep.”
When one stops to watch the hustle and bustle of this annual shopping spree it’s easy to forget the reason for the season. There are people snatching up the last toy on the shelf, pushing through a crowded aisle in a mad dash to the finish line – the check out counter – and angry people who came a little too late and find their child’s gift already sold out.
“For me I never really ran through the store or had to freak when an item was gone. If the item was already sold out I tried the next store on my list that had the same item at a good buy,” continued Young, “I just wake up, line up, and do my thing. I think people put too much into this. I have my list of what the kids want and I just go down it. If I can get all the things today, that’s great, but if not I will find it some other time I’m out.”
Young finished his shopping in record time this year. “My kids really didn’t want toys or games this year, just electronics and movies which are quick grabs for me.” As Young makes his way back to his car which is now frosted over in the early morning cold, he adds, “One last stop before home.” As he pulls out of the lot he makes his usual stop at McDonalds for breakfast for his family when they finally wake up. “In a way I kind of feel like Santa Clause. I get home and hide all the gifts, and then they wake up just in time to eat their McDonalds breakfast,” Young added while chuckling, “ They ask me every year when did I wake up to get breakfast, and I just tell them a little while ago. They have no idea what I was really doing.”