Black Friday shoppers fill Lexington stores earlier, longer

jkegley@herald-leader.com; ssloan@herald-leader.comNovember 23, 2012 

Sarah Martin and her brother Ethan had never participated in the madness that is Black Friday, and they never had any particular desire to do so.

However, they were drawn into the frenzy early Friday after their parents mentioned they wanted a new TV to replace what Ethan Martin described as "a 20-inch tube set they've had for 30 years."

So out they went, settling in the 90th spot in line at Best Buy on Nicholasville Road.

They didn't get the 50-inch TV they were after — those sold out in minutes — but they did get a big screen for about $200 off.

When all was said and done, their perception of the manic shopping day was altered, but only slightly.

"If I was in this situation again, where there was one thing that I wanted to go for, I would do that again," said Sarah Martin, 32.

"But as soon as you get into the store, you see how they get people to spend a whole bunch of money on things they hadn't actually gone there to get," she added. "I don't like to spend money just for the sake of going shopping."

For others, the experience was more about shopping than buying. By mid-morning Friday, many Central Kentuckians had spent a long day pursuing Black Friday steals.

The annual post-Thanksgiving tradition packed chain stores and big-box retailers earlier than in past years as more opened on the holiday to attract shoppers. Best Buy was one of a dwindling number of stores that waited until midnight to open.

When morning shoppers descended on Lexington stores Friday, many found fellow bargain-hunters who had been there through the night.

Shortly after 4 a.m., John Baugh and Brittnay Alexander were resting on a Serta mattress display at Sears in Fayette Mall. They had been at the mall since 9 p.m. Thursday and spent more than three hours of that time at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Baugh tried to buy a discounted gun but was unsuccessful because background-check processing ended at 1 a.m. The pair was successful, though, in finding discounted towels and sheets at a nearby Kohl's.

Sherrie Clemmons and Tammy Bowling started at Fayette Mall around 10 p.m., hitting several stores.

"We're hardcore Black Friday," said Clemmons, 24, "I've been doing this 15 years".

Asked when she last slept, the nursing student from Jackson County just laughed. "I've had 10 hours of sleep in the past week, but I wouldn't miss Black Friday."

Amid criticism that Black Friday is encroaching too far into Thanksgiving, many said Black Friday shopping had become a family holiday in and of itself.

Adam Hughes, 19, of Bath County, played a game of Monopoly with nine family members while waiting for Best Buy in Hamburg to open. He was seeking a new laptop for college, which he ended up buying for $400 off.

"I just think it's a fun experience, even if you don't buy anything," he said. "I think it's awesome that people go out with their families or even by themselves to experience Black Friday."

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety. Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter; @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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