Business

Scenes from Black Friday in Lexington

Despite increasingly popular Cyber Monday online deals, hordes of shoppers still took to the stores on Black Friday.

Shopper Galen Benassi of Frankfort was holding a spot in line for his wife at the Hamburg Target.

"I wanted to shop online this year," he said as he clutched several DVDs. "There are a lot of sales that are just as good or better online."

Despite the online deals and warmth of home, the crowds seemed as big as ever this

year at South Park on Nicholasville Road. A manager at Toys R Us estimated that more than 1,000 people were waiting in line when the store opened at midnight.

But why?

"My mom's made me do it since I was old enough to walk and carry things for her," said Black Friday shopper Katie Bourland, 23, as she waited in line at Toys R Us. "Now, it's a habit. I can't sleep in on Black Friday."

For six friends at the front of the line at Best Buy on Nicholasville Road, the Black Friday experience was about making money.

The Versailles teens had been camping out since 7 p.m. Wednesday in hopes of auctioning off their spots in line.

Their highest offer was $300, but since the bidder didn't show up, they acknowledged that the plan didn't completely pan out.

"But we will try it again next year," said 18-year-old Dylan Raley.

A few people had tents in Best Buy's line, which stretched all the way to Office Depot 90 minutes before the store's 5 a.m. opening. But most shoppers shivered through in only coats.

Melinda Parrish of Frankfort, who had been waiting since 3 a.m. with her son, Brian McDonald, was toasty and comfortable sitting in a camping chair while cocooned in a huge fleece blanket. When asked what was worth waiting for in that line, she said she wanted a MacBook laptop.

But still, the point might be made that great deals are available online for laptops, TVs and many other big-ticket items that shoppers snapped up Friday morning at area stores.

So why go out in the cold to shop? Is it perhaps something that is simply a shopping "experience"?

Bourland said she didn't like ordering things online, saying "I would be kind of afraid of it not shipping on time."

But Rachel Mitchell, 30, was not so enthused about her first Black Friday trek.

"I don't care how cheap that TV is," she said. "It's not worth it."

-- By Heather Chapman


Car dealers get in on the action

Wiis and hi-def TVs weren't the only hot items on Black Friday this year.

Toyotas were pretty popular, too.

At 6 a.m. Toyota on Nicholasville Superstore was open for business. By 9 a.m. deal-seeking customers had already purchased three cars.

"We've done it over the last several years, and it's usually a big day for us," sales manager Ross Taylor said of the dealership's advertised specials and extended hours. "This year we didn't know what to expect."

Incentives included a $1,000 gift card to Fayette Mall and low interest rates. Several cars out front were festooned with black helium balloons, and inside the mood was festive as staff and customers sat at desks to discuss the sales.

CNN Money recently reported that Black Friday is the best day to buy a car, according to car price researchers at Truecar.com.

Fred and Becky Barnott of Lexington were in the market for a used car for their son, Andrew, a freshman at Eastern Kentucky University.

Barnott checked out the interior of a cherry-red Camry on the display floor while his wife stood by.

She and her son are veteran Black Friday shoppers, she said.

"We kind of have our list and then we have breakfast." Before car shopping, the family had already hit Target and some stores at Fayette Mall.

Over at Courtesy Pontiac Acura next door to Fayette Mall, vice president Dan Glass said no special events were planned. They were scheduled to open at the regular 9 a.m., but that didn't mean they weren't expecting a crowd.

"A lot of out-of-town people will swing by because of the location," he said. And he expects there will be plenty of traffic with the Kentucky-Tennessee football game in town Saturday. "The sales people are excited."

-- By Harriett Hendren


Day leaves him totally drained

Sure, it's one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but did you also know it's one of the "cloggiest" days of the year?

Roto-Rooter said this week that Black Friday is its single busiest day of the year, as Thanksgiving dinners mean too much grease and food going down garbage disposals. Plus, visiting guests and the extra showers and toilet flushes that come with them mean more stress on a home's plumbing.

The company says calls jump 50 percent above average on Black Friday, and calls during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend are up 21 percent over any other Thursday-to-Sunday period during the year.

Lexington Roto-Rooter technician Bill Morris had already done four Thanksgiving-related jobs by mid-day Friday.

"The last one, the lady was thawing a turkey out and let the turkey juice go down there," he said. "The first one this morning, somebody ground up some potato skins, and you cannot do that. Garbage disposals just barely chip those up."

-- Staff report


Top electronics are the first to go

Lexington shoppers snapped up doorbuster electronics early Friday. Among the sellouts were video game systems, including Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3, both of which saw price cuts earlier this year.

■ An Xbox 360 with six games was estimated to be one of the quickest sellouts at the Hamburg Best Buy.

■ A Nintendo Wii with a $30 mail-in rebate went fast, too, at HHGregg.

■ Computers went quickly, as well. The Hamburg Wal-Mart sold out of its cheapest PCs before even TVs.

■ TVs still were plenty ­popular, though. The ­32-inch ­Westinghouse LCD for $246 at the ­Hamburg Target was the store’s fastest seller.

■ Perhaps in a nod to the still struggling economy, some lower-priced and practical items went fast, too. The Hamburg Meijer sold out of Carhartt jackets that were $40 below the regular price. And the store also was out of its $9.99 bean bags.

By Scott Sloan


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