In the hours before Best Buy's doors opened at midnight for Black Friday, Jimmy Grimes went from 25th in line to 65th without moving an inch, dashing his hopes of getting one of a limited number of drastically discounted TVs.
There were only about 30 of the $200 42-inch TVs in stock at each of Lexington's two Best Buy locations. Things were looking good for Grimes, who stood in line most of the day Thursday — that is, until the people camping in tents at the front of the line invited family and friends to join them, he said.
"All throughout that whole day, there was one or two people in each tent," he said. "By the time the doors opened, there was nine or 10 people per tent. It made me a little mad." But he couldn't complain too much. He got a 46-inch TV for about $400 — half off, which was a heck of a deal.
"I'm pretty happy with it," he said, adding that he and his wife celebrated the day after Thanksgiving with leftovers while watching the new TV.
Even if some shoppers felt slighted, Black Friday seemed to go smoothly in Lexington, with no reported instances of violence or other significant problems related to shopping, aside from slow or stopped traffic, police Lt. Mark Brand said.
Tom Brennan, first in line at the Nicholasville Road Best Buy, said about 1,500 people had lined up outside the store by the time the doors opened. To help keep order, security allowed only about 150 shoppers in the store at a time.
"You could tell people were a little on edge last night, bumping into each other because of how busy the stores were," said Anthony Rios, a shopper who managed to snag one of the $200 TVs. "But there were no fights, no madness."
Shopping on Black Friday was hectic but worth it, Rios said, and not just because he got a new TV for his wife and son. In exchange for a couple of days of camping and a few hours of fighting crowds, the rest of Rios' holiday shopping for his large extended family should be fairly relaxed.
"There will definitely be less shopping," he said. "We got the bulk of the people out of the way, which is good."