Early-bird shoppers bundled up in their winter coats, ear warmers and scarves as they braved the cold in a Black Friday line nearing 75 people this morning at Belk.
However, according to Dawn Guiton of Columbus, standing in the cold is just part of it — and the possibility of winning a $1,000 gift card makes it worth it.
Guiton was on the hunt for doorbuster towels that were priced as low as $3.99. As soon as the doors opened, she grabbed her scratch-off ticket and headed straight to the home department. Ten minutes after the doors opened, Guiton had filled her buggy with towels in a variety of colors. Five minutes later, she decided to return for more.
“I’ve really thought about these towels and their colors,” Guiton said. “I’m serious about my towels in the house.”
Guiton and her daughter Brittany, 16, are veteran Black Friday shoppers, and they have been searching for Belk’s biggest Black Friday deals alongside family friends Tina and Allison Boney, for the last five years.
“I’ve been Black Friday shopping with my daughter every year since she was big enough to drag around the stores,” Guiton said. “It’s just a tradition for us now.”
Whether it’s boots, down comforter doorbusters, luggage or beauty products on sale, the Guitons and Boneys will be at Belk every year — most likely the first in line — ready to make a run for it as soon as the doors open.
“It’s fun to be out with family and friends, and we always like to meet new people in the line outside,” Guiton said. “But making friends starts and ends in the line. As soon as the doors open, the new friendships end.”
Similar to the Guitons, Gigi Sudduth, who drove from Millport, Alabama, and her 12-year-old daughter Halle Sudduth, said they have gone Black Friday shopping at Belk for the last four years.
They were also hoping to get their hands on the $1,000 gift card, with new purses in mind if they did happen to win. However, even if they weren’t lucky enough this morning, Sudduth said continuing the tradition of shopping with her daughter is well worth the wait.
“It’s just about having fun for us,” Sudduth said. “We love to do this as a family. And we don’t have shopping like this in Millport.”
The Starkville Walmart saw fewer crowds, as most of those searching for the best Black Friday deals came straight from The Egg Bowl at Mississippi State University.
It was a variety of people — some sporting their MSU gear, while others braved the Starkville crowd in their red and blue. Some people were getting groceries for a day-after Thanksgiving meal. Most, however, were driving buggies around the store toting 55-inch TVs and Xbox One gaming systems.
Despite the naturally competitive nature of Black Friday shopping, Louisville resident Janna Chamblee said the Starkville crowds are typically “much less chaotic” compared to the Walmart stores in Louisville and Columbus. This year, Chamblee was leaving the store with a toy GMC Sierra for her 3-year-old son.
“I can just come in, get what I want, and I don’t even have to fight anyone,” Chamblee said laughing. “I always do my holiday shopping here, and it continues to be a lot less crowded.”
Other shoppers, like Herby and Janice Kirk from Yazoo City, came straight from the Egg Bowl in search of one thing — a new TV.
“I saw the ad before we got to the game, and so afterwards I just thought ‘Let’s go to Walmart,'” Janice said. “So, here we are at midnight. But I got what I wanted, and that’s what matters.”
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