For Wadsworth friends Megan Postak, Steph Schmeltzer and Cheri Long, Black Friday is as much about having fun as it is about finding bargains.
“This is a girls’ night out,” Schmeltzer said early Friday morning outside the J.C. Penney store in the Montrose area.
The trio started their shopping marathon at 10 p.m. Thursday and expected to keep going until after 2 p.m. Friday — their record from last year. By 7 a.m., they already had stopped at Target, Summit Mall, Dick’s Sporting Goods and J.C. Penney.
“I have 46 people to buy for for Christmas, so if I can save a little money, then it’s worth it,” Long said.
“It helps stimulate the economy,” Postak interjected, eliciting a laugh from the group.
J.C. Penney, which opened at 6 a.m., was filled with shoppers early. In addition to the Black Friday deals, the department store is giving away little buttons through Christmas Eve that could win prizes online by entering a code found on the button.
Savings was a familiar theme for those bustling in and out of the store.
As Mike Ward, 44, of Cuyahoga Falls, waited in the checkout line clutching pajama pants and other clothes, he admitted he’s not a shopping fan. He motioned toward his wife, Sue, 44, as the reason he hit the stores so early.
“Oh, no, I hate shopping, but if we can do one day and get everybody taken care of, it’s worth it,” he said.
Ward was definitely in the minority on Black Friday when it came to his gender. Shoppers were predominantly women.
A Gallup poll released Friday concluded that Black Friday shoppers are most likely women ages 18 to 29. They also more likely live in the Midwest and are nonwhite.
And despite all the hoopla, only 1 in 5 Americans planned to hit the stores on Friday.
The national poll sampled 1,015 adults from Nov. 15-18.
Renee Kindig, 38, of Doylestown, and her 12-year-old daughter Rachael started at midnight, hitting Kohl’s, Target, Five Below, Old Navy and J.C. Penney. Kindig said it was mother-daughter bonding time as they searched for deals.
They also have developed a tag-team system to help eliminate some of the long lines. One gets in line, while the other shops.
“It saves time,” Kindig said. “Now our secret is going to be in the newspaper.”
The only place where the lines were too long was at Old Navy. Kindig said they were told it would be a two-hour wait so they walked in and walked out.
They also hooked up with friends Michelle Powers, 37, and her 12-year-old daughter Emma.
Tonya Everette, 32, of Garfield Heights, is a Black Friday veteran. This was the fifth time she has been out looking for bargains on the day after Thanksgiving.
She said she still gets excited, but she no longer has to be one of the first people into a store. She and her sister started at midnight at Summit Mall, along with her teenage niece and nephew.
Everette chuckled that the teens pooped out around 4 a.m. and were sleeping in the car while she was still going strong around 7:30 a.m.
“I’m full of Doubleshots from Starbucks,” she said. “I know it’ll be pretty bad when I come down, but I’m juiced up.”