By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News
Cars slowly but steadily crept into Orscheln Farm and Home and Peebles parking lot 10 minutes before 6 a.m. on Black Friday. Peebles, expecting customers lined up at the door for their limited scratch-off deals, saw only about a dozen customers in their first hour of opening.
The real action was Thursday afternoon, where both Peebles and Wal-Mart were constantly busy the first couple hours after opening. As Wal-Mart employees walked into their shifts on Thursday evening, they had energy drinks in hand and some threw back handfuls of granola they had stored in the pocket of their blue smocks. Customers steadily streamed through the aisles, rushing to find the item they saw advertised, but Karen Tuel was quietly examining items and placing them in her overfilled cart.
?I got here about 20 minutes after 5 p.m. I don?t even know what time it is now,? Tuel said, looking at the clock at 8:30 p.m.
Tuel was in no rush, letting the crowd go through the aisles first and slowly picking her way through to the deals she had her eye on. Although she had found some Legos for her grandson and a Keurig for her husband to put in his office, Tuel was mostly just shopping for odds and ends ? some new bath towels, a pillow, a new shower curtain.
?I think this year was a bit slower,? Tuel said. ?Usually when I come here you can?t even get through the aisles.?
Although Peebles also opened at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the real action was earlier this week on Tuesday, Nov. 21, when they unveiled their doorbuster deals. There were still some die-hard Black Friday shoppers out Friday morning, however.
Sharon Nelson walked into Peebles at 6 a.m. on the dot on Black Friday with five other shoppers in tow scattering to look for the best deals. The first ones through the doors on Friday, Nelson said they were hitting Peebles first before heading to Burlington to go to Kohls, Menards ?and by that time it will be time for a cup of coffee,? Nelson said.
This group of women does this tradition every year, shopping from 6 a.m. to usually 5 p.m. and getting more than half of their Christmas shopping done.
?When you?re buying presents for 20 people, it takes a while,? Nelson explained.
Meanwhile at Orscheln?s, Danelle Freeman, of Winfield, said she comes to Mt. Pleasant first for Black Friday shopping because ?the crowds are nicer.? Before heading to Burlington, she planned to stop at Wal-Mart, saying that by the time they get to Burlington, the crowds will be lighter and most of the crazy will be gone.
On the other side of the store, Carroll Oberman and his wife Lois were looking for insulated bib overalls they saw advertised. Lois said that even the picture in the advertisement was her husband?s hard-to-find-size, which brought them out early this morning. Although she doesn?t usually drag Carroll out Black Friday shopping, she knows her way around a deal, standing in line for up to two and a half hours waiting for a store opening years prior
Chelsea Boecker, too, just came to Orscheln?s for specific, advertised items, planning on heading right back home and going straight to bed.
?I never do this, but now that I have kids, it?s important to make their Christmas extra special,? Boecker said.
Back in Wal-Mart on Friday morning, three generations of women were already resting on a bench at the front of the store. Traveling from Donnellson to Iowa City to continue their Black Friday shopping, Sally Brotherson, her daughter Chelsey Riffle and her daughter Alicia Riffle had no shopping agenda. For the three women, it was about the tradition of spending time together.
?Caffeine and conversation keep us going.? Chelsey said.