For Ramona Martin and her sister Martha Sherrod, Black Friday is about more than scoring a good deal.
It’s a family tradition that officially kicks off the Christmas season.
At 5:30 a.m. Friday, Martin, a Waynesboro, Ga., resident, and her granddaughter Ashleigh Barefield, of Statesboro, Ga., met Sherrod and friend Sandra Stanley at Lowe’s on Bobby Jones Expressway.
They piled in one car and headed to North Augusta, where they shopped at Belk and ate breakfast at the Sunrise Grill.
By 9:30 a.m., they were loading up shopping carts at Big Lots.
“Big Lots is always good for Christmas ornaments and things,” Martin said.
They’ve shopped this way for almost 20 years and planned to shop Friday “until we either give out or give out of money,” Martin said.
At the end of the day, they’ll take a picture of the trunk brimming with treasures before dividing it up and going their separate ways.
Martin and Sherrod said they were surprised by the light crowds Friday morning, likely attributed to stores opening on Thursday evening.
“Belk didn’t have (crowds) – they were busy, don’t get me wrong, but nothing like you would have seen in the past,” Martin said.
Smaller crowds made for more pleasant shopping, but she said she wishes stores would close Thursday to give store employees time to enjoy the holiday with their families.
Chesley Tench and Kellie Herron agreed.
“I don’t like that they backed up the hours,” Tench said. “It should be Black Friday.”
Tench and Herron, who are sisters, and six of their friends started shopping at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, went home and took a three-hour nap and were at it again by 3:30 a.m.
By 10:30 a.m., they were walking around the Augusta Mall. They had already been to Walmart, Target and Chick-fil-A, and scored the biggest deal at Kohl’s.
Herron said she spent $200 but saved $307 at Kohl’s. That’s also where Tench paid $120 for a Kitchen Aid mixer that usually retails for $230.
Tench has been Black Friday shopping for about 12 years, and for her it is all about the sales. She scours the sales papers Thursday, checks for sales in store e-mails and uses coupons on her phone. She usually goes to stores she has coupons for.
Tench said she has found that some deals are not worth the wait in line. The sisters walked out of one store Friday morning without buying anything. Lines were wrapped around the store, and they did not find any deals worth standing in line for.
At PeachMac on Washington Road, after opening to a waiting line at 6 a.m., store manager Andre Glover said they were sold out of iPads and MacBook Airs by 7:30 a.m. By the afternoon, nearly everything else the store had advertised on their Black Friday flyer was gone.
“I was expecting to sell out,” he said. “But not that soon.”
At Augusta Mall, Francesca’s Boutique had a line forming for their midnight opening. Store keyholder Dana Rewis said their Black Friday deals of two for one clothing and jewelry were their biggest sellers and that most shoppers were picking up Christmas gifts.
“I’m sure we have sold out of things,” she said. “But honestly, we’ve been so busy, I haven’t left the register to look.”