LAFAYETTE — Thousands of Acadiana residents fought through congested traffic, stood in long lines and sifted through a plethora of sales advertisements to form their Black Friday shopping strategies.
Donna Riley said she and her group of three friends hit the Black Friday sales every year.
“It’s more of an event for us,” said Riley, whose T-Shirt reads: “If You See a Deal, Buy Me One Black Friday 2015.”
“This group has been doing this for the last four years,” she said. “We leave the husbands and kids at home and hit the streets looking for deals.”
Riley said she buys Thanksgiving Day newspapers and goes through every sales ad looking for the perfect deals. The group has a tradition of breakfast and coffee at Starbucks followed by all-day-and-night shopping. This year’s strategy took them to the Acadiana Mall — a destination Riley said is a usual stop on the day’s agenda.
“Three years ago, we would leave the house at, like, 5 a.m.,” Riley recalled. “Now, you have to start shopping around 4 or 5 Thursday night to get any good deals. We don’t mind. It’s just more time to shop.”
In the last few years, the trend of Thanksgiving Day shopping deals as opposed to waiting for the traditional Black Friday deals has seen an increase in popularity. The manager of the Best Buy store on Johnston Street said about 50 people camped out overnight Wednesday outside the store for a chance to buy big-screen TVs and Xb oxes at a discount.
Lining up hours before doors opened at Best Buy on Friday was a “no brainer” for Lafayette resident Karl Benoit, who said the 60-inch Samsung TV for $799 was worth the hassle.
“I’ve been waiting for Black Friday all year,” Benoit said. “My wife and I do a lot of Christmas shopping today, but this one was for me.”
Some Black Friday patrons sacrificed the Thursday deals as a silent protest to retailers forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving Day. Ashley Diaz said there are still plenty of deals on Friday without having to shop Thursday.
“I don’t know how or why the Thursday thing started,” Diaz said. “The Black Friday stuff is already pretty crazy, but now you have to go on Thursday night to get the real deals. For me, I’d rather spend Thanksgiving evening with my family and I wish the people forced to work had the chance to do that also.”
Riley and her friends all said they wished the Thursday night sales weren’t so prevalent, but as Riley put it, “you snooze, you lose.”
“With the amount of people that were out (Thursday night), I don’t see that coming to an end anytime soon,” Riley said. “That’s just the way it is going to be from now on. We’ve been at it since 4 o’clock Thursday night. It’s about the deals, yes, but it’s also just a way for me to spend time with these ladies and have some fun.”