Wednesday, December 06, 2023

It's worth it

Staff Writer | November 27, 2010 8:00 PM


<p>Max Noll and John Murray of Coeur d'Alene and Alah Greenough of Athol were the first in the long line outside Best Buy on Friday.</p>


<p>Vallenthia Johnson, right, and Amanda Maki of Coeur d'Alene wait for Shopko to open Friday.</p>

COEUR d'ALENE - Before Mary Klennert left her home about 2 a.m. Friday to go shopping, she asked herself two questions:

"Should I stay home? Is it worth it?"

She decided it was.

The Post Falls woman headed to Sears, 10 miles away in Coeur d'Alene. There, she waited right outside for the doors to open so she could buy a snowblower for $419.99, offered at 40 percent off and proclaimed to be the "lowest price ever."

It was too good of a deal to pass up, "and too much snow," to not have a snowblower, she added.

Still, Klennert wondered about her decision to venture out in the dark, on icy roads and stand in 15 degree weather for a few hours.

"We're nuts," she said.

Then, there was the driver who flew past Klennert and a long line of cars as she drove to Coeur d'Alene on Prairie Avenue.

"This little nut comes passing the whole works at 60 miles per hour," she said. "There's always that one nut. And then he slid right through a red light."

No matter.

Klennert, and thousands like her in North Idaho shook off their Thanksgiving meal, awoke from a few hours sleep or none at all, and joined a nation of shoppers to find those never-to-be-seen-again deals on Black Friday.

They drove slowly on slick roads, then wandered over to take their place and wait for their chance to buy specially priced electronics, toys, sporting goods, jewelry and clothes.

There was no sign of an ailing economy, at least for some six- and eight-hour doorbuster sales.

At Kohl's, where a 3 a.m. opening was advertised, they opened the doors at 2:40 a.m. so the lengthy line of men and women outside could come in and warm up. By 2:50, they turned them loose.

Many manned cell phones as they updated friends and family on their purchasing progress.

Crowds circled racks of clothes, where signs boasted of 60 and 70 percent sales, or promises of buy one, get one free.

"This is so cute," a girl said to her friend as she tried on a sweater.

Maxy McKinzie of St. Maries hobbled up on crutches to the doors of Kohl's, where she hoped to get most of her Christmas shopping done.

She had surgery on her right foot three weeks ago, but still planned a full day of frenzied shopping at several retailers, then expected to cap it off with a relaxing trip to the theater to catch, "Love and Other Drugs."

"I've never done this before," she said of her Black Friday adventure. "I'm looking for electronics for my daughter. There's some pretty good sales."

The mother and daughter team of Tammy Holmes and Kristy Holmes strolled in Kohl's shortly after the doors opened.

Kristy hadn't slept at all, while Tammy caught a few hours of shut eye. The two checked the ads, made lists and lined out their stops.

"We do it every year," Kristy said.

Both were after the same thing at Kohl's.

"Ohio State sweatshirt," Tammy said.

"Same thing," Kristy added, laughing.

Down U.S. 95 at Best Buy, friends Max Noll and John Murray of Coeur d'Alene and Alah Greenough of Athol were the first in a long line, arriving at noon on Thanksgiving to claim their precious post.

"This is the first year we've been first," Murray said, grinning.

The trio set up a tent, brought blankets and a propane heater to survive the night.

There were four tents set up in front of Best Buy.

"Heat is a very important thing," Murray said.

They also packed in laptops, iPods, cards and music for entertainment.

"We sledded a little bit," Murray said.

They had to take down their tents by 3 a.m. in order to get tickets for the items they wanted inside - Sony and Toshiba laptops, starting at $399. Each was hoping to get at least one, maybe two.

"Hopefully, then we'll be done," Murray said.

"That's what they think," Greenough said, laughing.

Even after 18 hours of waiting, they were in good spirits, but Noll admitted the final two hours of standing were the hardest.

"This is when it starts to drain on you," Murray said.

Just across the highway at Target, a line formed early for a chance to buy a Westinghouse 40-inch 1080p LCD HDTV for the hot deal of $298, a $250 discount.

"That's the one that brought me here," said Able Fisher of Sandpoint.

Michael Anderson of Hayden and Savannah Grinder of Coeur d'Alene were the first in line when they arrived at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

"We're here for that," Anderson said.

They were also considering buying a 4GB XBox 360 game system for $199.99, which came with a $50 Target gift card.

Neither got much sleep during the night.

"Tried to," Grinder said.

Anderson said they actually enjoyed being part of the Black Friday experience and sitting out all night to save money.

"Despite the cold, it's actually pretty fun," he said.

Matt Jereczek and BJ Palmer of Coeur d'Alene were next in line, also after the Westinghouse TV.

They arrived not long after Anderson and Grinder, and like them, had a good time passing time during the long, cold night.

"We're just BSing and hanging out," Jereczek said.

Palmer said this year's Black Friday deals were good, "just like every year.

"Usually there's one or two things that are just phenomenal. I try to go get that," he said.

Jereczek said he didn't have any other shopping plans for the day, though. His next destination?

"Go to bed," he said with a laugh.

The prices at Shopko, which opened at 5 a.m., prompted Vallenthia Johnson and Amanda Maki of Coeur d'Alene to claim first place in line at 3:15 a.m.

A Vivitar camcorder at $59.99, $60 off, and a boot drier at $16.99, $18 off the regular price, were too good not to buy.

Maki, Johnson's sister-in-law, wasn't there to shop, however.

"I'm just going to be running," she said

"She's my runner," Johnson added.

Bundled up in snowpants, boots and sipping hot chocolate, the two huddled outside the front door and perused a Shopko flier.

"With 5 minutes to go, we'll take all the extra stuff off so we can shop," Johnson said.

Bonners Ferry friends Rhonda Bandeling and Renee Murphy arrived donning Christmas hats.

An iPod docking station with clock radio for $19.99 was a must-have, they said.

Meantime, they kept in touch with a friend via cellphone, waiting outside Target, whose assignment was to buy PJs and sheets.

There was a strategy to their red and white Santa hats perched on their heads, other than holiday happiness.

"That way we can find each other," Murphy said.

The women love the challenge of shopping on Black Friday, and not only plan their stops, but train for them, too.

"It's like any athletic sport," Bandeling said.

"You've got to run," Murphy added.

Both expected to have a festive morning of buying gifts. But that was it. For a reason.

"We're usually out of money by 11," Murphy said, laughing.

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