Every holiday season on the day after Thanksgiving, Americans are regaled with stories of the pandemonium that ensues in retail chains throughout the country.
Known as “Black Friday” it is a day known for huge retail sales with some of the biggest and best deals for hot selling items all year. Accompanying the hordes of jovial holiday shoppers, are stories of violence and even death.
This year, for instance, a 61-year-old man in Charleston, West Virginia was trampled to death by fellow shoppers who reportedly did not even slow down to help. On the west coast, two men in Palm Desert, California gunned each other down on Black Friday after the women shopping with them fought over items at a Toys “R” Us.
In fact, the holiday season phenomenon is nothing new. Last year, a woman in Madison, Wisconsin was arrested for cutting in line at a Toys “R” Us and threatening to shoot anyone brave enough to protest.
Oddly enough, it is not even because of such grim incidents that the sales-driven event has received such an ominous name. The day following Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday” because in the past, when many retailers turned profitable for the year on that day, they would refer to it as “going into the black.”
While Black Friday lives up to its reputation everywhere else, holiday shoppers in Franklin seem to have abstained from such behavior.
“Everything went nice and smooth,” said Tim Brackett, manager of Kmart of Franklin, even after citing countless shoppers ready to burst through the store doors. “We opened at 5 a.m. and closed at 11 p.m. and we were busy most of the day.”
Brackett recalled a line spanning most of Westgate Plaza’s sidewalks prior to the store’s opening. Meanwhile, at Holly Springs Plaza, scores of shoppers lined up as far as the grass banks amid Wal-Mart’s vast parking lot on the morning of Black Friday. The turnout has for years caught the attention of local law enforcement, who “keep an eye out” on the retail stores for Black Friday.
“Overall it was a safe event. We’re pleased with how everything went,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling on Monday. “We got positive feedback from customers and our associates at the Franklin store.”
Franklin police officer Timothy Lynn echoed retailer assessment of the local Black Friday.
“There was some talk of verbal altercations,” said Lynn on Monday. “But there was nothing serious that the Franklin Police Department got called to. The people seemed to be in good moods,” he said, estimating several hundred people were at the Franklin Wal-Mart in the early hours of Black Friday. “I was impressed and pleased. There wasn’t even a minor traffic glitch that I can recall.”
But what were this year’s hot sellers?
According to both Brackett and Wal-Mart Public Relations, electronics and toys are the primary hot sellers this year. Thirty-two-inch flat screens were on sale for under $400 while many video games and laptop price tags saw huge drops in prices.
“Electronics seemed to sell the most,” said Brackett. “There seemed to be a lot of netbooks and televisions sold. Also a lot of toys. Black Friday seemed to be electronics-driven.”
Amazon Vice President Dave Limp had even issued a statement, boasting of sales for the company’s tablet, the Kindle.
“Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family – customers purchased [four times] as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday – and last year was a great year. In addition, we’re seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles – one for themselves and others as gifts – we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season.”