The throngs of people generally crowded into Bowling Green on Black Friday made their appearance early with Gray Thursday on Thanksgiving night.
And the crowds appeared to be larger than the day after Thanksgiving in years past. Traffic this morning was running smoothly near shopping venues and parking spaces were available at most stores.
“Man, I’ve never seen a line this long,” Gavin Alvey of Leitchfield said Thursday evening, watching as hundreds marched into Target.
He said it was even worse than long lines for a popular theme park ride.
It took nearly 25 minutes for the crowd waiting in line to file into the store, but the first shopper came out with purchases in hand in just a few minutes.
“I came out here for a television ... but that doesn’t really matter now,” Alvey said. “This is the best Thanksgiving ever.”
Alvey was among the hundreds who witnessed a near fist fight at Target after a young woman tried to break into line. The woman was pushed back out of the line by a man, whom another man tried to retaliate against.
Bowling Green Police Department officers were called, and they told the woman, who by all witness accounts was the line crasher, that she would need to go to the county attorney’s office to press charges. Police officers waited around for a while to see if they could find the man who pushed the woman to get his statement. It’s not clear if that happened.
Vicki Armstrong and her three daughters were already in Target when the incident occurred, so Armstrong said her overnight shopping experience was positive.
Armstrong and her daughters, Holly Cherry, Alyson Armstrong and Hope Kruizenga, all of Warren County, shopped many hours Thursday, then went home early today to take a nap and were back up this morning when J.C. Penney opened at 6 a.m.
“That was really the only place where people were a little grumpy,” Vicki Armstrong said. “We were waiting in line to check out for an hour and half. And it was hot in there. One man in front of us passed out ... but he had worked all day and hadn’t had much to eat, so his blood sugar was probably low. He was all right.”
After breakfast this morning and another bit of a rest, Armstrong and family planned to head out again.
“There are some really good buys out there,” she said. “Right now I’ve probably gotten about a third of what I needed. With this afternoon and tomorrow that should pretty much finish me up.”
Armstrong said she was purchasing items for other people, including her mother, to give as gifts.
Armstrong tipped her hat to most stores, which had workers walking around the stores ready to help the crowds.
“Kmart was really the best,” she said. “I was out of Kmart within 20 minutes. Sears wasn’t bad. I went into the tool department, and they had people there ready to help you. And while the checkout line was long in Target, it was moving really well.”
Nancy Gerstel of Warren County was first in line for Sears, having arrived at about 7:30 a.m. Thanksgiving.
“Our television went out about six weeks ago,” Gerstel said. “They had a really good deal on a 50-inch Toshiba, and I made up my mind that was what I was going to get.”
Gerstel said her daughter, Lara Barnhouse of Alvaton, made Thanksgiving dinner, which she will eat today.
After getting her television when Sears opened at 8 p.m., Gerstel joined Barnhouse in line for Kohl’s in the No. 1 and No. 2 slots.
“I wasn’t going to come out,” Barnhouse said. “But this is really a tradition for us. I’m not looking for anything in particular. I will probably just get toys and clothing.”
Jenny Davis of Alabama and her brother, Jesse Flowers of Texas, spent Thanksgiving day together with their mother and then decided to do a little shopping.
Flowers had hoped to score one of the Nooks on sale at Sears.
“But you had to stand in line for a ticket,” he said.
Instead he bought a pressure washer. Davis got a piece of luggage.
Doug Flynn of Bowling Green brought his 10-year old daughter, Katie.
“She had never been to Black Friday so I said I would bring her out,” Flynn said.
He purchased a pair of half-off shoes at Sears and planned to either go to Toys R Us or Walmart.
And many people chose to go to Walmart. On Campbell Lane, the parking lot was so full that people were parking in Speedway’s lot on Walton Avenue and walking.
Also new to the frenzy was Chris Wiley of Bowling Green. He and Christie McIntyre of Bowling Green parked in the Speedway lot.
Wiley said he was mostly interested in snapping up some of the bargains on electronics and he really wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Ben Hubbard of Bowling Green was after electronics, as well. He lined up at 3 p.m. at Target. As No. 7 in line, he was one of the first people to roll out of Target with a 50-inch television.
Hubbard said the television normally retails for about $600 – he purchased it for $300 as a gift for his mother.
Cookie Morgan of Glasgow had been in line to get into Best Buy for a couple of hours by 8:30 p.m. Thursday. She was using a flashlight to survey newspaper advertisements for the store.
Morgan hoped to get a deal on a television and a camera.
She said it bothered her a little that she was shopping on Thanksgiving.
“But you know if you want the deals, you have to come out,” Morgan said.
Ashlee Jaggers and Tracy Burba, both of Edmonson County, said they spent the majority of Thanksgiving with their families before coming out.
“We live for this,” Jaggers said, while waiting to get into Target.
The two even had T-shirts made for the occasion that warned people they might self-destruct at daylight after a night of bargain shopping.
The two started at Walmart and also had Best Buy and J.C. Penney on their list.
“We are tag-teaming it,” Burba said.