— By BRIAN SMITH
Black Friday has its own group of shoppers — those people who love nothing more than getting out in the middle of the night and being one of the first to get their hands on a gift for a friend or family member.
In the mind of Tiffany Butler, there is also a mystique about those who wait until the last few days to do their holiday shopping. Butler, of Peaster, said she likes waiting until the final week before shopping for her 18 family members and friends.
“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a (disaster) in my mind,” Butler said. “In honesty, you can shop any day you want if you’re willing to go early or late. I just prefer to go late (in the season) because you can get better deals than you can on Black Friday.”
Butler was at Belk Thursday morning “just getting started.” She said it’s not like she just wakes up some morning and decides to go shopping on a whim. Her shopping is carefully calculated.
“I start working on this a week or so in advance, getting lists, checking circulars so I have an idea of what I’m doing,” Butler said. “Before I’m done, I’ll hit five or six stores, but I’ll have everything done by the weekend.”
Somewhat less organized but also starting his shopping Thursday morning was Wes Kindall, who was shopping at JCPenney “without a clue” as to what he was getting anyone. Kindall said he likes to wait until the last minute to see what other family members are buying so he doesn’t duplicate gifts.
“Everyone in my family is a Black Friday person,” Kindall said. “I let them deal with the crazies, find out what they bought for everyone and kind of go from there. The bad thing is sometimes they get all the good stuff so by the time I get to shopping, I’m kind of stuck as to what to get everyone.”
Kindall considers gift cards “just not right” but said if nothing grabs him, he may end up buying some.
“I’m going hunting this weekend,” Kindall said. “I don’t have a lot of time to jack with this.”
Many shoppers have begun to do their shopping online, where sales have been strong with none of the lull online companies like Amazon and eBay experienced last year during the middle of the holiday shopping season, according to a USA Today article.
On the flip side, with the season nearly a week shorter than last year, physical stores have noted a very challenging season getting folks inside. With Christmas two days away, consumers have completed 57 percent of their shopping, a little behind where they should be at this point, according to Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst at The NPD Group.
“Some say it’s the weather and I say it’s a lack of exciting merchandise,” he added. “Stores have not done enough to generate excitement and consumers are waiting for sales and discounts to get better.”