The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Wondering about the local pre-Black Friday shopping atmosphere? We’ll have updates throughout the evening from reporter Cathy Dyson.
Here’s what she said at 8:50 p.m.:
At the Walmart in Central Park, all 27 checkout lines are open. Even so, there are four to five people in each line, and every cart is loaded, with a big screen TV or some type of electronic device or appliance. Vehicles circle the parking lots, waiting for an empty space. It’s like Christmas Eve, except it’s Thanksgiving.
At 8:40 p.m.:
Forget about the leisurely pace of four hours ago. The Christmas shopping season officially has begun. Central Park looks like a busy Saturday afternoon, times 10. There’s a line outside the drive-through at the Central Park McDonald’s. Obviously the turkey and trimmings dinner has worn off.
At 7:45 p.m.:
Shoppers are out in full force at Walmart and Kohls in Central Park. Parking lots are practically filled. The line to get into Kohls stretches all the way to Office Depot.
At 6 p.m.:
Shopping was the perfect break between dinner and dessert for Nikki Swanigan of Woodbridge. After her Thanksgiving meal, she loaded up the family and headed to Fredericksburg. She hit Toys R Us a few minutes after it opened at 5 p.m., and the items she wanted already were gone. She headed next to Kmart, where she and her mother, Sharon Thompson of Arkansas, looked for other presents while the children waited in the car. Then, the two adults planned their next move.
“We ate early so we could shop some, work off the food and go home and eat some more,” Swanigan said, adding dessert would be “a second meal.”
“A proper buffet,” her mother added.
At 5:30 p.m.:
Latoya Ball-Tate of Westmoreland County assumed she’d be the only person in line at Toys R Us. She was wrong. Shoppers started lining up at 3:30, and the line snaked around the building until the store opened at five.
Security guards with guns at their sides made sure people kept in order. Nena Foster of Fort Lee took one look at the line, said “hell no,” and got back in her vehicle. She said she’d order whatever she wanted online. “I’d rather be at home with my family,” she said, than fight the line.
At 5 p.m.:
At Big Lots off State Route 3, it’s the calm between storms. No one was in line, and associate manager Jessica Schulz believes people were taking a break to eat, then planned to come back later. The store opened at 7 a.m., and “it was insane,” she said. “We sold like 40-some recliners.”
People came into the discount outlet all day, asking for things such as spices, roasting pans and cranberry relish, Schulz said.
And at 4:30:
There’s not much traffic on State Route 3 around the Spotsylvania Towne Centre. People are shopping at a leisurely pace at Michael’s, which opened at 4 p.m. and currently has about half its parking lot filled with vehicles. Katrina Riggleman of Spotsylvania County said she’s shopping today so she won’t have to fight the crowds tomorrow.
“It saves time, and it’s relaxing, too, because you don’t feel as rushed,” she said.