Jimmy Chen and wife Ming Zhang look at diamond earrings at Macy's Black Friday sales in McLean, Va.(Photo: Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY)
Macy's at Tysons Corner Center was supposed to open at midnight but
there was no way to keep the throngs of shoppers out once employees
started trying to open the multiple sliding doors. When the door cracked
enough for one shopper, it quickly became an 11:50 p.m. opening.
There were no hundred-dollar TVs or iPads with gift cards, but
hundreds of bargain hunters swarmed the store looking for 1/4-carat
diamond earrings for $199 and kitchenware including panini makers for
$9.99 after a $10 mail-in rebate.
"It's crazy," said French au pair Marie Fritsch. "We live with Americans so we do the same crazy things."
Chen and his wife Ming Zhang were trying out diamonds -- but some that
were far pricier than the 1/4 and 1/2 carat department store-style
doorbusters Macy's was offering. Zhang seemed especially fond of a 1.4
carat pair that were marked down -- to $3,800.
"We just wanted to
check them out in person," said Chen. With his parents as babysitters,
the couple "put our babies to sleep and came out."
family ate dinner at 5 p.m. -- their earliest Thanksgiving dinner ever
-- so they could all be at the stores with the bargains they wanted. Her
brother and sister were heading out to Best Buy and Target for
electronics, so she and her mother hit the kitchenware section at
Macy's, scoring products including a juice extractor that would cost $20
after a $10 rebate, down from $70.
With lines that were 20
people deep in housewares and little breathing room around the boots,
employees seemed to have holiday cheer. While some Walmart workers were
complaining about working on the holiday -- and talking of striking --
the Macy's employees seemed content with their shift.
invite to visit the store, public relations aide Tara Raeber suggested
talking to store managers to "find out why they love working on Black
Friday." Turns out, store manager Brian Firehammer was pretty convincing
that he did indeed find it "fun" and "exciting" despite having a
20-minute dinner with his wife and daughter before going to bed at 5
p.m. to rest up for his 18-hour shift.
Jennie Lee, a 26-year-old
lawyer from Arlington, Va., deemed it "more controlled chaos" than she
found at Arlington's Pentagon City Mall last year at its midnight
The National Retail Federation updated its Black Friday
crowd control guidelines, while some stores staggered their deals and
others, including Toys R Us, handed out tickets
Wilson of Altoona, Iowa, didn't think it was safe for him to venture
out. He stayed home Thursday night and Friday morning. He already has
"one broken arm. Didn't think it was worth a risk of getting another
That was probably a good idea. Suzan Robinson told USA TODAY
that around 2:30 a.m. Friday, shoppers at a Belk Department Store in
Mooresville, N.C., were pushing and shoving each other to get $90 boots
that were marked down to $20.