TRAVERSE CITY — The smile on Melinda Gall’s face said it all.
Gall, of Midland, was in Best Buy shortly after midnight Friday with her four children, Alex and Chloe Gall, and Greg and Nick Long. The kids convinced Gall to try out the latest high-tech headphones, and, when Gall did so, she broke out with a huge smile, making it clear this Black Friday adventure wasn’t about commercialism.
It was about family time.
“Basically, I’m looking for sales for the kids,” Gall said, circled by her children. “Let them do some shopping. They are old enough now so if they want something, we’ll normally buy it. It’s still Christmas rules, though. They have to wait until Christmas Day to (open presents) It makes it hard on them, easy on me.”
Thousands flocked to Traverse City retail outlets as the clock struck midnight on Black Friday. They navigated from store-to-store on slippery, snowy roadways and bundled up in chilly temperatures that dropped to 13 degrees by 5 a.m.
Some shoppers looked as if they were stalking prey. Others just enjoyed time with their loved ones, all under the guise of finding the next big bargain.
“Sleepwalking,” said Jenny Sedlacek as she sluggishly browsed sale items at Kohl’s. “Not too bad, though. Just tired. We’ve been shopping since 6:30 p.m. and we have to keep shopping til 5 a.m.”
Sedlacek and McKenna Musser managed smiles as Sedlacek rattled off the stores visited prior to Kohl’s: Toys R Us, Alta, Target, the Grand Traverse Mall, Michael’s, Gander Mountain and Macy’s. Surviving such a grueling session is simple, said Sedlacek.
“Coffee, pop and chocolate,” she said.
At Macy’s, an expert was at work just shy of 2 a.m. Jessy Reyes, his arms filled with clothes, flipped through the discount displays for Christmas presents for family and friends.