Janesville shoppers: TVs today, Thanksgiving whenever
JANESVILLE The retailers were right.
People will skip Thanksgiving if it means they can get a good deal on a television.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, a line of about 30 people were waiting outside of Kmart.
At 5:30 p.m., the line at Sears was up to about 50.
The rest of the day, plenty of other retailers were setting up barriers in anticipation of crowds that would be arriving at any moment.
Shawna and Tony Multon of Janesville had already played the waiting game once with success.
They arrived at Kmart at 9 p.m. Wednesday for the first round of bargains, which began at 6 a.m. Thursday.
At stake was a 50-inch flat screen television originally priced at $699. The first 15 people in line were able to pick it up for $288.
They were 14th in line.
Now, with the sun setting in a blaze of pink behind Slumberland and Hobby Lobby—both closed—they were waiting for a chance to pick up a 32-inch television for $97.
“People think we’re crazy now, but they won’t think we’re crazy when they see what we got,” Shawna Multon said.
Shawna Multon was resting on an inner tube sled, while others were using the more traditional folding canvas armchairs.
Tony Multon was wearing insulated work overalls and a matching jacket, looking quite comfortable. Despite having spent nearly 24 hours in front of Kmart, they were cheerful.
“We’ve met some of the nicest people,” Tony Multon said.
Well, not everybody was so nice.
The management came out and passed out cookies. Some of the people who didn’t make the cut for the big televisions started throwing cookies toward the front of the line.
Others, who missed the ad’s small print, gathered in groups outside the doors at 6 a.m. and seemed to think they would be able to rush the doors. The disclaimer said that tickets would be issued to the first people in line.
Was it worth giving up Thanksgiving for a stint outside of Kmart?
“It was worth giving up Thanksgiving for our kids’ Christmas,” said Tony Multon.
Kelly Maynard of Janesville was second in line. His spouse wasn’t happy about it, but the family decided to have Thanksgiving on Saturday instead.
Gander Mountain was open all day—just as it was last year.
“We were pretty busy this morning,” said Lindsay Stutzman, a zone manager for the store. By 5 p.m., the atmosphere in the store was relaxed, with shoppers browsing and the clerks making friendly conversation.
There were plenty of sales but no lines.