Black Friday in Fairmount: A first-hand account

Sandy Searle and Micki Arnold had a game plan. It was based on their experience as "Black Friday" shoppers. The sisters from Camillus, who have "been doing this for about five years" were first in line at the Target store in Fairmount. Preparedness is one of the lessons they teach as leaders of Girl Scout Troop 63, and they demonstrated it on Friday. They had arrived at 3 a.m. for the 6 a.m. opening, wearing their cold weather gear and equipped with coffee, doughnuts, chemical hand warmers and blankets.

"Usually there are three of us, two runners and a 'cart getter', but our friend Jenn [D'Alessandro] is at Wal-mart, (opening at 5). She's on her way here."

The strategy

As they explained it, the 'runners' do just that -- run to grab the items they are after, while the 'cart getter' meets them with the cart. "We're the runners -- we run to get the stuff. If we stop for a cart, everybody passes us. There's no point to being first if that happens," said Searle.

She answered her cell phone and found out that her friends at Wal-mart had picked up a couple of the items she and Arnold were after, so their job was simplified. "Even though we are going to save money because of the sales, we're really in it for the sport," said Arnold. 'We have a pretty good game plan. We check the ads the night before and make our list. Then we lay out our clothes at night so we can get here early and go to work. This is the first time we've been first in line last year we were seven people back but we still did OK."

Searle, saying that in addition to her three children, had "a big family to shop for. "If we can't get what we're after here, we'll swing into a few more stores," she added. They planned to avoid the huge crowd at Carrousel Mall, but said they might stop in if they really needed to.

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