The Lee Girls are all about the shopping. We love it and it shows. Over the years I have accumulated tons of Black Friday shopping memories. Some of those are just with Loretta and me. Other memories may include my husband, but most of them involve shopping with friends. Sadly these days any Black Friday memories will be minimal.
I began my Black Friday adventures as a little girl with my grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama. After our Thanksgiving meal, Mom and Dad would drive Grandmother and I back to her downtown apartment. I’d spend the night so we could get up early to take the bus to Pizitz, a downtown department store. This was back in the day when department stores used to have huge toy departments. Pizitz had a large indoor Christmas display that you “walked-through” with different scenes around each corner. It was similar to what was in the movie “A Christmas Story” without the huge slide.
After I moved to Atlanta, I’d meet friends downtown at Davison’s, which later changed its name to Macy’s. Even though I lived near several malls, I preferred to drive into town for my Black Friday adventures. In those days you could buy about everything in one store. I’d meet my best friend Debbie, and we’d spend all day shopping at Macys. Occasionally, we go outside of the store and shop at Woolworth’s. Woolworth’s was a five and dime store with an escalator. Other friends would meet us for lunch. We didn’t have to go outside to have lunch. We could walk across a bridge to the Peachtree Plaza Hotel and have lunch there. For a snack, we’d have Cream Cheese Brownies from a bakery next to the skyway that connected the parking deck to the store.
Once I married and moved to the south side of Atlanta, I got my husband excited about Black Friday shopping. He liked the idea of getting discount coupons if you got to the store early. We got to the mall at 5am when it opened. We would do all of our shopping, eat lunch and then go home about the time the mall really got busy. I’d have all my gifts wrapped by dinner time.
There are plenty of delightful memories of taking Loretta on her Black Friday adventures. Bright and early on Thanksgiving Day, we’d send my husband out to get two copies of the largest yearly edition of the AJC (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) newspaper. During the parade we would scour through the numerous Black Friday flyers. We’d have two piles, one where we were going and one we’d give a miss. Next, we would coordinate our times and set out a plan of attack. More often than not we shared our experience with a friend or two. My best friend and neighbor Arlene, who got the other copy of the newspaper, joined us most of the time. As Loretta got older, she would also bring a friend to join us as well. In those days, we’d begin our adventure at 2 or 3 Friday morning. We’d hit those first few sales and then there would be an hour in the middle to wait for the next store to open. That’s when we’d enjoy a meal at the Waffle House. One year we ate at Steak and Shake. Those restaurants would be packed at 4 in the morning. It amazed me that more breakfast restaurants weren’t open to earn all that extra capital. I remember one particularly cold Black Friday. During one of our stops Arlene and I didn’t need anything in that store. Loretta and her friend Haley sat on a blanket in line waiting for the Kohl’s to open. Arlene and I stayed in the car watching an episode of “Midsomer Murders” on my iPad while drinking hot beverages. Those were the days.
None of that happens these days. Black Fridays moved from early in the morning to practically all day on Thanksgiving. Now it’s all the week before too, with some even starting at Halloween. Cyber Monday was only the Monday following the holiday and now it’s all of the time too. No reason to purchase a newspaper as our email is loaded with ads. Sadly there’s no or very little Black Friday shopping for us. The thrill is gone and so are any future memories. At least there are plenty of wonderful ones throughout the years.