Kokomo — Eric McMillin was “No. 1,” the exalted ruler of the line.
He and friend Allexander Barrick were the first people in line at the Kokomo Best Buy for its Black Friday sales.
With about two hours to go before doors opened at midnight, the two men had already logged 24 hours worth of camping on the concrete sidewalk.
They and the group surrounding them spent Thanksgiving enduring chilly temperatures and the aches of standing for long periods of time or sitting on the hard ground so they would have for-sure shots at getting 42-inch flat screen LCD TVs for $199.
The first 15 or so people in line, most of whom had been waiting for at least a few hours, had formed their own society.
Everyone around them had concealed their names, only referring to one another by the order of their arrivals.
If someone tried to cut, they policed the person away.
Almost everyone was wearing multiple layers of clothing so they could keep warm.
“I’ve got on a shirt, a long-sleeve shirt, another shirt and a jacket,” Tommy Persinger, “No. 2,” said as he pointed at each layer of clothing he had on.
Further south on U.S. 31, Susan Watson and daughter Cheyenne Maxey rubbed their arms to keep warm as they waited out front of Kohl’s Department Store. It was the second stop for the night after a trip to Walmart, which was the first major retailer to begin Black Friday sales with a 10 p.m. Thursday start time for toy sales.
Watson and Maxey were waiting to buy Barbies and a jewelry box for Watson’s 6- and 11-year-old daughters. The purchases were ones that Watson, who supports a family of six on a fixed income, said she could not afford without the Black Friday deals.
The earlier starting times for the sales, which have received criticism because employees had to work on Thanksgiving, among other reasons, were a plus Watson said.
“Not many people want to get up at 2 o’clock to go stand in the cold,” she said.
For more of this story, read Saturday’s issue of the Kokomo Tribune.