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As I was waiting in line at the cash registers at Wal-Mart at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, I saw this tweet from @LauraLPotts: “Black Friday is like zombie apocalypse: you’re either one of them, or you’re locked inside praying that loved ones don’t get trampled.”

Of course, I was “one of them.” I arrived at Wal-Mart in Oak Ridge at 8:30 p.m. the night before Black Friday with a team of five. We all had our hit list, cell phones charged, tennis shoes laced up tight, credit cards in pocket, and white knuckles clasping buggies.

A few of the rules from the movie Zombieland always apply to Black Friday shopping:

  • Cardio.
  • Travel light.
  • Clean socks.
  • When in doubt, know your way out.
  • The buddy system.
  • Limber up.

10:05 p.m.
A train of five buggies full of over-sized boxes and children’s toys rush out of Wal-Mart, dodging cars, late shoppers, and security guards. Our next stop: Target in Turkey Creek for midnight deals.

11 p.m.
We arrive at Target in Turkey Creek to find a line all the way back to Wal-Mart. It reminded me of the line to Space Mountain at Disney World. It was worse than Cumberland Ave. after a UT win against Florida, and longer than the line to the Apple store on tax-free weekend.

All the shopping “zombies” were bundled up, with cell phones and advertising circulars in hand. Cars drove by and the passengers just stared, people took pictures of the crowds, and groups of shoppers huddled together with an occasional burst of laughter (Zombieland rule #32: enjoy the little things).

I kept looking for the crazy Target woman I had seen on the television commercials. She must have been at the front of the line.

12:20 a.m.
We approached the entrance. A man in a red Target coat was blasting directives through a microphone while we were funneled into a maze of metal bike racks, squeezing everyone into a single-file line. We scurried as fast as we could to grab the one item on our hit list. As we were exiting, I notice that hundreds of people still hadn’t entered the store yet.

12:45 a.m.
We arrive at Kohl’s in Farragut. We scurry inside, grab the items on our hit list, and then stand in line for two and a half hours. Kohl’s was the bottleneck in our Black Friday adventure. It was like I-40 on a Friday afternoon near Cedar Bluff.

After we left Kohl’s, we visited the remaining stores on our hit list until 6 a.m.  Our cars were full. Success was ours. I slept like a log until 10 a.m., and headed back to Turkey Creek for round two. I felt like a zombie.

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