My thermometer read 38 degrees. Freezing, to my mind. I wondered if the weather would keep people home on "the" shopping day of the year.
I drove to Best Buy first, and the parking lot was packed with cars looking for an empty spot. Traffic was slow. Every driver was hoping and wishing that maybe, just maybe, someone would leave and they would be the lucky ones to get that coveted parking spot.
Lucky for me, I had my "chauffeur" drive my car in circles as I ran about taking pictures. Paying for children on my auto insurance policy has its benefits. The line ran the front of the store and stretched along the entire side of the building. Everyone in line was wide awake and wired, ready to capture their moment and create a memory for themselves or a little one with their purchase from Best Buy.
The crowd burst into cheers as the first Best Buy employee braved the crowd -- but only near a Prince William County police officer. Doors were open and the line began to move.
Next I went to Potomac Mills and HOLY COW was I surprised. The parking lot was so full it was bursting at the seams. I was legitimately in a small moment of awe.
It was freezing weather, no one could find parking and it was late. My guess was everyone had energy resulting from the annual self-induced coma nap brought on by a hefty Thanksgiving meal earlier in the day. Just like the Best Buy lot, I could not find a parking spot. "Chauffeur!" I shouted, "pick me up in five minutes."
I just had to go inside the mall to see how many people I would have to fend off if I chose to shop Black Friday next year. HOLY, HOLY COW! The mall was packed!
I stood at the top of the stairs to photograph the lower level and I must say, it looked like salmon swimming upstream in Alaska. Elbow to elbow and everyone trying to pass everyone else to get to a sale first.
I began to wonder if the sales are really that good? I do all my shopping online from the comfort of my sofa in my pajamas. Is Black Friday really worth it? I mean how many dollars do you actually save? And how much is my time and sleep really worth?
Maybe next year, if I find a really good deal on camera equipment and the weather is above freezing, then maybe, just maybe I'll shout again, "Chauffeur!!!"
Editor's Note: Jamie Garcia is a photographer who ventured out with his teenager to see what Black Friday was all about. He shared his story and photos with Fredericksburgh Patch. Thank you, Jamie!