CRESTVIEW — Whereas the Crestview Wal-Mart has been jam-packed on previous Black Fridays, this year's found the superstore busy but not mobbed.
"It's probably the calmest Black Friday I've seen up here," Lt. Eddie Lehneis of the Crestview Police Department said as he stood on hand in the electronics department.
While some shoppers wandered uncrowded aisles, stopping to visit with friends, the largest concentration chatted in line in electronics waiting for the 8 a.m. sales "event."
Though the chain started its sales earlier than before, beginning with a 6 p.m. round of bargains Thanksgiving evening, some shoppers said they weren't interested.
"We just sat bloated on the couch after dinner," Crestview resident Teri Summers said. "My son and his wife came all the way in from Ohio. I wasn't going to leave them to go fight the crowds."
Still, Wal-Mart regional manager Jon Kurpil said, the store considered the 6 and 8 p.m. sales a successful start of the holiday shopping season.
"The 6 p.m. event was the busier of the two, which we anticipated," he said. "All indications by the customer traffic flow showed it was a very successful."
Laurel Hill resident Cathy Steele avoided the Thursday and Friday sales lines while doing her early Christmas shopping Friday morning. Among goodies in her basket was a red radio-controlled truck for her son Christopher.
"I saw the last one of them so I snagged it," she said, happy with her acquisition. "I said, 'I'm not going to let that get away.' My little one is going to be so happy."
While Steele examined a display of plush throws, Neisha Smith, DeAuna Moorer and Mikayla Lee excitedly waited near the front of the line for the start of the 8 a.m. electronics sales.
"We're second in line for the iPhone," Smith said.
Steele said she appreciated the relative calm of Friday morning's shopping experience and didn't feel she missed anything the night before.
"I haven't started the midnight (shopping) thing," she said. "I'm not that slap-happy."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.